In college I embarked on a fantastic cross-country trip with a friend. The adventures were staggering as I described here. One specifically wild, youthfully foolish adventure took place in San Francisco.
My friend and I had been living out of a car for weeks when we arrived in San Fran. It was early evening as we drove in and immediately we felt the loneliness of being in a big city with nowhere to go. In most of the beautiful wild America of our travels we were able to sleep in our car in fields and on mountains. We got away with bathing in rivers, making the world our home and living the simple life. In the big cities car sleeping was harder. I missed being able to wash my face and did not feel safe and at home under the srtars anymore. In a metropolis where we were surrounded by people and homes, we longed for a “home”. Hotels were out of the question as they would eat up our entire budget so I wound up calling a stranger, the brother of a friend of my sister, someone I had never met. My sister had given me his number before I left but I had had no intention of calling him, till now. He gave me his address and said to come on over.
This brother, Jack, lived in a nice small house with another guy on the outskirts of the city. When he opened the door, we could see the hope of grand possibilities fade from his smiling face. We were not his type. Thankfully. Jack was a real party guy but very pleasant. Our fear of staying with a friend’s relative was that they might be uptight or want to entertain us or bog us down, but this guy was a dream come true. He was loose and didn’t care what we did. He didn’t really want any part of us but was kind enough to say that we were welcome to stay in his room that night and he would stay with his roommate or on the couch. This was great news.
After washing up, we were free to go out on our own to see the city. My travel friend offered to treat us to a hot meal, a real splurge after weeks of cold beans and broccoli out of the car cooler. We ate at a nice Chinese restaurant on the Haight Ashbury strip and she paid. I had only eaten in a Chinese restaurant once before, when I was six. I remembered the specific taste of the rice, the perfume-like smell of the spare ribs, the plush red carpeted interior, the Chinese music and hushed tones, and my greasy fingers. It felt like church.
This place was different, pastel colored and buzzing with youngish hip people. I had broccoli and cashews over brown rice. It felt good to sit in a restaurant and be served and eat warm cooked and seasoned foods, yum. We went on to walk all around the city. The night got cold and our jackets weren’t enough. We had been spoiled on our summery trip. I wore bare feet and a leather miniskirt with a tee shirt most of the time but now I had to pull out my boots and a hat to keep warm. We decided to go back to Jack’s place and just rest on the couch and watch TV for the first time in almost two weeks. The idea struck us weary travelers as a dream come true.
When we got to Jack’s house all of the lights were out and there was no key under the mat. We hadn’t talked about where we might find the key and just assumed he’s be there when we returned. My friend and I were cold and tired and we didn’t know what to do so we decided to see if there was an open window that we could slip through. As we cased the house we found a locked back door and several locked windows and one window about five feet above the ground that was slightly open. The window was in the alley between Jack’s house and the house next door.
We decided to try to break in. My friend grabbed me by the calves and lifted me straight up and I grabbed the window ledge and tried to open the window a little further but it was locked in place and wouldn’t budge. Right at that moment a cop car passed by the house but failed to see the two women in the alley breaking and entering into the home of a guy named Jack whose last name they didn’t even know. Close call. We thought it hysterical.
At this point, my friend and I were very desperate to get inside to our Dream. We decided that I would just have to squeeze myself through the tiny opening and so after hoisting me up to the ledge again, my friend proceeded to push my feet up and in as I pulled my thin body through the narrow opening. I had to put my head sideways to fit, holding my ear close to my head while the friend supported my weight. Then I used my arms to grab the inside ledge and pull my shoulder through, flattening my breasts as I slittered in. I was in the kitchen, hanging over the kitchen sink as a wriggled my butt and legs in. I slid in a handstand type position down the front of the sink until I found the floor with my hands. Mission accomplished.
We had broken into a stranger’s home and man did we make ourselves at home. It was awesome to be inside and have a place to stay and relax and sleep, extra awesome that there was no one else around. My friend and I cooked some food and relaxed on the couch and watched a Marilyn Monroe film from the guys video collection. In the film, Marilyn is on a ship and has to sneak through a porthole. She measures the size of her hips and then measures the size of the porthole, trying to see if she’ll fit. We laughed hysterically at the similarity of our experience. By the time the film ended it was 4am and Jack still wasn’t home yet so we went to sleep in his bed. Ah, to shower and sleep in the heaven of a warm comfortable bed (of a stranger). I hit the pillow like a ton of bricks.
It wasn’t until sometime the next morning that Jack opened his bedroom door and saw two strange women sleeping in his bed. He backed out of the room and closed the door and we could hear him and his roommate howling with laughter as we quietly did the same, before falling back to sleep. A couple of hours later we got up and got back on the road, heading east. Jack, great sport that he was, was still sleeping when we left. We’ve never talked to him since to explain how we got into the house without a key or to thank him for his hospitality. Youth is brilliant.