Thanksgiving lunch: daikon-and-fish ball soup, fried string beans, fish with kai-lan, sautéed sweet potato greens, and tofu with egg and tomato. Leftovers will be dinner.
In between, I go out for a walk. I spot an elderly woman walking toward me with her pet boxer. “Are you walking it off, or walking to work up an appetite for later?” she asks me.
"A little of both," I reply.
She smiles and walks past me, and I make my way down the hill toward Mission Avenue.
Jaywalking is what I miss most when I’m out here. The risk-reward ratio is just not in your favor in this town.
I don’t really have a destination in mind. It’s more of a guiding principle: You will find something open where there are no white people.
At the Red Ribbon on Douglas, the cashier tells me that their coffee machine broke down a while back and they never bothered to replace it. While a Thanksgiving halo-halo sounds tempting, I’m not sure I could handle it right now. I buy a slice of banana pound cake for a dollar and stash it in my bag.
Next door, the T-Mobile store and the Panda Express are closed until Black Friday. I cross the road to Mission View. A half mile away, on El Camino North, once you’re beyond the last of the mobile homes and the auto repair shops, is a bakery that may or may not be open.
The lights inside are dim. Uh-oh. I pull the door anyway, and it opens.
I see a young man and two women at the back table, sitting and killing time until close. The man gets up and heads over to the glass display case filled with cakes, rolls, and cookies.
"Do you still have coffee?" I ask.
"Yes, you wanna regular or decaf?"
"Sure, no problem."
I get three polvorones with the coffee, and sit down at one of the tables outside. Across the street is an RV storage lot, and behind it I can see the ridge extending beyond the expressway. From here, the walk back is almost entirely uphill. I sip slowly. Where was I for Thanksgiving last year, anyway?
It will come to me.