One day I was on the phone with my friend Bonnie (some time in the 1980s when I lived in San Francisco). We had been talking for a while, about who knows what, not that we did not have the chance to talk to each other during the day since we worked with each other (!!!!). Bonnie was my best friend. And there's a lot of talking you have to do when you have a best friend, sometimes the 8-9 hours of a work day is not enough. I was in my early 20s and Bonnie was probably in her early 60s.
While we were talking, I heard the sound of a helicopter, a noise I had never heard in my neighborhood. I told Bonnie to hang on and excused myself to check out what was going on outside my bay window which faced Geary Street (one of the major streets in San Francisco that runs east to west, from the financial district near the bay to the ocean). There was absolutely no traffic, and there were men with rifles on the apartment buildings across the street, and since I knew the Queen of England (and Prince Philip) were in the city that week, I told Bonnie something was up and I would call her later.
It was kind of interesting to have a view from above street level while the Queen and everyone who travels with the Queen drove through the city. I saw one solo motorcycle appear in the distance and then pass in front of my apartment building to disappear beyond a hill toward the ocean. Then another one appeared. Just the single motorcycle on the major street travelling from the horizon line in the east to the horizon line in the west. And then the entourage of the Queen appeared. Lots and lots of vehicles.
But with the passing of the royal traffic, some of the transients and bums got a little fed up with having to stay in one place for more than ten minutes and tried to stroll across the street....oh this was so not going to happen. They were politely repositioned and told they'd have to wait until the Queen passed. There were police at every intersection to insure good behavior.
At some point the Queen actually did pass in front of my apartment building but I didn't get to see her because I was looking out the part of the bay window that faced west, the direction she was heading. The cats were sitting on the other side of the bay window facing east and therefore faced the Queen of England when she was approaching. And it was hard to get a good look of anything because the secret service men were draped all over the vehicle. But eventually the Queen of England and Prince Philip passed by and probably Nancy and Ronald Reagan too. I couldn't get a good look at them but the cats did.
When that was all over and the bums were released to wander wherever they wanted to wander, I went back to the telephone and called Bonnie. We continued our conversation for a while and then I heard the sound of the helicopter again. Bonnie asked what was going on this time. I said the Queen and her entourage were probably circling the block looking for parking (parking is impossible in San Francisco, probably even more difficult if you're traveling with your own ambulance!!!!!).
Here are the two cats (Bert and his mother Natalie) that got to see the Queen of England (and the Reagans too). But not me. :-/
The following week or so, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands came to visit San Francisco. There was not that much fuss made about her. I hope those two didn't get on the phone and compare their experiences since San Francisco had the best time fussing over and entertaining the Queen of England but Queen Beatrix? Her arrival was announced with a picture and two sentences in the Classified Ads section of the newspaper.