On this foggy Saturday morning by the beach in Pacifica, I am prying my eyes open with a Japanese thermos full of hot black tea. I have time to noodle around on the computer for a couple of hours, then take the train into San Francisco to play the matinee of “South Pacific”.

The show schedule is intense with eight performances a week. This is the standard across the country, but most theatres do single evening shows Tuesday through Friday, then double shows on Saturdays and Sundays. Mondays are almost always off. (In theatre lingo, this is called “dark”.)

The show schedule for the San Francisco theatres is different than venues in the rest of the country. We’ve got double shows on Wednesday, and then only a matinee on Sunday.

This is both good and bad. The “bad” news first: there are only two consecutive evenings with single performances. The good news is that we get off work early enough on Sunday afternoon to actually have the semblance of a normal life; there is time to go out to dinner or a movie, or veg at home during prime-time TV.

In my case, getting off work on Sunday afternoon at around five o’clock gives James and me enough time to drive back home to The Woods, which takes about four hours from downtown San Francisco.

We usually arrive at 9 p.m. If there were an evening show, we wouldn’t get home until two in the morning. So the Sunday schedule works well.

We’ve been able to go home only once during this six-week run of South Pacific, a couple of Sundays ago. It was so nice to touch base, even though the visit was so brief; we had to drive back to the City on Tuesday morning.

We drive home again this Sunday for the last time before hitting the road in earnest. James needs to winterize the various water pipes (PVC) and the fittings near the well, since we won’t be back in The Woods until mid-January.

Today (Saturday) is a double show day. South Pacific is a three-hour show, so I don’t have time to take the train “home” to the beach to eat dinner and take a nap before the evening performance. A home-cooked dinner and nap is my usual routine whenever I play Phantom, which is twenty minutes shorter. It’s amazing that twenty minutes can make such a difference, but it does!

So James has been coming into the City to meet me for dinner between shows, which is a nice break for both of us. We’ve found three favorite restaurants not far from the theatre which are good and inexpensive: Indian, Middle-Eastern and Thai. We usually end up at the Indian restaurant, which is the most consistent, flavorful and overall best value. It’s also closest to the theatre.

We’ve been there often enough to be instantly recognized by the staff when we walk in. The one waitress always greets us with a smile.

Perhaps tonight we may try a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that’s next door to the Thai restaurant we’ve been to on several occasions. It’s been highly recommended by the three trumpet players who are on this show — they take their eating VERY seriously!

James will drive me to the Colma train station at about 12:20 this afternoon (only a seven-minute trip over the hill from the beach), and I won’t see the inside of our little Airstream home again until nearly midnight.

Both Wednesdays and Saturdays are very long days when I can’t come home in-between shows, but somehow I make it through.

In fact, I do feel very fortunate to be employed these days, challenging as the show schedule can be at times.