Thursday, September 25, 2008

Split personality

I was stuck in traffic yesterday behind a large white Chevrolet pickup truck. On its tailgate it had a large sticker, presumably company provided, that said "Safety is my first goal" with an 800 number that other motorists could use to report that the driver was falling short of that goal or, maybe, to congratulate him on goal achievement. There was another sticker, however. A smaller one, nearer the actual bumper. This one had just two words: Death Ride.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This morning on the radio there was a discussion of a nonprofit devoted to curing blindness in third world countries. And, despite this very clear context of BLINDNESS CURING, when they said "eye hospital," I heard "iHospital," which presumably would be Apple's new digital trauma center.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I am about to cross Haight Street. To my left, there is a dude standing in the middle of a vacant parking place pissing mightily onto Ashbury Street; in front of me is a guy blocking traffic and half the crosswalk with his giant SUV; to my right is a white guy with dreadlocks playing a banjo. No wonder the tourists flock to the neighborhood. It's a veritable vacation paradise.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Haiku for the Next Door Neighbors

The crying wakes me.
If I wanted a baby,
I would have my own.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The secret life of trees

Walking to work this morning, I pass a mother on a bike with her small daughter. Riding along on the sidewalk beside them is her larger son, on his own bike with training wheels. As I pass, I hear her say exasperatedly, "Well, that's right, Andrew. It's a good thing you were looking. Trees can jump out at you. That's why you have to keep your eyes open."

Later, I walk down a block where several trees have very recently been planted in the newly repaired sidewalk. In the small square of earth at the base of one sapling,there are three empty fifth bottles: two Hennessy and one Bacardi, and a pair of sparkly gold high heels.


1. Trees can jump out and grab you.
2. Trees, even very young trees, know how to party.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Pot Luck, Grab Bag, Miscellany, etc.

1. I know that I've mentioned this before, but I must mention it again or risk exploding with pent-up anger. The stompy, stompy neighbors. Oh how I weary of them. As I have already told you, there are but two men in my building, but between them they sound like a conquering army. Neither wears shoes in the house (thank goodness), so it is all the more difficult to imagine how they do it. It seems like it would be physically painful to bring one's feet down with such force without shoes. Seriously. It isn't so much that I hear them; I feel them. The man upstairs walks from room to room as though in a great fury and my chair trembles; my dishes rattle. Remember that this is Earthquakeville too, so that kind of thing can cause a great deal of anxiety. My next door neighbor is exactly the same, it's just that he isn't over my head. He shakes everything in my apartment when he is coming and going, since the hall to the building's front door runs alongside my living room. There are also three women in the building. But you'd never know it from listening.

2. My friends hosted an Obama party on Saturday, which was swell of them. They raised a good sum of money and gave us sausages and beer and it was also an almost unbelievably beautiful day. I was on 44th Avenue and I was wearing a sleeveless dress. If you are familiar with San Francisco, your mouth is now agape with astonishment. Sunny skies, lovely people, good cause, tasty snacks. So, all in all, very pleasant. However, once again I found myself in the role of The One Person With Neither Spouse Nor Child. Seriously, it was as though there was a rule that you couldn't come unless you bought a baby or toddler, but everyone was just too polite to tell me. It begins to be clear why none of my friends have managed to introduce me to my future spouse, whoever he may be. To do so, they would have to break up his current marriage. This makes me--well--sad, if you want to know the truth.

Later that evening, feeling lonely and blue, (I know. Believe me, I feel like an idiot admitting it in print, but it has been pretty pervasive lately. Pitiful? Yes. Also true.) I gave myself a stern lecture about actually Leaving the House and going Where There Are People. I cannot bring myself to go to a bar/club alone, so I went to a 10:15 movie. An Italian movie that proved to be quite melancholy, about the strain of financial problems on a marriage. A movie that THREE other people wanted to see that night. Woo hoo! Needless to say, after that I was no longer lonely or sad and when I exited the entirely deserted multiplex at midnight, there were rainbows of cheerfulness radiating from my heart.

3. Wristcutters: A Love Story. In the context of all that "I'm so sad" stuff, you may now be convinced that I am actually suicidal. Not so! It only sounds like that sort of movie. When really, with movies like this, why would anyone want to die? Think of everything you'd miss. I love this movie. I watched it twice. And yes, it certainly does have something to do with the fact that Tom Waits in it, and we know how I feel about Tom Waits, but I liked it even before his character showed up. So there.

Friday, September 05, 2008


In my email Junk folder there is one lone message.
It is from Norberto Joliet.
The subject heading is: When his wife is angry with you at night.

Is this spam specifically targeted at adulteresses? That is a niche market for sure. Thank you, Norberto. I don't even need to open your message for it to easily qualify as the most entertaining email I will receive today.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

In Memorium

It is 4pm on a school day, which means almost everyone has left the building. On my way to the front desk, I briefly pass a deserted hallway that is lined on one side with lockers. On the floor in front of one locker is a cheap, grocery store bouquet comprised of red and white carnations.

Now, in all likelihood this is merely a tribute to one teen from another that has been accidently abandoned in the flurry of after-school activity. However, the placement of the bouquet and the poor quality of the flowers makes it look exactly like the beginning of one of those impromptu shrines that one sees on the roadside where someone has been killed in a car accident. though one of our students has perished in some unspeakable locker-related tragedy.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Spell Check

I am checking a work email, mostly because I have trouble spelling "acknowledgment" [in fact, I just spelled it wrong three times right this minute]. However, what spell check is upset by is "but many of you have--thanks." Have--thanks is just too much for it to accept. It offers these alternatives:


Raise your hand if you knew that "harvestman" was a word. Okay, so there are three of you. Fine. How about "hardstands?" Right. That's what I thought. Nobody. Thanks, Microsoft.

Monday, September 01, 2008

We're the class of '88

In the last few days I have been on an internet date and gone to my twenty-year high school reunion. Prior to these events, I thought the former would be a fantastic success and the latter would be a depressing blow to my self esteem. Surprise! I got that backwards. The man I thought was perfect for't like me. So, back to the drawing board on that. Again. However, the reunion? The reunion was great.

First of all, let me just say that Tam High Class of 88 is looking good. Seriously. I kind of can't get over it. Yes, we look like adults. We are adults. But in no way do we look like scary, haggard, obese versions of our 18-year-old selves. There was no need for anxious nametag scanning. We are instantly recognizable. And frankly, pretty hot. Many of the people I graduated with were also my elementary school classmates and I found it truly moving to be there looking at the beautiful grownup versions of girls who were in my Girl Scout troop.

I feared that it would be Parade of Spouses and a veritable photo exhibit of offspring. I feared it would be all long-winded recounting of glamorous careers and recent large-scale propertry purchases. And that I would be all, "blah, blah single. Blah, blah secretary. Blah, blah rent control." Largely because that is my nearly constant inner monologue even when I'm alone. (Yeah. I know. I'm working on it: one resume update and one internet date at a time.) But you know what? It wasn't like that at all. Most people love their spouses so much that they spared them from the reunion altogether. Those who were there seemed to be happily in the spirit of things. And as for children? Maybe people were just happy to have a night off. Maybe it was enough to say their names and ages and then have another glass of wine and dance to another 80s cover.

I ended up wearing the thing that actually fits me, rather than the thing that only sort of fits me with the aid of miserable undergarments. No one hurt my feelings. No one was boastful and tiresome. Instead, I got some really high-quality hugs and was told by a dozen people that I was unchanged. We laughed a lot and sang along to every song and no one wanted it to be over, so we descended en masse on the town dive bar at about 12:45am. And it dawned on me that reunions are actually meant to be joyful. That's why the tradition lingers on. Not because every adult relishes being plagued by her high school insecurities. Oh. Well, that makes more sense. I wish someone would have told me sooner.

The only reunion stereotype that played out was that one guy who was a high school nerd is now a rocket scientist who is married to a stunningly beautiful woman who is? Yep. Also a rocket scientist. And you know what? That's my favorite reunion sterotype. I'm glad we didn't miss out on it.

Also, now that it's over and I am no longer determined to stuff myself into an ill-fitting dress, I hailed yesterday with a large plate of pancakes. Aahhh. The death of pretense is pretty tasty. Especially with maple syrup.