Monday, April 28, 2014

While taking the bus down Haight Street towards Market yesterday, I overheard a gentleman telling his (hard) life story to another passenger.  His story built to the point that he was eventually busted for possession of drugs and sent to jail.  He was sentenced to eight years but only served 2/3rds of that, having gotten out early for good behavior.

However, the person he was telling the story to couldn't do the math and couldn't understand what 2/3rds of eight years was.  "So you were I jail for eight years?" "No man.  I said I was sentenced to eight years but only served five years and seven months."  "But said you got out after 2/3rds." "I did - that's five years and seven months of eight years." "But wait..."

And on and on and on, until I got off the bus at my stop.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Forty Days of Lent: Day Thirty-Eight

April 11th is one of those dates that sticks in my memory, as it is the anniversary of my father's death.  He usually shows up in my dreams a couple of nights before, and my realization of the approaching anniversary elicits an "Oh yeah.  Of course."  Today was the day.  Hang my memories around this date, the events themselves seem so long ago.  Fill the day with little reminders.

Today I met friends of mine who are looking to increase their available pool of babysitters.  When I saw them shortly after being laid off, they asked "Do you wanna babysit?" right after offering their sympathies.  I've met their two year old son before but they wanted to re-introduce us to make sure the kid took to me.  The four of us hung out at Brooklyn Bazaar: inside a large industrial space sits a collection of arcade games, tables with crafts by local artists, and tonight, punk bands playing from a small stage.

Their son was the little reminder.  Looking at him, I realized he looked like my father, or rather, my favorite photo of my father.  He is about three years old and is wearing a cap and a wool coat and is sitting on the back of a pony.  Despite being taken in the 1930s, the scene looks like it could have been  an Irish farm in the 1830s.  With his brown hair and round checks, if you had dressed my friend's son the same way and plopped him on a horse, he would have looked just like my dad.  

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Forty Days of Lent: Day Thirty-Six

Good night, sleeping late every morning.
Good night, spending each day on the computer, unproductively.
Good night, ideally daydreaming about where I'm going to take a trip.
Good night, getting to happy hour early.
Good night, unemployment.
Hello, good job at an architecture firm. I just didn't expect you so soon.

(originally posted on facebook) 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Forty Days of Lent: Day Thirty-Five

Monday did not begin auspiciously.  In fact it was one of those mornings that felt like my body was in revolt against me, or if not trying for a coup d'etat, then at least a number of practical jokes.  I woke up and my jaw was sore - apparently I slept on my jaw wrong.  Who does that?  Me.  Closing my mouth properly that morning I felt an ache like I had pulled the muscle.

Then I managed to knock over a plant with the blanket I had wrapped around myself.  When it is chilly in the apartment, I tend to wear the multicolored Mexican blanket I bought in California (was it  Philadelphia?) even though it makes me look like Sun Ra.  I stood to get more coffee, wrapped the blanket around myself, something I've done countless times though this time I managed to knock a plant over on the floor, spilling the dirt it needs to live everywhere.  While in the process of sweeping up the dirt, I knocked over my glass of water, which meant I had to quickly scramble and clean up the puddle of water before it mixed with the dirt and made mud on my living room floor.

So when I heard back from a someone who had interviewed me for a job, I was not entirely optimistic. It was that kind of day and I had not heard from this person since sending my salary request almost a week previous.

But they offered me a job, and now my jaw hurts much less than before.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Forty Days of Lent: Day Thirty-Three

So last night I saw some friends I have not seen since I was laid off and they all said the same thing:  "You look great!"  It's similar to a bartender I know who saw me a few days after I lost my job and said "You look so young!  It's like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders!"  Understand that the point of these anecdotes is not vanity, but curiosity: how bad did I look when I had a job?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Thirty Days of Lent: Day Thirty-Two

Reverse Living by Norman Glass

Life is tough.
It takes up a lot of your time, all your weekends,
and what do you get at the end of it?
...Death, a great reward.
I think the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first, get it out of the way.
Then you should live twenty years in an old-age home.
You get kicked out when you're too young,
you get a gold watch, you go to work.
You work for forty years until you're
young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You go to college, you party until you're ready for high school,
you become a little kid, you play, you have no responsibilities,
you become a little boy or girl, you go back into the womb,
you spend your last nine months floating.
And you finish off as a gleam in someone's eye.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Forty Days of Lent: Day Thirty-One

Graffiti Art That Used To Be In My Neighborhood.

It's an ephemeral art form.  I think these pieces are long gone.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Forty Days of Lent: Day Thirty

It has been a while since I've done laundry.  Not having to go to an office five days a week means I'm not concerned with keeping a fresh supply of clean button-down shirts and I have more t-shirts than is appropriate for a man my age.

Even though I don't have a job at the moment, I was still planning on dropping off my laundry.  The laundromat does a good job, it's only a few dollars more than doing it myself and it frees me up to do things like write this blog entry.  So the task becomes sorting and then sub-sorting my clothes.  The first sort consists of dividing the clothes into piles according to whether they're black, white and colored.  Obvious. The second sort weeds out clothes that I don't really want people at the laundromat to see.  For example, my Charles Manson t-shirt.   It was a going away present from my roommate Tony and his girlfriend Melissa when I left Philadelphia.  This was in 1991, which gives you an idea of how long I've held on to some clothes.  I never wear the Charles Manson t-shirt outside of the apartment anymore.  There was a time when I would wear it outside but only beneath a sweater.  But then I began to worry that some circumstance would dictate I take the sweater off, like unexpectedly warm weather or perhaps the need to help an injured person.  They need a tourniquet and only my sweater will do.  I expect a shocked silence from the other people when I take off my sweater to reveal Manson's face beneath.

Similarly, I stopped wearing my "Christianity Is Stupid" t-shirt outside the apartment, whether it was covered or not.   With that shirt, I pictured being the victim of an accident and the shirt's message being discovered by paramedics in an ambulance.  Perhaps one of them would be fairly devout and thus less inclined to save a heretic...or a smart ass.  If nothing else, a theology debate would probably ensue as they tended to my wounds, a scene not too different from when your dentist asks you questions while you have a mouth full of tools, suction devices, and fingers.

I eventually donated my "Christianity Is Stupid" t-shirt, along with some other clothes, to the Salvation Army.  I wonder what they made of it and if it ever was put out for sale.      

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Forty Days of Lent: Day Twenty-Nine

My tattoo, from which this blog takes its name, is ten years old.  Actually, ten years and some change:  the inking was done in January, 2004.

I have no regrets, I think it still looks great, I don't think I've ever seen another tattoo that's better, I have  no plans to get another one.  

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Forty Days of Lent: Day Twenty-Eight

More Graffiti Murals From My Neighborhood