Sometimes I think we should be able to erase the world’s memory of harmless yet embarrassing things we did more than five years ago.
A guy is over-friendly to me in the grocery store. The cashier says he has senioritis, he has two more shifts & is moving to New York. I walk out & head down Pine.
I walk around the couple making out on the sidewalk. On the next block, across the street someone is walking through a parking lot moaning. I pass a man walking up the hill, he is humming an “Emergency Broadcast Service” tone.
Walking across 12th, I pass someone going the other way. In one arm he’s carrying a pair of vintage roller skates & a plain wooden frame (the type you stretch a canvas or silkscreen over). In the other he has a molded case for a musical instrument, or typewriter, or something.
I turn off of Pine and don’t see anyone else.
I wait at the dirty 7-11 bus stop for the bus to Fremont. Two kids are sitting on the narrow bench under the bus shelter and their father is pacing around a little. A tiny Trek bicycle with training wheels, just the right size for the little boy, is sitting next to the bench. The little girl’s Birkenstocks are sitting on the sidewalk in front of her. The boy keeps taking off and putting back on his sandles until his father tells him to stop. The boy points out that his sister has taken off her shoes. She justifies her barefeet by explaining that they’re slip-ons. The three of them occassionally speculate about which of the approaching buses might be their’s.
My bus arrives and the family stands up to get on. The father picks up the bike. The driver gestures for them to wait while passengers unload. An old woman gets off, the driver looks back down at us and shakes his head. “The bike is going to have to go on the rack,” he points at the bike rack on the front of the bus, where a full-sized 18-speed is taking up one of the two available slots.
The father hesitates. And vaguely stammers out that he’d rather carry it onboard. “It’s so small.”
The driver shakes his head and explains that they’re not supposed to let bikes of any kind on board. The father pauses, deciding how much of an issue he want to make of this. “But,” the driver decides, “Just this once. I’ll let you on . . . as long as you keep it out of the aisle.”
We get on. The kids sit behind the driver in seats facing the aisle and the father sits across from them with the bike tucked partly under the seat.
The driver repeats, “I need to have the aisle clear.”
So, the father moves to the first available of the right-side forward-facing seat and holds the bike awkwardly in his lap. I’m a couple of seats back on the left-hand side.
We get moving and make a couple of more stops. The little girl asks her father how far this bus goes. “It’ll take us all the way home.” The little boy reads a bus-ID number of some kind off the window backwards.
We stop at the the last interchange before the Fremont Bridge. The bridge is up to let a tall boat go by, so it’ll be a couple of minutes. The driver is going to take full advantage of this time. He unbuckles his seatbelt, turns around, and walks over to the father. He explains again, “We’re really not supposed to let you bring any kind of bicycle on board – even one that small.”
The father nods his head. He grimaces and seems to think, Yes, I know . . . I think I’ve heard something about this.
“You see, I really should have made you put the bike on the bike rack. But I’m letting you bring it on board, even though I shouldn’t.” 
“Yes, I understand. Thank you.”
We cross the bridge into Fremont. I step off the little despot’s bus into the increasingly bleak-looking center of the universe. (But that’s another story for another day.)
 Actually I seem to remember that, except for the first and last stops, passengers aren’t allowed to put bikes on the rack in the Ride Free Area. But the driver chose to exclude this bit of esoterica from the mix.
The girl in black is trying to get the tiny flies off the zine she’s reading without injuring them. But they’re firmly attached. One of the zine-guys says she should flick it, anyone else would. They’re unfazed when she blows at them. Finally one of them flies away, the other lands on her hand. I get in close and try to coax the fly onto a chunk of gravel. It holds fast for a few more seconds and only flies away of its own volition.
Well, I went to the Clowes & Ware signing at Confounded Books earlier. I stood in line for awhile talking to a few zine/art school people. When I got to their table, they were pretty friendly. Chris Ware was especially gracious when he finished signing my book & shook my hand, thanking me for waiting in the long line.
The opening for their show yesterday was pretty crowded with people drinking red wine & not looking at the artwork. The two of them hiding in a corner by the bar. The artwork on display was just about the tightest originals that you’ll ever see. Chris Ware’s originals are much larger than they’re reproduced in his comics. Seeing them in that size next to Clowes’ pages made me see some similiarities in their line that I hadn’t caught before.
I’m pretty worn out and in a bit of a weird state of mind. Standing with my heavy backpack for an hour, just enough walking downtown & riding the bus to Fremont, not enough sleep, and it’s pretty surprising to hear that Douglas Adams died.
Walking to Broadway past the reservoir. Some skater kids are milling about on the sidewalk. I maneuver myself through the group, pass a mohawked fellow as he’s turning to step into the street. I catch his eye. “Hey, man.”
“Hey,” I nod to him and continue walking.
In response to my dismissivness, my backpack, or maybe my simple presence, he yells out, “Do you want to go to school? You going to college? Fuck you, you fuckin’ jock! Motherfucker!”
This is in sharp relief to the events chronicled here. I suppose my days of passing are over, it’s time for me to settle down and start watching professional sports. Too bad I’m too late for the XFL.
Despite my declarations against the practice, I am by nature a list-maker.
(This here web-journal-thing is just another example. Whatever web-content management tool I’m using this week insures that there is some sort of structure. Whatever I throw against the screen is promptly filed away, protected from judgment of merit or foolish design decision.)
I am ambivalent of all of this though. And over the course of a list-making activity, I will purposely sabotage it. I will choose to exclude a key element of the list, include things that don’t belong, or turn the whole package into a self-referential jumble. The project will consume itself.
Coming soon: a list of my broken lists
I picked up the new David Byrne album today. I specifically went down to Orpheum for it, stopped at Bleu Bistro for a Chai Super Big Gulp afterwards & sat figuring out how to open the packaging. I’m home now, still chewing on it. It’s not as crazy & immediately striking as Feelings. I don’t really have any preliminary thoughts on it other than that it’s good enough, I’m listening to it for a second time right now. Nice packaging, the portrait & color scheme comment on the Ken doll & color scheme of the last album.
I guess I haven’t anticipated a new CD this much since They Might Be Giants – John Henry (back in my art school years). See I’ve decided to start describing periods of a few months like this, The x Years. For example the November – early April portion of this journal’s archives will henceforth be known as “The Blogger Years” (which then can be abbreviated as TBY – see how that works?).
That is all.
was propositioned with the words, “Hey, how you doing? . . . Wanna get it on?” Not paraphrased – weird.
found it within myself to offer an “Alright!” to the guy who said to me, “The Mariners are ahead. I saw it in the window of the bar. Six to three!”
caused an imbalance in a seating arrangement & provided a belated correction by moving to a more anonymous area.
walked by as professional promo-CD hander-outers were preparing to hand out promo-CDs to the crowd that would soon leave the Crocodile. The first was quick enough to offerme one, slowing me down long enough to be available for those slower than him.
With the exception of the third of these points, none of this is of any consequence. There is a bit more to the third, but those details will not be made clear presently.