I assume there’s something important going on, like a key baseball game or a special taping of Wheel of Fortune or something, because there’s a blimp with a beer advertisement on it flying around over the city.
At the natural foods grocery store I go to, the skinny checker was ringing up the groceries of the woman in front of me. After handling the other groceries, she carefully slipped a package of ground beef into a little plastic bag, scanned the barcode, and dropped it into the grocery bag – all without touching the meat’s saran wrapped packaging.
“Your total is . . . exactly ten dollars.”
“I have a twenty.” The customer fishes around in her purse and passes a crisp twenty over to the cashier.
The cashier started punching up some numbers on the register, while studying the portrait of the Queen of England on the front of the $20 bill. Nothing happened for a couple of seconds while the cashier decided how to respond to this, something one wouldn’t have considered happening, “This is Canadian.”
“Oh, sorry. The customer dug around in her purse again and replaced the QE2 with a Jackson.
The Mike Doughty show last night was brilliant, just him and a guitar. He developed an immediate rapport with the audience – to the point where people sometimes laughed just because some part of a song was particularly perfect. At one point after a song, he said “I really have to pee,” surrendered his guitar to an audience member, and booked it to the bathroom. He boiled some Soul Coughing hits down to their perfect essential core (His voice is all he needs for these things), played some songs from Skittish, and some new ones. The show was truly inspiring.
Walking home, an older couple slowed down next to me in a white Taurus and asked “Do you know how to find Five? We’re trying to get to the airport.” I gave them some directions and started walking again. They drove timidly to the next block, alongside the bus tunnel entrance and pulled over again. I back-tracked and crouched down beside the passenger side window. They were a bit frazzled from driving around in circles. I clarified my directions again and told them they just needed to follow them, drive confidently, and they’d be on the freeway soon enough. They still weren’t quite sure about something. The woman on the passenger side moved her head a little, I thought she might have been recoiling from my beer breath. I saw that they were anxious about taking advice from some kid walking through downtown Seattle at 1:30 in the morning with messy hair and no jacket. They thanked me and I said, “Good luck.”
I don’t have proper instinct. When I “jump in feet first” it’s on a careless whim or after an unsatisfying deliberation, giddy at my recklessness or just repressing the butterflies in my stomach.
It pleases me today to think that the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve are rough halfway point in some vague pattern that would be visible only from a distance (or only from a calendar). Both are marked by fireworks.
One year ago – At work, Monday, July 3. An oddball day, nearly everyone took the day off to make it a four day weekend. I finished writing documentation for the processes I’d built over the last year. It was Stnick’s first day back from house-hunting in Munich. At 6:00 we walked down to the Alibi Room for drinks to mark a vague shifting point in both our careers. Stnick going to work in Germany, me finishing the last day of my 44 months At Amazon.
Six months ago – December 31, Chris Canuck visits and I fail in nearly every capacity as a good host.
Today – Hell, I don’t know. Ask me at New Year, I’ll undoubtedly have shaped some meaning out of the day’s events by then.