Saturday Afternoon

The engine came on and the boat turned to head back toward the dock in Fremont. The people on deck gathered into smaller groups and started chatting. I stood alone until S. came over and asked me to help her with her camera. The memory card was full and she wanted to free up some room by deleting pictures. She didn’t want to go through each picture one at a time though, she wanted to delete them in small batches.

She gave the camera to me and I started exploring the menus.

“Do you think it would be appropriate to take pictures at the barbecue?” S. asked.

“I’m sure it would be alright,” I answered.

The camera screen said “Delete all? Y/N” and I froze up, afraid to do anything. “It may only be possible to delete them all at once or one at a time,” I told her. “What kind of media card does it use? I can loan you mine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I think I have an extra one. I’ll just stop at home to pick it up.”

She asked if I’d met her mother. Her mother had recently moved to Seattle. She has heart problems and had just been in the hospital, but it wasn’t serious. She’d only fallen and had a bruise under one of her eyes.

S.’s mother came over just then and S. introduced us. She explained who I was, and I felt oddly pleased by each of the two or three things she said, though they were all benign.

[When I’d arrived at the dock earlier, there were just a few people waiting outside. I knew one of them, an old coworker. I walked over and said hello. I sat down next to her, and she said, “Remind me what your name is?”]

S.’s mother told us an anecdote about something that had happened earlier in the day.

This story left both S. and I a little perplexed. It wasn’t that it was an especially confusing story, it was just unexpected.

S. hesitated, then something clicked into place in her head and she said, “Oh, mom. Are you talking about The Family Feud? I love you.”

“They say the craziest things on that show.”

“I guess that without Richard Dawson, they have to spice up the show somehow,” I said.

“Richard Dawson. He was kind of creepy, wasn’t he?” S. said. “Always groping contestants,” and she mimed groping as she was saying the word.

[Later, at the barbecue, I was talking to people in the kitchen. Someone asked, “How about that hail earlier?”

“I didn’t see any hail. I guess it missed me.”

Then from behind me, someone said, “Jeffrey? Can you reach the trash from there?”

I turned around. S.’s mother was sitting there at a table holding a paper plate out toward me.

I hesitated, “…Of course.”]

S. and her mom went back into the cabin and I headed to a corner to join two friends.

We were just passing a rusty old tugboat. I pointed it out to them and said, “That’s my boat.”

They stopped talking, looked at the boat and then at me.

“I’m sorry. I interrupted.”

“No. That’s alright. We were wondering where you were. We were only talking about Babies or Marriage or Childbirth.” She said one of those things, I don’t remember which.

Just a few minutes before, we’d watched a friend scatter her husband’s ashes into the water. Five handfuls and then she tipped the tin and shook the last bit out.

Calendar Tomorrow, Promise

The film stopped and the theater lights came on about halfway through the movie. The lights went out again less than a second later and the film resumed its course. I almost didn’t notice it happen.

Afterward, I went out and sat in the car for a minute with the heater going. I drove through Shoreline with a half-fogged up windshield and went straight through a dark traffic light. Then I noticed that the street lights were out and none of the houses were lit.


I was heading down Pine Street earlier. The setting sun was shining through the car windshield, blinding me. I reached overhead to flip the sun visor down and a little bag of pot slipped out — another surprise left behind by the car thieves back in April.

Backup Your Data

Today is International Backup Your Data Day. I just made it up (again). That doesn’t mean it isn’t true. All you have to do is believe in it (and copy some files over) and it will be so.

Famous in The Checkout Line

Bagger (looking at my tshirt (from North Shore Shirts)): “What does B.F.B. stand for?”
Me: “Beans for Breakfast.”
Cashier: “Debit or credit?”
Bagger: “Is that a blog?”
Me: “Debit and, uh, yes.”
Cashier: “Do you want any cash back?”
Bagger: “Do you write that blog?”
Me: “Could I have $20 and yes, that’s me.”
Cashier: “Of course.”
Bagger: “Really? Didn’t you write about [Japanese word]?”
Me: “What?”
Bagger: “Wasn’t it a contest? It’s this Japanese food that has strawberry and it’s ground up and…”
Cashier (clears throat and points at debit card reader which is prompting me for a PIN.)
Me: “Oh. Sorry.” (I type in my PIN.) “Um, I don’t remember that.”
Bagger: “Am I just totally confusing you?”
Me: “Yeah.”
Cashier (points again at the debit card reader which is prompting me to approve the total.)
Bagger: “I must have seen it somewhere else. I’ll email a link to you. Are you going to blog about this?”
Me: “Sure.”

This Face

[Statue of William Seward]

“I used to be a model. That was back in ’81 and people still recognize this face,” he points at his own face, “though I didn’t have a mustache then.”


Two of the apartments on my floor recently changed hands, so I have new neighbors. I ran into one over the weekend. He was emptying his mailbox which was packed with junk mail. He said that he’s lived in the building before. I remembered him sort of and told him that, leaving off the sort of. He moved out shortly after I moved in. A small collection of horse figurines has started to collect outside his door. This seems to be an inside joke.

The other neighbor moved in across the hall sometime in the last week. She carried her moving boxes out to the curb yesterday while I was hauling out the recycling bins. This involved several trips back and forth down the length of the hallway, and her wooden-soled sandles made clip-clop noises against the cement floor.