16 crumpets

Mucus from the moment I woke up, and a runny nose and scratchy throat. I went to work, of course. They'd have to pay to keep me away — sick leave, it's called, and we don't have it.

If the mucus blooms into a cold or flu that prevents me from seeing tomorrow’s Jackie Chan double feature ... screw it, I’ll probably go anyway. I’m Typhoid Doug.

♦ ♦ ♦

There’s a great crumpet shop in Seattle, cleverly called The Crumpet Shop, where they make crumpets — a British breakfast treat, mostly unknown in America. It's like an English muffin, but softer, sweeter, fluffier, chewier, and tastier.

Living near that shop years ago, I became an addict, but in San Francisco nobody knows what crumpets are.

Now, Beatrice knows. She's a nice old lady who works one floor above me at the office. We’ve interacted a few times and occasionally e-mail jokes to each other, or snide remarks about the company. A week ago, I mentioned crumpets to Beatrice for some reason, and she of course e-mailed back, “What’s a crumpet?,” so I told her about crumpets, and my withdrawal pangs.

This morning Beatrice came to my desk with something hidden behind her back — a package of 16 crumpets she’d bought at Costco. What a wonderful surprise! I said thank you, awkwardly of course. An unexpected gift is like a compliment; they're both rare, and leave me bewildered and blank.

Mmmm, crumpets. I could've eaten the whole bag all at once, but I decided to be nice instead. At lunch I walked home, and came back with my toaster, and some margarine and honey and raspberry jam — crumpets for everyone in the office, except the executives. I e-mailed Beatrice, "There's a crumpet feast going on," and she came down.

She didn’t care for the crumpets, though. Nobody much did. Crumpets from Costco, really, what can you expect? They were frozen, factory crumpets, not fresh-baked like at the Crumpet Shop. Not great, but crumpets, and they’re all gone now. 4¼ were eaten by others, 3¾ were eaten by me at work, and the other 8 came home, and they're all in my belly now. Thanks again, Beatrice.

♦ ♦ ♦

Do you have e-mail? They added it at work a few months ago, and it’s a marvelous invention for introverts. No worries about saying something stupid. You type, change it around, delete it and start over, or do other things for an hour until maybe the right words pop into your head. Then you hit 'send'.

It’s the opposite of talking — you can take your time and make sense, or even seem clever. Too bad e-mail is only at work. I want e-mail in life. I'd like to stop talking entirely, and when communication is needed, give other humans my e-mail address instead.

♦ ♦ ♦

With some recent reshuffling of duties and workflow, there's been less work than usual for my group. Jennifer came by today, and told each of us one-by-one, “Work slow.” I always do what I’m told.

♦ ♦ ♦

Between buying t-shirts on Sunday, pepper-spray Monday, lots of stamps for the zine yesterday, and a FastPass today, I’m suddenly poorer than usual. There’s $27 in my wallet, and another $20 stashed away for just-in-case, but that’s all there is. No bank account.

It's not an emergency, and unless there's a stick-up I'm fine until payday (Friday), but I’m only a week ahead on the rent. Gotta start budgeting better, especially since my job is anything but secure.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

From the mailbag:

I am in complete empathy with your views of family and co-workers, and would rather spend a night alone with a good book than a night out with a bunch of wanna-be alcoholics at a bar. My zine tends to be as social as I get… 

—Joel Epanouri, Chaos 

We’re a couple of anti-socialists, Joel. Maybe some guy down the hall in my building would be the best friend of my life, but I’ll never know, because I’ll never say anything to him. 

♦ ♦ ♦

Knocked off early for bed, still with that scratchy throat and drippy nose. Jackie Chan tomorrow, though.

From Pathetic Life #4
Wednesday, September 7, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.


Pathetic Life 

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  1. That bit about email was hilarious to read nowadays. Hard to remember a time when email was new. Now, email is starting to become like phone calls. If I ever email my kids anything, I then usually have to follow it up with a text message to tell them to check their email. "Advancements" in technology....

    1. Wish I had saved the on-paper memo announcing that Macy's would soon have "electronic mail".

      The "instant" nature of instant-messaging is what I hate about instant-messaging. :)

  2. > Knocked off early for bed, still with that scratchy throat and drippy nose.

    Am I too late to say, I hope you feel better.

    1. It's never too late for a kindness, and actually, I am feeling better, thanks.


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