Sidewalk stories

Is today Sunday?

I wouldn’t know. All I’ve done all week is work on my feet at the shop, work on my feet for Jose, and then at night sit on my butt and work on Dahlia’s script.

The script, as mentioned yesterday, might be a comedy when they perform it but when I'm typing it, it’s just work. All laughter is on layaway, at least until the move is over and I can get settled at the new apartment. Some of the jokes I don't get, some simply aren't funny, and some I can't read — Dahlia's handwriting always looks like she was having a stroke.

♦ ♦ ♦

Before going to the shop, I took a backpack full of canned food to Mierda, to mark my turf and make me feel like I’m actually moving into that apartment. I hope Pike doesn't open the cans and eat my food. He's awfully skinny and hungry-looking, but he wasn't there when I opened the door with my nifty new key.

His cat has moved in, though. Pike had told me he has a cat, and that the cat is a ferocious mouser, which is something we'll need cuz the apartment has ferocious mice. His fierce cat might even attack the roaches, he said, but I'm not so sure about 'ferocious'. I wouldn't have known the cat was there if I hadn't seen a cat-sized lump quivering in terror under Pike's blanket on the couch.

Oh — there's a couch now. Kinda ratty-looking, but it fits the place. Also there's now a TV stand, with the TV on it. Swanky!

Anyway, when I tried saying soothing words and petting the cat through the blanket, that cowardly lion launched itself out of the room in a blur.

♦ ♦ ♦

Pike is getting settled, I guess, and tomorrow's my day for packing, if I can finish the script tonight. Tuesday will be the day for moving, and I've told LeeAnn and Stevi I'll need Wednesday off too, to get settled in and recover. Can't wait to say farewell forever to the rez hotel.

♦ ♦ ♦

My day working at the shop was about as terrific as any workday could be. I spent all of it in costume on Market Street, nudging people up the stairs and into the shop, with a fairly high success rate — maybe 1 or 2%. 

I hate people, of course — that's my defining trait — but I enjoy the quick banter with strangers on the sidewalk, and today there were several exchanges that became almost conversations. At no time did I want to punch anybody, and nobody took a swing at me, either. 

Small world #1: One of the junior execs I used to work for at Macy's walked by, and boy was he surprised to see someone he knew all decked out in green and insect. He asked me what the hell, and I told him I'm happier now, making lots less than I did at Macy's, but it's worth it to be free of the balderdash.

Maybe it was my sunny mood on account of the sunny weather (first dry day in a week) but that executive seemed more human without his tie and 9-5 sourpuss demeanor. He even went upstairs to see the shop, and when he came down an hour later, he showed me that he'd bought a skirt. "I tried it on, and just loved it," he said. I hadn't seen that coming, but I love San Francisco.

Small world #2: Not long after that suit bought his skirt, another familiar face from Macy's came walking from the other direction. It was Kyle, a guy who'd worked with me there (before I started writing the zine, so you never heard of him).

He was always a kidder, right up to the day he got laid off, so I'm not certain what to make of this, but when I asked him what he's up to these days he said he's a drug dealer. Of course he's joking, right? I chuckled, but then he handed me his business card.

Who knew dealers have business cards? His was bright six-color laminated plastic, with only his first name and psychedelic colors on the front, and a phone number on the back ("Leave a message 24/7") over a picture of a thousand marijuana plants.

The card was slick, so I guess he's a successful entrepreneur. He offered me a discount, but anything illegal is beyond my budget until we see whether "anything legal" pays the rent.

Later (and this is my last story from the sidewalk today, I promise), some smiley sort walked by, with short hair, lots of teeth, and a nose ring big enough to dangle your house keys. I gave him a flyer about going upstairs to the shop, and he looked at it, smiled again even bigger, and gave me his flyer, headlined:

Namu myōhō renge kyō

Perhaps you don't know that phrase? It's the childlike chant of empty-headed believers in Buddhism. Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be more tolerant and less judgmental, but if you push religion at me, I am under no obligation to be patient and polite. I was in a great mood, though, so I tried to be nice (and failed).

"Will you say it with me?" the smiley stranger asked, so we said it together half a dozen times, interrupted by me handing flyers to other people on the sidewalk.

"Namu myōhō renge kyō," I said to the smiley guy, and to someone else I said, "Cool store upstairs," and held out the store's flyer. Then smiley guy and I said it together, "Namu myōhō renge kyō," and to another stranger I said, "Upstairs, upstairs, you've never had more fun with your clothes on."

"Namu myōhō renge kyō," the smiley guy said again, and I said it to him and he said it to me, and after several more recitals he asked earnestly, "Don't you feel better already?"

"No, I just feel dopey," I said. "Don't you?"

From Pathetic Life #10
Sunday, March 12, 1995

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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