Breakfast, bums, and fish

"I'm waiting for a friend," I told the cashier proudly, since that's something I don't often get to say. You generally have to have friends to say that.

Looking for Leef, I ordered a cup of plain old coffee from the espresso bar at Squat & Gobble. Leef does the zine Leef Logic, and he's leaving for Korea, and on his way out of town he's doing a grand farewell tour. He wanted to meet me before flying away. He's an interesting guy who knows me inside out, the same way I know him, though we'd never met before — we know each other from our zines. 

Strangers in addition to being friends, we had an hour of fairly relaxed conversation. He's a funny guy. Does a good zine. He actually could be a friend... except that he's moving to Korea, so I'll probably never see him again.

He says he'll try to keep Leef Logic going, and he gave me his new address, which being an idiot I promptly lost. I'll mail this to your previous address, Leef, and hope it gets forwarded to Korea.

As for Squat & Gobble, I had the Lower Haight Omelet, a complicated concoction with zucchini, squash, pesto, and a mysterious green glop in the middle that tasted good but wasn't guacamole. The food was OK albeit fancy for my palate, the meal came pronto, and it was only six bucks with tip, a good deal.

Can't quite recommend a place where nobody says thank you, though. I made four trips to the counter for napkins, coffee refills, etc, and it was like talking to the wall at an automat.

♦ ♦ ♦

Handing out flyers on the sidewalk in front of the shop, some guy with a video camera asked me a few questions as I curtsied in my skirt. I joked around with him, and then he told me — after he'd clicked his camera off — that I'd just been interviewed for a cable-access gay TV show.

Uh, first, why does everyone assume I'm gay? Straight people are allowed to be flamboyant, you know!

And second, I'd thought he was just another tourist, so not only did I not plug LeeAnn & Stevi's shop on camera, but I may have said something vaguely sarcastic about the place. Gonna be in hot water if they happen to watch channel 268-Z or whatever.

♦ ♦ ♦

Later on, the crazy homeless guy came back, and I positioned myself off the sidewalk, so there was a tree between him and me. He didn't say anything about being a bastard last week, didn't threaten me, and instead we sorta nodded toward each other, as if acknowledging our respective rights to exist. 

I was wondering whether we'd achieved peace on earth or maybe he just has long-term memory loss, but then he parked his shopping cart and ran upstairs to the shop.

Ah, jeez. I only work there, but I like the shop and feel protective toward it, so I was regrettably ready to be a bouncer. I followed him up the stairs just like last week, and found him leaning over a jewelry case, acting like a customer, though I'm certain if he had any money on him it was reserved for beer and buds.

Discretely, I walked past him to the back of the shop, where I hid behind a dress rack to keep an eye on him. The guy has violent tendencies, but I was hoping he'd behave, and he did. I watched him closely and he didn't swipe anything, either. He asked Heather a few questions about a necklace, and then he left.

Heather, by the way, is Stevi's daughter. She was running the shop today, while LeeAnn & Stevi took a day off. She didn't know the guy was nutso when he walked in, but she figured it out after he'd said a few sentences.

When he was gone I told her about last week, and she thanked me for coming up, like I'm a hero or something for hiding and watching and letting her handle the loony guy alone.

♦ ♦ ♦

Later another homeless guy sprawled out and tried to sleep on the sidewalk in front of the store next door, so I whistled him a lullaby. Someone must've called the cops — don't know why; he was a little in the way on the sidewalk but he wasn't bothering anyone.

By the time the blue suits arrived, someone had accidentally kicked the bum's spare change cup, and he'd long since cursed and collected his coins and moved along.

♦ ♦ ♦

Had a phone chat with Jay, a reader of this fine zine and a semi-friend. In addition to seeming like a decent human and being easy to talk to, she wants to hire me.

If I can successfully jump through all the forms and rigmarole required by the City of Berkeley to obtain a vendor's license, I'll be selling Jay's blasphemous 'fish' magnets and stickers on Telegraph Avenue, which couldn't possibly not be fun.

Addendum, 2022: That's all? It surprises me that I didn't explain the fish any further in 1995. Seems to me now, a brief explanation is in order:

The fish is an ancient symbol for Christianity, and in the 1990s 'fish'-shaped bumper stickers were popular among churchgoers. Then several companies started selling somewhat-evolved 'Darwin' fish, to mock the Christian fish.

One of those companies was in Berkeley, and owned by Jay and her husband. They made Darwin stickers and magnets, and other blasphemous fish in a variety of designs — and I was about to become a fisherman.

From Pathetic Life #12
Sunday, May 14, 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.


  1. Captain HampocketsMarch 2, 2022 at 2:26 PM

    Looking forward to the fish sales stories. You were selling fish when I came to SF. I helped you sell at least once, I remember that much.

    1. You did? Sorry, I don't remember that. Did you sit at the table all day, or just long enough to let me slip away for a poop?


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