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North Beach and Berkeley

Today I helped some old guy load a moving van in North Beach, until he wrenched his back and couldn't lift anything any more. He was bummed out because, in addition to the pain, today was his only day off, and someone else is moving into his apartment tomorrow. "I can carry boxes," I said, "and help you carry a couch, but I can't carry the couch by myself."

He frowned and said he'd carry his half of the load despite his back, but I said that sounded like a great way to end up in traction for a month, and suggested a different strategy. "Let's go downtown, and hire some wino to help out, if you can dig that deep in your wallet." That last bit was me being a semi-smart-ass, because he seemed like someone born to money.

To my surprise, he thought that was a great idea, reached for his wallet and handed me a twenty for homeless hunting. But he didn't want to come. He was in too much pain.

People can be so damned naïve, you know. I could've simply stuffed his twenty in my pocket, come home and kicked my shoes off. This is America, after all — who but a rube expects an honest deal?

Nah. I bused to the Tenderloin, picked up a scruffy sort who looked fairly muscular and didn't particularly stink, and we bused back to the house for a handshake and some heavy lifting. He got twenty bucks for two hours of work, and I got twenty bucks for four hours of work, so who's the rube here?

♦ ♦ ♦

Then I BARTed to Berkeley to do housework for Judith most of the afternoon. She's a reader of the zine, and even insisted that I take home a few items I've mentioned doing without, in the zine — a soap dish, and some deodorant. Or did she give me the deodorant because I smell funky? Well, I did come straight from moving that guy in Frisco.

I washed her dishes, cleaned her stove, vacuumed her rug, swept her steps, and played with her dog. Basically I was Alice on The Brady Bunch, but without any annoying kids to look after. Housework is a strange job for me — at my own place I'm a slob, but for money I can be Mr Clean. 

She has a house full of odd flatmates — a shy gay guy who lost interest in me when I mentioned Sarah-Katherine, a science-fiction supergeek who spoke mostly in Tolkien, and a third guy who didn't say much — plus Judith told a few interesting stories while I scrubbed, so it seemed like less than the six hours of work it was.

♦ ♦ ♦

The skies were sunny all day, but my own private clouds blew in when I checked my maildrop on the way home, and there was nothing from Sarah-Katherine.

But it's silly to worry about that, of course. It's only been a week and a day since I last saw her, and besides, USPS took a holiday yesterday. Hope I wasn't too mushy in the letter I sent a few days ago.

Maybe she's thinking everything through as slowly as I am. Maybe she's busy. Maybe she's not in the mood to write a letter. And of course, she's conventionally attraction, unlike my ugly self, so she probably has a life going on. I sure don't.

Most likely she has the smarts to know a big fat mistake when she kisses one goodbye.

Ah, shut up, Doug. Gotta re-wrap my heart in its unbreakable box, put a padlock on the damned thing this time, and go back to being pathetic.

From Pathetic Life #12
Tuesday, May 30, 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.

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