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Well, half a damn, maybe.

There was an old man in the coffee shop this morning, though probably not as old as me. He was skinny, somewhat rumpled, with stringy gray hair, and he danced in his chair to the recorded jazz the coffee shop played. Gotta like a man who dances in his chair. 

#136
Thursday,
April 28, 2022

Then he stood, stretched, and danced on the floor for a few moments. Not so sure about a man who dances in a coffee shop — hot stuff could get spilled — but it gave me a clear view of his table, where he had an open laptop, and (far more interesting) a bright red pamphlet that might have been a zine.

Also, though, he was wearing a scruffy, stained jacket and had another jacket more stained on the seat beside him, and three bags (two paper and one plastic) full of stuff at his feet. I was curious, but he was probably homeless or at least a complicated fellow, and my bus was due in ten minutes. Some other morning, maybe.

Then I pooped, and washed my hands with the coffee shop's lilac soap. Ick. Knew it would leave my hands smelling weirdly sweet all day, but that's a little bit better than smelling like poop.

At home my soap is unscented, and so's my detergent and dishsoap. I believe that things (including me) should smell like what they are, not like the chemically-induced reproduction of some other smell.

When I emerged from the john, the complicated fellow was gone, but when I walked to my bus stop, he was waiting for the same #50 bus as me. I checked the schedule, helpfully posted on the bus stop's post, and announced my finding: "Bus in six minutes."

"Good to know," said Complicated, and then we talked about buses, fares, and how amazing it is, with so many traffic jams in this city, that the buses run reasonably close to their scheduled times. Then he torched some pot in a pipe in the bus shelter, which would've been rebellious when I last lived here, but now it's just Seattle.

When the bus arrived, I sort of intentionally left my bag on the seat next to mine, signaling, no, we're not buddies. He understood, took a seat nearby. And we continued our conversation across the bus's aisle, but only intermittently over the next thirty blocks. When he got off, I said, "So long, dude," and he didn't reply.

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The sign in front of a church near my house:

"Please pray for Ukraine and for peace in Europe."

That's nice, I guess, but utterly meaningless, ain't it? I grow less patient with the falderol as I grow older, and since I'm damned old, that makes me damned impatient.

Do Christians believe that Russia will retreat from Ukraine if they pray hard enough? God allows the killing, the bombs, the suffering, death and destruction, but if Christians on Seattle's south side pray and encourage each other to pray, by golly, God will change his mind and there'll be peace on Earth?

It's a nicer sentiment, at least, than the sign in front of a different church, a mile away:

"Nothing but the blood of Christ." 

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Back in Seattle during a spring when the Mariners are doing well, I've found myself starting to give a damn about baseball again. Well, half a damn, maybe.

It's been a long time since I cared about millionaire athletes, and I'm still annoyed at all the stupidity in baseball's management. A lockout in the off-season, Designated Hitter everywhere, they're screwing with the minor leagues, etc, etc, and now they start extra innings with a runner on second base? Jeez, they don't do anything that rinky-dink even in Little League.

And yet… my brother took me to an M's game, and they lost, but it was fun. And the local team's management seems to be waking up — instead of pricing poor people and families out of the ball park, the team has lowered prices to some games, and for some concessions. Now it's possible to take the bus to a ball game ($2.75), buy a ticket ($10), and grab a hot dog and a beer ($3 each), and it adds up to less than twenty bucks, which isn't exactly cheap but wouldn't bankrupt me.

I'm still not spending that money, though. Why would I, when my brother is willing to take me to a game once in a while? But it's a substantial price cut from when I visited Seattle a few years ago, and prices don't usually go down.

Plus, here's a signal no less cosmic than "If you build it, they will come." On my cheap AM/FM radio, if I listen to the M's games on the AM station that carries the play by play, when they break for endless annoying commercials every half-inning, I can simply switch to FM and it instantly clicks over to KEXP, the non-commercial rock'n'roll station. After a few innings I'm mostly listening to KEXP, and switching to AM once in a while to check the score.

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On a route I didn't know, the bus turned down a street with a name not the same but sorta similar to a girl's last name, and — hello, weird memories. Jeez, I haven't even thought of Sharon DiMassi in years, maybe decades. She was damned close to completely forgotten, until the robotic voice on the bus announced something that sounded like her name

Sharon was 19 or 20, and pretty, funny, and often high. We worked together, never dated, but she was on the other half of a double-date a few times. She was white but going steady with a black guy, which was mildly scandalous in the early 1980s. What got the Whisper Richter rattling, though, was that when she and the black guy broke up, she dated another black guy.

Do what you want to do with whoever you want to do it, I said then and will say again now, but when my girlfriend said she "wanted some space" and we should date other people, I thought about asking Sharon out. It made me hesitate, though. I wasn't black (checking now, and I'm still not black) and the general consensus was that Sharon preferred her men tall, dark, and handsome, especially dark.

So Sharon and I never even held hands, which is fine with me. I have no idea where she is now, and very little interest. I don't remember squat about her except her name, that she was cute, a few double-dates, and a few of her wisecracks. I hope she's happy with her life, and found true love with the black man of her dreams. 

It makes me think, though, about how the waters flow across our lives. If I'd pursued Sharon, if she'd said yes, if we'd sparked, if, if, if — almost certainly it would *not have led to happily ever after. Some weeks or months or even years of our lives would've been different, though. It would've changed our wave patterns, our drifts across the waters of life.

When I look back, the clearest thing to see is that every moment, every choice leads to the next moment, the next choice. Change anything along the way, and everything might've been different.

For me, life turned out damned well. A much better woman than I deserved came along, and we had a happy marriage till death us do part. But the currents that carried us to each other seem so very fragile and fleeting and fateful in retrospect, that if anything had pulled either of us in a slightly different direction, we never would've met.

It makes me glad for every opportunity missed all along my life — Sharon DiMassi, and a million other people and places and things that went one way, not the other. Every moment, every choice was the river that took me to Stephanie, and I wouldn't change any of it.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

I still smell like lilacs, and still don't like it. The only time I want to smell flowers is when there are flowers. 

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From my internet history…  

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Santa Claus is running for Congress 

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The story of Scrotie, the dick-and-balls hockey mascot 

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Harvard sets up $100 million endowment fund for slavery reparations 

Harvard owned people until Massachusetts outlawed slavery in 1783, so this is a debt that's seriously past due. A hundred million bucks sounds like serious coin, but you gotta suspect it's a pittance from the university's legendarily huge endowment. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

MAGA dipshits have breached eight elections systems: Reuters 

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Biden issues his first round of clemency actions, and none of them are for former business associates or campaign workers 

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Conservative warns Trump coup attempt was "dry run" for 2024 

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Chase Bank in flames, and it's beautiful 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...
climate
copscopscopscopscops
RepublicansRepublicans
Trump

♦ ♦ ♦

The End
Klaus Schulze

4/28/2022 
 
Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
 
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
 
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...

13 comments:

  1. Jeez, Doug. Remember Dollar Wednesdays at Oakland Coliseum? Dollar tickets, dollar dogs, and dollar sodas? Those were a couple of fun games we went to. And it was after the A's fell off the steroid cliff, so there was no-fucking-body in the stands. Ten bucks all-in, including the BART fare.

    Are you saying that a BEER was three bucks? THAT, my friend, is crazy. I was generously taken to a Giants game about 9 years ago, and a fucking Bud was like 13 bucks.


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    1. Yup, and I don't think big league baseball will ever see bargains like that again. It's probably against one of the new stupid rules.

      The M's deal is $10 tickets for *selected* games (meaning, against the worst teams), but the seats aren't bad -- we were behind home plate, but on the third level. Then it's $3 dogs, $3 soda -- with refills! -- and $3 beer, but for all three you have to find the right (rare) concession stand. Not an awful deal, though, and I'll go again if my brother pays again.

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    2. That's almost like minor league pricing, for allegedly Major League games. Not bad.

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    3. And they're winning more than they're losing, at least so far. That's another big change since when I moved away.

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    4. The average Mariner non-Covid year attendance is about 25,000 per game, with an average ticket price of $38. If they sell a few third tier seats for less than that and and route you to low-class food stands away from the paying customers, it helps pad their attendance. Come on down to Cheney Stadium where you can hear the players cursing.

      jtb

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    5. I prefer minor league baseball, and often saw the minor league Rainiers at Sicks Stadium, after the Pilots left but before the Mariners came. Also saw some baseball at Cheney in Tacoma, but mostly I've gone north to see Everett's minor league team. Haven't yet figured out how to do that on public transit, and there's no way I'm driving that far, either north or south...

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    6. Doug, now that you're in Burien, there's a "back way" to Tacoma along the sound, with the last five or seven miles on Highway 509. It's lousy at rush hour, but actually quite placid until 3 or 3:30 in the afternoon. If you enjoy watching a little batting practice it's a nice way to spend the day.

      John

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    7. Looking at it on the map, 509 passes by Dash Point State Park, where I got a handjob once. Very scenic, as I recall. Sadly, you can't really get service like that on public transit.

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    8. Yes it does. Beautiful park. I was there with more than one wife and a couple of girlfriends. I mean on separate occasions. Never did nearly as well as you did. Although, for the amount of money it took to get out of those relationships my lawyer should have . . . well, maybe not.

      John

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    9. My memory's fuzzy. Maybe it was a do-it-yourself handjob. Pretty sure something nice happened with someone nice near Tacoma, at least once, though...

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  2. You can get to Cheney Stadium via transit service, but it's not going to be fast. It's a 53 minute ride to Chendy from Tacoma Dome Sounder Station. You can get to TDSS by rail or bus from Seattle, probably from Southcenter. It should be a quick ride on the freeway, but, of course, it depends on time of day.

    That 53 minutes will probably be reduced when the rest of South Sound Light Rail gets built in the next two or three years. Something over half of the tracks are laid.

    I should know a lot more about public transportation in honor of my Dad, but, in truth, he rarely used bus service. He had a beautiful, blue 1950 Harly 74 (big bike) that he rode in most non-snow conditions. When I turned 16, Dad helped me buy a Yamaha 80 (small bike) and I putted all over town on that.

    From 1950 to 1960, we lived with my maternal grandparents in a house my grandfather, a master brick mason, built with only a little help. The garage was under the living room, and when Dad kicked that Harley into service every morning at 7:00 (no electric start) the whole house shook. I can't describe what a comforting feeling that was.

    John

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    1. Fast is appreciated on transit, but it's not required, not really the point. Seeing some of my suburban family takes an hour and a half, coming and going, and I enjoy watching out the window as we go.

      Can't picture doing the ride to Cheney this summer. Maybe next year, when I'm more settled...

      > ...when Dad kicked that Harley into service every morning at 7:00 (no electric start) the whole house shook. I can't describe what a comforting feeling that was.

      I can hear the roar, and it sounds sweet. In my mind's ear, anyway. On the road, though, the noisy vehicles (like mine) make me batty.

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  3. Good thing there's no afterlife because otherwise Dad, a peaceful man, would kick my ass for misspelling Harley in the first reference.

    jtb

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