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Adios, ABIQUIU

On my way to this morning's gig, the #27 bus rolled past ABIQUIU, a restaurant as pretentious as its all-caps name, and the door is padlocked and a sign says "For lease." It's out of business, and I smiled.

ABIQUIU was at the corner of Ellis & Magnon, near my room when I lived downtown, and I'd often walked past and glanced in the window, or tried to. It was so dark inside, you couldn't tell if they were open or closed. Even during the dinner rush you'd have thought the power had failed, if not for the lone low-watt light bulb shining over the dessert tray.

My condolences to the staff, now unemployed, but you could see from outside that ABIQUIU was no place to eat. The menu, posted beside the door, boasted preposterous prices, and in even dollar amounts. That's a warning sign, right there: Affordable restaurants have prices listed to the nickel ($4.55), overpriced places just make it $5, or $10.

And ABIQUIU's prices were listed without dollar signs — not $25, just 25. That's another very strong indication of snootiness.

And here's a third warning sign: Never eat at a place you can't pronounce, like ABIQUIU.

And what did people get for 25? Next to nothing, it seemed to me as I peered into the darkness through the honest-to-gosh fern-shrouded windows. The portions were ridiculously tiny — a plate with three asparagus sprouts laid out real purdy, and a dollop of sauce, is not a meal.

Now, San Franciscans who want to pay 25 to squint in darkness at a miniature plate of veggies with schmancy sauce will have to go to one of the city's ten-thousand other snooty overpriced restaurants.

Here's hoping a fair-priced sandwich shop moves into the empty ABIQUIU space.

♦ ♦ ♦

The gig I was on my way to? Helping a couple of frumpy ladies run a sidewalk/yard/garage sale, and what a disaster that was. They spent half the time alternately telling me where to pile stuff on their tables, on the sidewalk, on the itsy-bitsy lawn, then telling me it didn't look its best there, so move it over here instead. And the heavier anything was, the more times it had to be re-schlepped.

As the day wore on, very little was selling, because prices weren't marked, and when anyone asked what something cost, the ladies would quote a very large number. "I'll let you have it for $75," said one of the ladies, about a flimsy old oak cabinet with scratches and a missing pane of glass. It would've been overpriced at twenty bucks.

They didn't understand that a garage sale is supposed to be cheap. Or maybe they didn't really want to sell their tons of junk, just wanted to spend the day looking at their memories and talking about 'em. Well, at $5 an hour for the hired help, they can look at their junk all day long.

Come sunset, they had me hauling everything that didn't sell, which was almost everything, back into the garage. And again, the ladies told me where each piece should go, then argued with each other or changed their minds. For nine hours of carry and drag, I got $45 — and no tip, despite never once all day saying "fuck you."

♦ ♦ ♦

Tomorrow I'll be a fishmonger in Berkeley, which sure sounds like more fun than I had today.

♦ ♦ ♦

Back home at the apartment, Pike and Terry were in primo argument mode, almost literally screaming at each other when I walked in, went straight to my room and wordlessly closed the door. In any other neighborhood someone would've called the cops, but in our broken bottle slum, screams are the ordinary soundtrack.

Brightening my spirits, I got another letter from Sarah-Katherine, which I won't share here but will smile about. Have I mentioned? I kinda like her, and she seems to kinda like me too, which always helps.

It's all very 7th grade, I suppose, and chances are it's going nowhere, but who cares? Even though she's way far away in Seattle, even though she's not crazy enough to be crazy about me, even if I ought to know better than to get crazy about her, even if daydreams of her are impossible fantasies, her letters are just friendly chit-chat, and she never whispers the sweet nothings I'd like to hear into my mailbox, it's nice just knowing that someone kind and clever and smart with a pretty smile and well-rounded boobs cares enough to lick a stamp and send a letter. For that, thank you, Sarah-Katherine.

From Pathetic Life #13
Saturday, June 3, 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.

4 comments:

  1. I have not read this entry yet, but :

    1. Welcome back P.L.

    2. I remember this entry well, because of the stupid name of the restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mostly I remember the ferns.

      It wasn't my original intent, just laziness cuz the PL's were packed, and then in a box in a corner and hard to get to, but now the dates are almost aligned so I'm gonna try to post them day-by-day from 1995.

      Delete
  2. Nice to see Terry and Pike back in action!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw them in action several times. One of the side effects of sharing a flat with kooks. Couldn't stand her, though, so it wasn't even sexy, just gross.

      Delete

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