Cranky old fart on Monday

Another dang skateboarder, weaving between pedestrians on the sidewalk. His people-dodging wasn't dangerous and he seemed to be expert at it, but his speed and proximity probably pissed off everyone as he whizzed past. It sure annoyed me when he vroomed six inches from my knee.

He was my age, though, so thumbs up from this fat gray lump on the sidewalk to that skinny athletic gray shredding Adonis. It's cool seeing an old man act like an adolescent asswipe, rolling faster on the sidewalk than the traffic in the street.

He wasn't wearing a helmet, either, and hooray for that. Unless you're on a motorcycle or playing football, you're a wussy if you're wearing a helmet. Nobody wore a helmet skateboarding or bike-riding when I was a kid, and I still silently snicker when I see it.

When I see something that might be semi-interesting, I jot it into my notebook, or in the margin of a magazine. The notes are intended to shake a memory loose later at the typewriter, so the system works best before the memory fades — notes two or three weeks old are usually useless.

Here's a note in a magazine I read a month ago, and it only says "lady in black at bus stop," but it launches a memory in high-def in my head:

May 3, 2022

I was waiting for the #128 bus on a cloudy morning, sun barely up, dew on the grass, not much traffic yet. Looking down the street, I was hoping to see the bus turn a corner and come into view.

Instead what came into view was almost a ninja woman — a silhouette, because she was cloaked in black lycra pants, a skintight black jacket, and a full black ski-mask hiding her hair and everything except her eyes.

She trotted around the corner, toward me at the bus stop, all dark and footsteps, coming toward and then past me, leaving only the green of her eyes behind. Not a dark green, but the shade of evergreen leaves. No notes needed, to remember her eyes as she walked by and glanced at me.

After she'd passed, I turned and watched her jog down the street. The street was SW 116th, and I watched as she crossed the next street and the street after that, until she vanished around a corner three blocks away. Almost missed my bus, because I'd been looking in the wrong direction.

I remember everything about that woman in black a month ago, and in five years I'll still remember.

There's only one other random woman who's stayed with me that way. It was at least 25 years ago, and I was in Oakland, eating Twinkies and walking toward the Grand Lake Theater to see a movie.

She was on a bike, waiting at a stop light. She was blonde, overweight, and beautiful, wearing a mostly-blue mid-length dress that had yellow interlocking rectangles. You'd think a dress on a bike might be difficult, the fabric might get caught in the gears or something, but snags would be impossible for that lady. Also I'm sure her hair never tangled and her legs shaved themselves.

The light turned green, and the lady on the bike pedaled away. I'd only seen her for perhaps ten seconds, and I'm sure she hadn't seen me at all, but if I saw her today I'd know it was the same woman.

Something else to dislike about the boarding house where I live: The water pressure in the shower is so low, lowest in my life, that I don't think I'm getting clean. You need the water coming out with some ooomph to it, to rinse the suds out of your hair and off your skin, but the shower here has no ooomph.

On a cool day I start feeling sticky 5-6 hours after stepping out and drying off. On a warm day, it's maybe two hours before I need another shower. Feels like I haven't had a truly good shower since moving in.

And it's on purpose. Robert and Dean have mentioned it, and I believe them when they say the landlord keeps the water pressure down, to save money. Even at the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom, the cold water comes out full with exclamation points like you'd expect, but the hot water at the kitchen and bathroom sinks is a trickle.

I've complained about Dean, so I guess fairness requires me to mention that he finally took away his moldy spaghetti sauce, just a few hours after I took the giant open-air pot out of the fridge and put it on the counter.

He dumped it down the toilet, which it still slightly orange.

More of the news you need, whether or not you know you need it…

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Sarah Polley, who played the little girl in Terry Gilliam's Adventures of Baron Munchausen (which I saw a few days ago; review soon) remembers it as a hellish and dangerous experience.

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Biden to require electric vehicle charging stations every 50 miles on federal highways 

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Is the word 'marijuana' racist? (No.)

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...

♦ ♦ ♦

The End
Oris Buckner
Julee Cruise
Paul Vance

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 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, Wynn Bruce, and always Stephanie...


  1. The things we remember, man. Great story about the lady in red...

    It's spelled 'rinse' now, thanks.

    No doubt you're right about helmets when biking in traffic. I'm even more ignorant about that than about most things, because my dad wouldn't let the kids have bikes. Every time we asked, he'd pull out a newspaper clipping about some kid getting flattened or splattered on a bike.

    I didn't even learn how to ride a bike until I was 18. My dad taught me, though.

  2. Oh my, Doug, you drew an odd pair of straws for parents. My folks were a little short of dough in the early days, but they bought me a used bike and my little sister a used wagon. Dad rigged up a tow line, and they didn't have to stand and watch us because they trusted me to stay on the sidewalk while towing my sis. In my early teens when my paper route paid for a three-speed, a half dozen of us rode our bikes across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and back, a trip from my folks' house of seven or eight miles round trip. My parents didn't fret because they knew that my friends and I would comply to the riding safety standards mandated by my Dad.

    I'm not bragging about my folks. Like all kids, I was pretty stupid, but somehow I knew that I had lucked out in the parent department. I'm commiserating with you. I hate being fucked with, and I hate having my friends fucked with, and your Mom is fucking with you every time you're together. You're doing your best, training her like a common pooch from the Humane Society, but that does require patience. I wish you well, and remind you that when training a common pooch, you can never afford to lose your temper and have to repeat the instructions over and over, offering a small reward when the dogs do the right thing and ignoring them when they do the wrong.

    with affection,

    1. Visualizing Mom as a common pooch made me smile. She's taller and less hairy, but there are certain similarities.

      When I was a kid it felt like I was really missing out on something, not having a bike. We were free-range kids, like most kids then and like almost no kids now, free to come and go from the homestead without adult accompaniment, but my free-range was limited to walking distance. I always envied the kids who could bike 3-4 times as far as I could walk.

      Just *walking* across the Golden Gate Bridge and back was a thrill, and I remember every time I did it, and who I did it with, and a friend who only walked halfway across. I absolutely cannot imagine riding a bike over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. And when you were a kid! It must've been breathtaking/terrifying/exhilarating.

      One of the things I missed out on.

      Looking back, though, I dunno. Never had kids so I've never much thought about it, but my gut instinct would be that my dad was right. Six kids, pedaling all over the south side on bikes -- something would've gone wrong. Maybe just a broken leg. Maybe worse. Or maybe I'm nuts.

  3. The "No Bikes" thing is one of the more kooky things I've heard about your dad.

    1. Dad was always into safety, and did his research.

      He bought the equipment and drilled holes in the car to install seat belts, years before they were required, and using them was required of all drivers and passengers.

      He saw kids innertubing down a local river and thought it looked like fun, but before buying the innertubes he spent a day at the library, researching water velocity and the rapids and whether any kids had drowned in the river.

      His rule against bicycles were a frustration, but he had the evidence -- a collection of clippings about kids killed and mangled in traffic.


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