Lunch with Danny, dinner with Josh

Several hours with a good friend yesterday, ending with a vague promise to get together again in the spring, has made this morning more obviously what it is — another day alone.

That's depressing. I'm midway through a life alone, or more than midway, if my health doesn't hold out. I'll never be blue enough to take the bus back to the bridge, but I ain't chipper this morning.

If we move to New York City together, as Sarah-Katherine has proposed, we'll probably find a place and find jobs and fall into a comfortable groove. We'll say good morning a few times a week when we bump into each other in the kitchen. We'll go to a movie now and then, or to the library. Maybe we'll shop together via the subway, and we'll yell at each other over whose turn it is to mop the bathroom floor. It'll be utterly domestic, until of course we go to our separate beds in separate rooms. 

And I'll be as lonely there as I've been everywhere else, or maybe more so, since I'll have left behind the few people who know me here in the bay area. And you know what else? My expectations for our life together in New York might be too optimistic.

Several readers of the zine have asked why I'd even consider moving to New York, and the answer, the hope, is that when we're done arguing about mopping duties, there might occasionally be a touch.

And what's 'occasionally'? It might be twice a week, twice a month, twice a year, or it might be never. There's no promise, and by far it's the best offer I've ever had.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

The balls of my feet were flattened from miles of walking yesterday. I'm a fool. I knew we'd be walking a lot, but I'd forgotten that I plucked the rotten rubber padding out of my right Reebok a few weeks ago, so there wasn't much between my foot and all those footsteps. The view and the company overpowered everything else, though, so there was no pain to speak of until this morning… and now I have to walk a mile to work. Ouch.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

"Blasphemy makes the perfect Christmas present!" was my ongoing sales pitch today, selling fish on the Ave, and shouting my clever line as passers-by. Some of them didn't like it, but they kept walking. Others, the line got their attention, and a lot of fish were sold. 

This is my fist job where saying "Bah humbug" seems to be good for business. Selling anti-religious stickers and magnets, being grumpy adds to the appeal (I've decided), so I'm trying to sour the season's spirit for everyone.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

I shared my lunch with Danny, one of the many homeless people I'm getting to know, working on the streets where they live. He's not getting to know me, though. Every time we run into each other he's surprised when some stranger — me — calls him by name.

It might be too many drugs over the years, but he doesn't have the druggie vibe. I think it's a medical issue. Is amnesia a real thing?

He's skinny and I'm fat, so I gave him one of my peanut butter sandwiches. As I ate the other two, we talked about life and love and sacrilegious fish, and his grand economic scheme. Then, showing more manners than most people, he thanked me and walked away instead of sticking around and becoming a pest.

The last thing I said as he left was, "Don't you forget about me," but he will.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Terrific winds started kicking up in the mid-afternoon, and I watched in delight as a twenty-foot umbrella, covering four tables at the Cafe Mediterranean, was lifted into the air and slammed into the back of a particularly annoying street kid. It knocked him on his ass, and I loved it.

Then came the rains, so I closed the stand an hour early and hurried away. Instead of a long walk on my weary legs through the wetness in holy shoes, Josh chanced by, and after a few minutes of conversation in the precip, he invited me to dinner.

We hefted the fish cart into the back of his van, and went to the Emerald Garden for an excellent Chinese dinner. I had veggies and rice — delicious and affordable, since Josh was buying. If I was a good reporter or writing an honest review, I'd tell you what Josh had too, but I didn't notice. They served some of the finest tea I've ever tasted, just what I needed to warm my innards after the chill of the storm.

Then we went to the Grand Lake, a beautiful old movie palace. Sadly, it's been plexed, but the main auditorium is mostly intact, and quite impressive, until your eyes follow the arching ceiling to what was once the balcony but now is screen two. What's left of the original architecture is stunning, and at least in the main auditorium, it sure beats seeing a flick at the mall, or on your VCR.

The movie, Casino, is an iffy bet. Martin Scorsese's latest gangster epic, it's set in Las Vegas, home of big criminals with big money and big tempers, and it's a big movie. It works as spectacle, and as comedy, with some surprisingly funny dialogue and violence. Great supporting cast, from Dick Smothers to Joe Bob Briggs, who's a hoot as a brainless redneck.

But it's mostly a drama, and I didn't care much about the main characters — Robert De Niro , Joe Pesci, James Woods, Sharon Stone. They're all larger than life but dumber than autumn leaves. The film is as big as the theater, three hours long, with a twist at the end that makes everything that came before feel false.

There's next to no musical score; instead it's wall-to-wall pop tunes as the backdrop for every scene, which is a distraction. You're thinking more about memories brought back by the songs, than about the story. Lots of directorial showmanship too, cute camera tricks to constantly remind you that you're watching the work of A Major MovieMaker. 

Had fun hanging with Josh, though, and the rain never let up, so I sure appreciated the dry ride home by way of dinner and a show and Jay's house to lock up the fish cart. Josh liked the movie more than I did, and at my place, we sat in the van and Siskel and Eberted for a long time.

From Pathetic Life #19
Sunday, Dec. 10, 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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