Inspected and alone

It was overcast in downtown Berkeley, and no vendors were set up on the side of the street where I'm supposed to sell.

Being a loner and introvert, I'd probably prefer to have no vendors near me, but it's a practical mater — if no other vendors are within shoulder-tapping distance, you can't ask someone to watch your table while you slip away and pee. Peeing is a necessity now and again, so I set up my fish stand across the street from my assigned spot, where a few other vendors were already doing business.

This, however, was a violation of the law.

The clouds threatened rain, so the other vendors had wisely perched their tables under the awning in front of a series of shop windows.

Of course, we're supposed to sell from the street side of the sidewalk, not the shop side, so this was another violation of the law.

The inspector isn't often seen, but of course this afternoon he came by, of course. He didn't threaten us with tickets, though, and didn't order us to shut down. He merely recited the rules, in the nauseating voice of a grade-school teacher who's caught a kid chewing gum, and warned us to never do it again.

The inspector's job is to make sure I can't go to the bathroom all day, and to see to it that we're drenched if it rains. His demeanor implied that we should've been grateful for his magnanimity, and the other vendors were full of "Sorry" and "Thanks," but I didn't say anything.

Since switching two months ago from licensed status to a "free-speech table," today was only the second time the inspector has spoken to me, but it pissed me off.

I hate that fucker — hate his attitude, hate his face, and especially I hate his job, because I hate being inspected. Tell me, what does it matter, which side of the street and which side of the sidewalk my table is on?

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Umberto and Bo and a few of the other vendors went to visit Gerry this afternoon. He's another vendor, spending a month in jail because he'd received too many tickets for vending without a vendor's license. Umberto invited me along, and walking through the jail's metal detector, being frisked and then watched by guards, is something I might do for a friend.

Gerry ain't quite a friend, though. He's just another vendor I sorta know, so I didn't go. Besides, Jasper went with the visiting bunch, and he's a jerk.

At home, Judith asked me to go to Matilda's burial at Mountain View Cemetery. It would be, she said, a clandestine affair sometime after sunset, digging a hole for the rat and covering it up without being caught. Joe and Jack and Cy were going, she said, so if I came everyone from the house would be present for a rat's last rites, showing our support for Joe. 

I considered it. I don't hate Joe, and if nothing else, the burial might make an funny story to tell. But, nah.

All day I'd been around people, and I'd been looking forward to closing my bedroom door. No intrusions on my solitude, please. I'm alone in life, by choice, so I closed the door, wrote about my day, and went to sleep.

From Pathetic Life #21
Friday, February 2, 1996 

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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