Out of the fog

Free Radio Berkeley was left behind when I moved back to the city. Their signal is far too weak to reach San Francisco, so I twisted the dial this morning, trying to pull in either of the two SF pirates I should be able to receive.

Couldn't get either at all, and there's nothing on commercial radio worth hearing, and NPR is a 24/7 festival of tweed and totebags, so the radio got clicked off.

Maybe it's just the clouds, or bad timing. One of the stations is right here in the Mission.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Then came another exciting day of emptying the trash, mopping the floors, answering the phones, and assembling mail orders at Black Sheets.

After work, I took the bus to my maildrop, and being MUNI there were no empty seats. Most of San Francisco takes transit to wherever they're going, and there are never enough buses, so I stood, hanging on to one of the hang-on pipes from the ceiling of the bus.

Ten or twelve other people were standing, and one of them was a grumpy old guy who loudly scolded the driver. "It's too crowded for you to be braking so hard and driving so fast," he shouted.

"You're missing the point," I said to the grump. "Braking and swerving is what the driver's supposed to do. He gets bonus points when he knocks one of us over."

The driver was definitely giving us a wild ride, and there's no way that he didn't hear us, but he said nothing in his defense.

The old man chuckled at my dumbass joke, and then started talking about the 49ers, but screw the 49ers. I wanted to turn around so he'd be talking to my butt, but someone wearing a backpack blocked me from an easy twist. Instead I let my mouth droop open and drooled a little on my shirt, and grumpy guy shut up.

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It's a few blocks extra walk from the maildrop, but on the way back I took BART instead of MUNI. There's a much better chance of sitting down, and the seats are more comfortable than on the bus.

On the platform, I spotted Louie, a co-worker from the office at Macy's long ago. What's worse, he spotted me, so I couldn't turn around and walk away. We said hello and made meaningless yak-yak for a minute or two, and every second of it felt awkward.

I was headed south to the Mission, but when a northbound train pulled in, I said, "Well, great seeing you, Louie, and take care," and stepped onto a train headed for North Concord. Then I switched back to southbound at the next station.

Louie, though, was one of the rare people I liked at that job, so I should've enjoyed a few minutes catching up with what he's been doing since whenever. Even a cup of coffee might've been nice — if I'd known.

Being yanked out of my internal fog, unexpectedly, and all of the sudden I gotta be sociable with someone I haven't seen in a couple of years? Hell, no. Some people can do that, but not me. I'd take a train to anywhere to escape.

From Pathetic Life #23
Monday, April 8, 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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