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The very slightest of slights

I woke up earlier than usual, and it was still early when I pushed the cart to Telegraph. Only two other vendors were set up on my designated block. One was a guy I don't particularly like, and across the street was Jasper, a guy I particularly dislike.

Sure, I could've claimed a space all by myself, and would've liked to, but a man's gotta pee sometimes, so vendors need neighbors. And what the hell, it's time Jasper knows I'm on the Ave to stay, so I parked my cart right beside his table and started unpacking.

"Oh, Doug," he said politely, "good morning, but — could you please set up a little further down the sidewalk? I'm saving this space for a buddy." 

Fuck off, I wanted to say, but what he'd asked was within the perimeters of routine vendor etiquette. Heck, Brenda saves a space for me some Saturdays. So I acquiesced, leaving fifteen feet of open sidewalk between me and Jasper the ass.

When his "buddy" showed up a little later, it was Bo, one of the few vendors I actually like, so that worked out well. I got to work beside a semi-friend, but also I got to wondering why a decent guy like Bo would be friends with Jasper.

It's childish and ridiculous, but it kinda hurt my feelings. Not counting cops, Jasper is the A#1 Jackass of Telegraph Ave, but he's pals with someone I'm pals with?

Mid-afternoon, Umberto stopped by and said hello. He's another vendor I like, and we talked for a minute. Then he said hello to fuckin' Jasper, and they talked cordially for several minutes. And that bugged me too.

These are of course the very slightest of slights, but people I like should hate the people I hate, shouldn't they?

Ah, grumble grumble, mumble mumble. Not even 40, I'm too young to be a curmudgeon, but it's my destiny and I'm working on it.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Jacque came 'round, handing out cigars. His wife had the baby. Congratulations, it's a boy, or a girl. I don't remember, and I don't smoke so I declined the cigar. Shook his hand, though, and of course Jacque invited me to their house again.

"Soon," I said, and smiled and meant it, but now it's six hours later and I'm telling you about it here at my typewriter, and really in no hurry for that "soon" to happen.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Because I'd gotten up early, I fell asleep early, until a little after midnight, when a fierce pounding came from the exposed pipe leading to the radiator in my room. Klunk, bang bang, etc, on and on, as if someone somewhere in the building was pounding the pipe for the hell of it.

The hell of it continued, so I put on pants and followed the banging, down the stairs, down a hallway on the floor below me, looking for the source, and of course, that's when the noise stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The pipes were quiet for the rest of the night.

When I came back upstairs and toward my room, I met my neighbor from across the hall, room 404. White guy, about my age, needing a shave and holding a beer and obviously fresh woke up against his will, just like me.

It was 12:30 in the morning and neither of us much wanted to talk, but we had the annoyance of the noise in common, so we talked about that for a minute. Didn't catch the guy's name, but he seemed like a typical schmuck, and I'm sure I did, too.

From Pathetic Life #23
Friday, April 26, 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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