Walking the new neighborhood

It feels different BARTing to Berkeley to sell fish, instead of just rolling out of bed and walking to Telegraph. Different, not better.

And for the first time today, I worked next to Jasper. It wouldn't have been my 101st choice, but the only other openings were all in illegal spaces, and word on the street was that there'd be enforcement this weekend.

So Jasper was my next-booth neighbor and potty-break watchmate, and we were fairly friendly all day. We even spoke a few civil sentences. I still hate him, though, like Picard hates the Borg.

When the day was done, and I BARTed back to the Mission. I'm not wild about the long commute and the BART fare.

♦ ♦ ♦   

It's my tradition, when I'm new in a neighborhood, to give the area a long, lazy walk. So tonight, once I'd climbed up the stairs and dropped my stuff at the hotel, I came back down the stairs and toured my corner of the Mission.

There are needles now and then along the curb, because junkies are litterbugs, but it's not a wasteland here. There are doughnut shops and cafes, several bodegas, a coffee shop that looks OK, and the corner bookstore has a cat that sleeps around Shakespeare, same as I do. No boarded-up storefronts. Lots of Hispanics, pierced people, and youth maybe up to no good but not in a bad way.

There are also a few yuppie-type stores, so the threat of gentrification looms and maybe this neighborhood will be gone in ten years. I'm fat, though, and never exercise, so I'll probably be gone by then, too. For those thinking of dying in San Francisco, there's a funeral parlor conveniently located on the next block.

Also near enough to visit, was the block where I'd lived with Pike and Terry. I walked the street, but didn't buzz the bell, because they don't live there any more. There are nice-looking curtains and potted plants in what used to be our front window, and neither Pike nor Terry were ever potted plant people.

My two maybe favorite places in the city, the Roxie theater and the Sincere Cafe, are close enough I'll be a regular again.

Starting tonight, I guess — it wasn't on the agenda, but walking close enough to see the cafe's neon sign, I had to eat dinner there. Feels like a year since my last visit, but the restaurant's only waiter, Ken, recognized me, and asked if I wanted the Number 1.

That was always my usual order, and of course that's what I wanted. It was great, still lots of food for not much money, a combination I like. Ken talked about baseball but not so much as to be a bother, and I tipped him well. The meal felt more like home, honestly, than the hotel does yet.

♦ ♦ ♦  

It's getting there, though. When I walked into my room after dinner at the Sincere, a good-sized roach scurried under the bed. I thought about giving chase and splatter, but it would've meant lifting the mattress and frame, and I was too tired, so that one got away. 

When I went for a drink of water, two large roaches were in the sink, and I squirted them with Lysol, the only thing toxic nearby, then watched them die. 

I'm serving them a buffet, I suppose, with sandwich bits that fall between the sheets or onto the floor when I'm eating, leaving butter on the plastic knife in the wash basin, or dropping empty but unlidded yogurt containers in the trash.

If I was a neater guy — fewer crumbs, wash the dishes pronto, careful with trash, etc — I'd probably have fewer roaches, but I'm not, so soon there'll be more roaches, and more and more...

From Pathetic Life #23
Saturday, April 6, 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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