Graffiti and a ghost

leftovers & links
Thursday, June 1, 2023

My bus from the island to downtown originates in Bellevue, a very rich and swanky suburb with notoriously brutal cops that don't have much patience for bums, so it's rare to have a bum on the bus for that ride.

We had one a few days ago, though. He was drunk or stoned or comatose, asleep and sprawled across two of the three sideways seats up front, with his head between his knees. As the bus gently rocked on its way across the water, he tilted further and further toward the floor, and then toppled.

Then he picked himself up, sat down again, bent over, and fell asleep again, inching toward toppling, and then, yup, he toppled again. By the time I'd gotten off the bus, he'd fallen on the floor four times.

Everyone in the front half of the bus was watching this, and yet, I was the only person who laughed. Bunch of up-tight fools, if you ask me. Sure, it's a sad sight and there ought to be someone looking out for people like that — insert all the platitudes of righteousness. But also, it was damned funny.

The rest of my stories today take place at the downtown bus stop, where I stand and wait for the bus home in the afternoons.

It's a corner where the whole city comes together — commuters mingle with bums, and winos barely able to stand bump into baseball fans on their way to a game. There are three homeless shelters within a block, at the absolute apex of Seattle Skid Row.

I love it there.

At the stop, there's a big map of the transit system under glass, and the glass is unbreakable but not ungraffitiable. Some lovely lettering has been hand-added.

To the west on the map, dotted lines cross Puget Sound, showing where ferries connect the city to some expensive island communities. "Asshole Land" is the text that's been added. This seems accurate.

To the east of the city lies Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and Mercer Island, all habitat for the wealthy. On the map, the added text over the eastside reads, "More assholes." Accurate again.

After those observations, the commentary gets more confessional: "Kill them all. Who cares. Wish they would let me kill more. Had to stop but US Army it was fun."

Most graffiti around that part of town is effectively permanent, but the commentary over the map was gone after the weekend.

Down the street, there used to be Main Street Gyros. It was a few bucks too pricey, but I enjoyed my dinner-to-go each of the three times I ordered. Alas, there won't be a fourth.

A few weeks ago I noticed that the flashing neon "Open" sign no longer flashed. Curious, I walked to the door, but it was locked.

Guess i shouldn't have been surprised. It was perfect take-home food, but there were never more than a couple of other customers in the place, at least not in the late afternoons.

A week later I looked again, and the window had been graffitied. Inside, much of the kitchen equipment lay in ruins across what had been the seating area. The front awning has been vandalized, and it's starting to tilt.

Main Street Gyros was there, in that dumpy building on that scummy corner, for as long as I can remember — from my childhood, and probably long before. It's the kind of place where a hundred years ago, Sam Spade might've eaten quickly and hurried along.

Now it's gone. No more gyros, and certainly no hurry.

As I was waiting for my bus down the street today, a chubby bald man unlocked the dumpster, and emptied a trash can into it. He was wearing an apron, as if he worked at a restaurant, and when he'd re-locked the dumpster, he disappeared into the building that used to be Main Street Gyros.

It was like seeing a ghost. For a third time I walked to the shuttered restaurant and looked through the windows, but no-one was inside, not that I could see. It was the same chaos inside as a week earlier, only dustier. Nothing moved, not even a ghost.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

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Mystery links
There's no knowing where you're going


My browser history
without the porn

Stonewall: "Nothing was going to change if they continued their passive, non-threatening tactics" 

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She holds the torch for Columbia Pictures

♫♬  It don't mean a thing  ♫
if it don't have that swing

Time — Alan Parsons Project 

Time After Time — Cyndi Lauper 

The Time of Your Life — Green Day 

Time Passages — Al Stewart 

Time Warp — Rocky Horror Picture Show 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Shermane Billingsley 

Sergio Calderón 

Alice Coleman 

Dickie Harrell 

James de Jongh 

Gary Kent 

Milt Larsen 

Becky Rothman 

Ken Westbury 


Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.  

Tip 'o the hat to ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, CaptCreate's Log, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, One Finger Medical, Two Finger Magical, Miss Miriam's Mirror, Nebulously Burnished, RanPrieur.com, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration. 

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo, John the Basket, Dave S, Name Withheld, and always extra special thanks to my lovely late Stephanie, who gave me 21 years and proved that the world isn't always shitty.

1 comment:

  1. >• Los Angeles approves $278,000 robot police dog despite "grave concerns"

    Jesus F. Christ, didn't anyone see that documentary, RoboCop? I remember ED-209...


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