An Unexpect Reappearance or Yeah, That Happiness Couldn’t Last Could It?

It had been at least 6 months, but the idiotic lady put another note on my car letting me know I may get towed because I blocked a wall that was a loading dock in some previous life.  It’s the same note she puts there all the time, but today I have new questions to ponder.  Why has she just now decided to tag my car with her ridiculous note?  Was I taking the spot she so desperately needed for her dog groomer?  I wasn’t the only one blocking the walls of her office, so were the others some sort of Oakland unicorn? Or perhaps they were her coworkers, given special dispensation to park in front of the imaginary loading dock.  We’ve already decided she’s a bit off her rocker.

I think my next move is to sell her character to TV as the next sitcom villain, a la The Soup Nazi.  I’m starting to think she’s make a great long running foil for Jeff Garlin on “The Goldbergs”.  Of course first we’ll need to address the subtle anti-Semitism on that show. I wonder if half of the country even realizes they are Jewish.  There are no cultural religious references past the traditional names Adam, Barry and Murray.  Did you miss that there was not Christmas episode? Instead there was a hilarious Thanksgiving episode, with no religious overtones, no dreidels and no latkes.

Let’s suppose the Goldbergs are highly assimilated.  That’s not a crime.  My paternal grandparents were.  But there home and their lives were not devoid of Jewish culture.  It is who we are and what we know.  No one is going to accuse me of being overly religious or unassimilated.  Yet if you look, there are religious symbols in the home, a beautiful Mezuzah on the door, a few special pieces of art here and there.  Some things should never be forgotten.  I hope that Adam’s family remember that this season.  I do seriously want Big Tasty to some sort of hardcore rap espousing the virtues of the latke.  Badly.

Murray and Pops from the Goldbergs would have a conniption with my nemesis, the parking Nazi.

<breaking the 4th wall> By the way, feel free to suggest a new name for this bitch.  She needs a more appropriate name for the next note I put in their mail box. </rebuilding the 4th wall>

Much like myself, the senior Goldbergs would ponder what type of company could this crazy parking lady work for?  Why would they let her run hundreds of copies of ridiculous notes off their copier?  Why would they allow her to antagonize the neighbors and local color?  You know that downtown Oakland, much like Philadelphia, has more than its share of nut jobs.  Why would you risk antagonizing them?  Is parking rage about to become the crisis of 2015?  I can see that.

Let’s look at her erratic behavior from a different angle.  Perhaps she pays for the copies out of her own pocket, either making the copies at some local copy shop or on her home printer. As you recall the note is written in 40pt font with a marker.  If you owned that company and you saw your employee doing that, wouldn’t you wonder what else she was doing?  More importantly, I might question what she WAS NOT doing by focusing on parked cars.  Which leads me to my most disturbing realization.

She either owns the company or holds a position of ridiculously imbalanced importance.  Oh fuck.  Imagine the poor souls whose employment depends on her making sound business decisions.  I’m still waiting for her to have my car towed.  I will own that fucking company.  Meanwhile, I guess I will work up a character treatment and see if I can get a meeting in Hollywood.

I’ve seen Episodes.  How hard can it be?


Interlude 47

It was 7:30 AM on a Tuesday; the setting, a commuter train in the suburbs.

The doors opened on the empty train and the passengers, eager for their own private seat, file in orderly and quickly.  Two lines of approximately 12 people filed into the car with 88 seats.  The doors closed on the quarter filled train.  Silence filled the train and I started reading my newest book, VMware  vSphere Design (2nd Edition!)  I could barely contain my excitement at the mysteries I would soon be exposed to.  This is nothing like The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

Then the doors opened on the train again and another throng of people flowed into what I perceived as my space.  There were plenty of seats so I did not fear anyone sitting next to me.  I have broad shoulders and menacing look.  With so many open seats, my personal space was flexing outward, keeping the unwashed masses at bay.  I’m no small, delicate flower.  But I leave room for one to sit next to me.  I really want to keep my personal space a no fly zone.  I hate when it gets invaded.

A large, yet young, man waddles down the aisle.  Telepathically I persuade him to continue past me.  This is not the seat you are looking for.  There are better seats two rows further along.  My telepathy and menace has failed and he takes the seat next to me.  While I am fully on my half of the seat, surely a solid 3/8” away from the median, his wide bottom takes up his side, my 3/8” and then some.

The main thing going through my mind, beyond his buttocks pushing indelicately into mine, is “Jimmy Olson’s Blues.”  Surely you remember the first hit single by the Spin Doctors?  “I’ve got a pocket full of kryptonite.”  It seems appropriate.   This man-child has a bag full of French fries.  The smell is both delicious and overpowering.  I realize I need to endure this smell for the next 32 minutes on my ride to work.

Who the fuck has a bag of hot French fries on the morning train?  Not only that, these fries are from Jack.  Let’s be honest:  between the train station and Jack in the Box is 2-3 miles of roads filled with McDonald’s and BKs.  So why are these fries still hot and smelling like dinner?  The only upside is that he is not wearing an overdose of Hai Karate!

I stop thinking about kryptonite and ponder the meaning of ketchup packets.  Do you think Don Draper would have come up with ketchup packets if SCDP had the opportunity for the ketchup account?  Motherfucker, I wanted his French fries.

It took all my resolve to become a criminal that morning.  Just another day in the big city.  Where is that wayward shaker of salt?

We can make it better
We can make it happen
We can save the children
We can make it happen

(Dialogue Part 2, Chicago, Robert Lamm 1972)

Clearly not if people keep bringing French Fries on the train to work.  I predict a riot.





What was empty is no longer

Space – it’s not the final frontier.  It is, however, all around us and we treat it preciously.  Mostly.

This morning Rachel said something to the effect of, “I’m going to look in my closet.”  Her closet?!?  That’s shared space, Lambchop.  You bet I called her on it and she wisely gave me my space back. Why did I react to her claiming all of it?  It’s not like my clothes were going to suddenly fly out of the closet into a heap on the bedroom floor.   (Of course, there is a heap by the dresser,  but that’s another story.)  I guess subconsciously I was afraid she was marking territory and I was about to  lose some.  Talk about irrational.  Or maybe I just wanted to  tease her.  I’m sure there was an element of that, but that was not 100% of what was going on.  Nevertheless it was partially my space and I wasn’t giving it up.  The closet was the first step in some sort of invasion, I couldn’t let that stand.  You are right, I’m nuts..

Rather than claiming your space, sometimes people just invade  it.  Not in a blitzkrieg, scorched earth sort of way, more like the insidious way that Jumping Asian Carp are taking over rivers  or that the few  horsetails  I’ve planted think they own my garden.  (In retrospect, I planted way too many horsetails.  Thank god they don’t create pod people.)   Walking down Broadway the other day a young couple caught my eye.  Seriously young, 13? 14? 15?  definitely below the driving age.  This cute young girl had moved well into her male friend’s circle of private space.  She didn’t look at him so much as she beamed.  It was almost hero-worship.  Lois Lane to  his oblivious Superman. Her body language screamed “kiss me!”  His was non-committal.  Nevertheless she was in his space and I noticed.  I’m not sure he did.  We can only guess what happened.  My thought ran toward social cues I must have missed at that age.  Why is it always about me?

Yesterday I hung out with a dog that really didn’t mark its space.  And here I thought they all did, instinctively.  The universe decided to make up for that and send me a person who did.  When I got on the BART train today, each row had a person in it.  Knowing myself to be of  large frame (or fat, as some might say), I chose to sit next to the little Philippino waif in the 2nd row.  She didn’t have her make up case out with 17 items ready to be applied in a time-tested order, wasn’t reading a wide-spread newspaper trying to see what was on sale at Michael’s or Fry’s and didn’t have her breakfast spread out in an effort to create an urban breakfast picnic.  All the signs pointed to the conclusion that we could coexist on a seat without bumping each other endlessly, leading to ride in comfort.  As I started to sit down, she shifted and defended her space; she turned slightly sideways and moved her knees up to and slightly passed the Mason-Dixon line of the seat.  This confederate was taking 1″ of my space before I could take any of  hers.  Seriously?  This gal was maybe 5’2″ and 100lbs soaking wet.  Of course, not wanting the south to secede and fire on Fort Sumter, I sat down right next to the arm rest.  Comfort denied in part, all in the name of transportation peace.  I am nothing if not a space pacifist.  Mostly.

So here Monday 5/7/2012, I’ve carved out a space.  But it’s not soley mine.  I encourage you to share it with me.  Mostly I’ll bang out  some words.  I’m not writer like some of my friends.  Its more stream of consciousness for me.  occasionally, I’ll wordsmith something and you’ll see, hopefully, something you’ll enjoy reading.  For the most part, though, I’m just going to pretend this a creative outlet.  Perhaps, maybe, it already is.