So when I hurried to do laundry this morning, I should have known better and just ‘got there when I got there.’ The lady at the Candy Store was chatty, and it took her an eternity to count out my nine dollars’ worth of quarters. When I was fifty feet from the MAX and it left without me?
I sat next to either a sketchy stripper or a hot homeless gal, I couldn’t tell which. She was doing her makeup from a large duffel bag while we waited. Seventeen minutes later, I was on the MAX, two stops away from the laundromat and my next two hours of amusement. Oh joy!
I shared the laundromat with a skinhead and his also-stripperlike girlfriend. They didn’t seem to be doing laundry. They sat there, eating a jumbo box of butterhorns and played with their phones. Stepping outside only to smoke, they appeared to have no legitimate reason for being there. None of my business…
I put an extra quarter in each dryer, figuring six minutes would be mold insurance. (“We must NOT smell like must!”) I played on Twitter, texted a couple buddies. Mostly I enjoyed the uninterrupted solitude. The Neo-Nazis were being vewwy-vewwy quiet. Bless you, smartphone inventor! I folded at a leisurely pace, and, since no one was inside, I changed clothes. Clean jeans, favorite black pocket tee. I added a clean hoodie for insulation, and got back to overthinking the folding of the wardrobe.
As I stepped out of the laundromat, I saw the Green Line pull away. Great, now I had seventeen minutes to walk three blocks. I stepped to it. I have learned that all that dickin’ around can get you distracted to where you miss the next departing bus. I occupied a bench, and almost nodded off. Another seventeen-minute interlude, accompanied by the dulcet tones of Paul McCartney and Wings. We gonna get hi hi hi…
After an eternal wait, the train came. I dragged my black-bag-disguised granny cart of clothes into the handicapped section. Opting to stand for the two stops, I scanned the train car. I was still sleepy from dozing at the bus bench. I smiled at the pretty young lady walking my way. She seemed persistent in making eye contact. She kinda looked like, no way…
It was Angel.
“HI!” She nuzzled up next to me, and kissed my cheek. I reciprocated, suddenly feeling like a genius for changing into clean clothes at the laundromat.
She looked darling as ever. I hadn’t recognized her when I’d scanned the MAX car, but as soon as I saw her twinkly smile I was warm and fuzzy as ever. My train stop came way too soon. I told her, “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Now I’m gonna go home and think about you some more…” I gave a love-pat to her squeezably-soft backside.
If I’d caught that first train I’d have not seen her. So I offer a hat-tip to the gods of random, who managed to reward my patience with a hug and a squeeze from someone I’d been missing terribly. I had a spring in my step, and suddenly I wasn’t sleepy anymore.
Blessed by an angel with butterfly wings.
I remind myself each day how blessed I am. As the years tick off and the end approaches, I wonder if this is the last stop? Will I come back somewhere else in time, hopefully the future? I kinda doubt it; this sorta feels like a one-shot deal. But I dare to dream.
A lot has happened in the span of my lifetime. When I was a kid, if you had a phone it was attached to the kitchen wall, and everyone in the neighborhood knew your business. (It was called a party-line, and you had to wait your turn.) You could also listen in. Our neighbors were boring, but I pretended to be Gene Hackman tapping wires and spying on ne’er-do-wells. I’d record their conversations because I could. Now I have a phone I can watch TV on, make a movie on, play cards on… My dad would be blown away. He dated on horseback.
As technology advances, I try to keep a grounded view. I keep a couple acoustic guitars, a harmonica or twelve, and a set of bongos, because YouTube won’t have my favorite songs available if the lights go out. I think we have a manual typewriter in the shed; I should dig it out. But finding a ribbon for it? Note to self: Buy a few spiral notebooks to go with the dime-bag of ink pens Lucy bought me.
OTOH, I can tell you where my bus is with a couple taps of a button. I have 300 or so TV channels to choose from at home, and I could take those channels on the road with me, and watch them on my phone. Thing is, I catch myself chastising myself for staring at my phone when Mother Nature’s beauty presents itself to me. I should be staring out the window, gazing stupidly into space.
But I can do that when the battery on my phone dies.
I’m surprised I’m not seeing little piles of gluteus maximus all over downtown. I almost froze my ass off last night.
I texted Dr T; “If Giggles is still there, tell him I’m gonna punch him in the head if he’s late tonight. We had to sit almost two hours to catch the last and only bus. That ain’t happenin’ again.”
I was pissed.
It was a four-hour shift. I spent almost that long at the bus stop.
It was spitting snow when I left the house. By the time Southie left the West End Store, a white blanket covered the intersection. By the time I got off work, YakTrax were required, and there were no buses or MAX crossing downtown. That’s not unusual after 10 PM.
I hurried to the bus stop. The tracker wasn’t working, but the bus was due at the top and bottom of the hour. Eventually I would catch a ride. I had a nice post-work buzz going, and the landscape was pretty. I could wait a while.
And I waited. I checked Transit Tracker for MAX, there was a train scheduled to leave four blocks away in ten minutes. I’d head there, while keeping an eye out for the Hawthorne bus. I passed a familiar looking group at the Madison stop. I went to the light rail stop. I hadn’t seen a train going any direction in a while. The sign at the MAX said, “You might want to consider not using public transportation tonight.” Great. I went to a different bus stop, on 6th Avenue. There was one of the #14 buses, sitting sideways blocking the entrance to Broadway on Main Street.
I tripped back to the MAX, still no sign of train. Midnight rolled around, and little by little people started walking. At 12:35 AM, I saw a bus taking an odd turn, and I got walking. I made it to 4th and Madison just as the #14 Hawthorne pulled up. The driver waved off my fare.
He was the only bus still in service.
We conquered. He turned and made one more pass. I hope he made it, for everyone’s sake.
Now I am heading back to work, for a full shift this time. If I leave three hours early I might make it on time.
Ice storm!Snowmageddon!Close the schools! It’s the end of times!
SPOILER ALERT: I survive. In fact, I came out of it pretty good.
We haven’t had a real winter for a couple years, so Mother Nature is making up for it in spades. The past week hosted non-stop sub-freezing temperatures, and the past few days have added liberal doses of precipitation, leading to enhanced thrills and spills. Cue Paul Simon; “Slip slidin’ awaaay…”
I had a feeling the day would be atypical when I saw the Heavy Duty fire truck driving the wrong way up the Avenue. I was coming out of the office with my cash drawer, ready to start a swing-shift at the Nightclub Store.
I followed my early routine, getting my shift’s accoutrements together. People kept asking me what was going on next door. “I dunno! I just got here. Probably a fire drill. They have them all the time. Or somebody is cooking bacon in their room. That’s the biggest “emergency” most of the time.”
Except… The street doesn’t usually fill with fire trucks, and fire marshals in red Jeeps don’t usually come in such numbers. Time to stick my head out and see what was happening.
I’m not much for holiday songs, but this ditty came out during my teen years and I felt the urge to revisit. George wasn’t my favorite Beatle, but he was one of the top four. He also did an ode to constipation that I will put up at the end, if I can find it.
But that’s later. First we’ve got to get through New Year’s Eve.
I arrived at the Waterfront Store just as Uncle Cliffy came out of the back office with my till. “I’ll take that,” I said. I took the cash register drawer from him and went into the employee office.
Mrs Brady was working with me. Wednesday is freight day, so I have a helper. Since she would be working with me for three hours, I felt no need to rush.
I counted the safe first. The rolled coins, then the bundles of bills. I didn’t bother counting the bundles of ones. Coworkers aren’t desperate enough to steal ones.
BUT. There have been a rash of shortages involving bundles of $5s. One or two bills missing from one or two stacks. Accidents happen, but not consistently, not repeatedly, not without intent. I have been helping catch the mice in the pantry. I counted every $5. On the dot, the way it always is when it’s Uncle Cliffy’s safe. Same with his till. But I had time, ten hours worth. I decided to count his till.
Just to double check.
I wasn’t quite that broke, but I had just finished getting all my bills current. Mortgage, credit card, bro-in-law/weed-card loan, etc… I had about ten bucks left, in the aforementioned configurements. It would be enough to get me dinner and a ride.
She got off work at 6:30. Knowing I would go insane and smoke waaay too much weed while waiting, I chose to meet her at the airport. “How about we meet where we used to play Scrabble. Security gate D?”
…But it comes!
I have most of the stuff I really need. I have a lot of stuff I want, or can get it without much effort. What I’ve wanted this year are not material goods. Peace in my soul and mind cannot be bought. While not in distress, I’ve felt better mentally.
I need a hug. Preferably from an old friend. Do Christmas wishes come true? Since Monday is also considered Christmas this year, I have until midnight to find out.