Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Dream Come True

It’s dawned on me lately that there’s nothing stopping me from listening to NPR stations besides KQED, such as the one of my youth, now known as Michigan Radio, or WNYC, which is zippier than KQED and seems to be about New York more than KQED is about San Francisco. The best discovery has been the NPR radio program Snap Judgment, which is produced in Oakland and is like a looser, hipper This American Life. I was particularly moved by a story in the show called “The Guide – Snap #512” about a fellow with a Japanese professor given to remarkable and mysterious utterances and riveted by another, about a guy who lost his memory in an accident and never regained it.

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I took a walk down to the bay with two co-workers at lunchtime and, on the way back, we passed 101 California. I pointed it out as the site of the first famous workplace shooting. I don’t think I’d ever heard of a thing like that before that incident, and now of course it happens practically every day, at an office or a school. One of my co-workers said that a couple of years ago, every single one of her aunt’s co-workers was shot and killed at work—I think she said 14 or 15 people—and the only reason her aunt wasn’t among them was that she had arrived at work about 30 minutes late that day. Furthermore, there was no one standing guard at the door—it had just happened—and her aunt walked right in and saw bodies lying on the floor, people she’d worked and had lunch with for years and knew very well.

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Walking home from Howie’s, I encountered a fellow standing outside the corner store at 20th and Valencia St., indicating a desire for money. He was older and had a suitcase with him. I asked, “What do you need it for?”, with what I hoped was a merry smile, and he gestured that he was deaf. I asked, “Do you need it for [here I mimed eating, with a smile]? Or do you need it for [here I mimed tipping a bottle to my lips, with a frown]?”

He enthusiastically copied the latter gesture and tipped an imaginary bottle to his lips, which was funny, and by then I couldn’t exactly not give him any money—we’d established a relationship—so I gave him a dollar, to be used for booze.

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Another funny thing was my father on the subject of the new neighbor who came onto their property and completely dug out and removed two lilac bushes. When my parents inquired into the matter, the neighbor said, “I didn’t think anyone lived there.” My father said to me, incredulous, “This is right in the city—what did he think was on the other side of the fence that marks his property? Yosemite National Park?”

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A recent afternoon walk consisted of a trek over to Ross at 16th St. and Bryant with Tom, who is traveling a lot for his union work and needed a new overnight bag. At Ross, a confounding thing happened: Tom walked past the various luggage offerings, lifted a bag off the shelf, and headed for the checkout stand. Merchandise evaluation and selection took less than 60 seconds. “Just like that?” I asked.

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Sunday morning was a dream come true, in that I had dreamed a cat was brutally shredding my upholstery.
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