Friday, July 18, 2014

Needle Nose

I celebrated Independence Day by going to volunteer at the soup kitchen, where I saw a favorite guest lying on the ground in the sun, with his lunch arrayed across his chest—a piece of bread here, a spoon there—as he used a curved needle-nose pliers to groom his beard.

I had dinner that evening at Esperpento with Tom and his girlfriend, and the next day, I took a lovely long walk with a friend around the Mission and to Dolores Park. In the evening, Lesley and I had dinner at Savor on 24th St.

Howie was still away the following week, so, for the first time, Spring Washam, of the East Bay Meditation Center, came to teach at Mission Dharma. A delightful young lady with an enthusiastic and encouraging style of teaching, she trained with Jack Kornfield and is on the Spirit Rock teachers’ council.

Later that week I heard a riveting discussion on KQED’s Forum show about the Internet and privacy, during which someone remarked that there’s no getting away from Google. I called in to put in a plug for Duck Duck Go, the search engine that doesn’t track its users or their searches. The person who answered the phone at the radio station said, more or less, “State your name and topic.”

After I’d made my remark on the air and the show was over, I called my mother to tell her, since she told me about Duck Duck Go in the first place, and she (this is the absolute truth) answered the phone by saying firmly, “State your name and topic.”

I recounted verbatim what I’d said on the radio and heard what sounded suspiciously like a raspberry. I said, “I think this phone’s broken—it’s making a farting sound.”

“We Ypsilantians don’t like bragging,” my mother explained.

I wanted to jot down “State your name and topic” before I forgot it (for this very blog post) so I paused in order to do that, and my mother advised helpfully, “Also write down ‘Who is this??’”

Last Saturday I did my cooking and in the evening, I watched Populaire, starring Romain Duris, a French romantic comedy about an insurance salesman who enters his secretary in a speed typing competition. It’s set in the 1950s and is utterly delightful. Duris is perfect in his role, struggling to contain five or ten too many teeth behind his lips. I’ve seen him in several movies now and liked him in all of them. I see he has one newly out in the United States: Mood Indigo.

Every month, the soup kitchen invites all the volunteers to a potluck dinner, held at the house where the intentional community lives. Last Sunday I went for the first time. The people I work with are so great—kind, friendly, devoted—that I was excited to meet everyone who does the eight or so weekly shifts other than mine. But as it turned out, the only people who go to this potluck, though all are invited, are those on my own shift! Ergo, I basically didn’t meet anyone new—I met two people from my own shift whose names I hadn’t learned yet—but on the other hand, I felt right at home and had a good chat with Phyllis.

It was the best kind of party, just sitting around eating and talking, and the food was wonderful, especially the homemade bread made by one of my fellow volunteers, stuffed mushrooms, and a fantastic sun-dried tomato and walnut pesto. I’m looking forward to future potlucks.

I went to see my gum doctor earlier this week for a recheck and I told him that I like him very much, as I’m sure everyone does, and I like the toothbrushes he recommended, and I like his method of brushing, but I do not care for having brown teeth—brown is a lovely color for skin and for many other things, but not for teeth—so after my dentist had to polish them three times in the course of just a couple of months, I broke down and got another Sonicare, which I plan to use once a day with very non-abrasive toothpaste.

He didn’t scream at me, but he did sign me up for gum surgery, so I think we can say he won that round. I’m psyched about the gum surgery. That will be an interesting new experience, and it’s in the service of making sure all teeth remain firmly in my head.
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