Sorry if you’ve been trying to ring me up today
My humble apologies if you’ve been trying to ring me up anytime today. As I may have mentioned, I’m walking a bit of a tightrope these days over the usual foetid and alligator-filled swamp. I do fall off the rope occasionally, but I’ve learned valuable lessons from our squirrel brethren on scampering out of the skanky brine and up the nearest tree or pole so I’m back on the highwire in just a jiffy.
I hope that makes sense. Writing hasn’t paid my bills as much as I’d like it to these days, and even though I’ve been writing a bunch more (see Wednesday’s SN&R for a few items), I’m still a bit behind the eight ball, metaphorically speaking, and so thus I am temporarily incommunicado when it comes to certain communications devices, but not this one. I am sorry. A man has to eat, and some of us have to make choices between eating and, well, other things.
So this morning I got up and rode over to the light rail station, got on at Posey’s (damn you, La Boulangerie, for being sold out of porridge at 9 a.m.), rode the train out to its terminus at Watt and Interstate 80, rode my bike to my destination and did the interview, but got lost first (which was where I discovered that a certain communications device was not working), asked a person of central Asian heritage at a bodega if I could borrow a phone book to look up an address, and got shouted at like I was some kind of bum. I’m glad I’m not a Tea Party Republican, because I probably would have been so livid and butthurt I’d be going back with an F150-load of yokels to burn the place down, but, hey; to him, I looked kinda sketchy, and I can abide that.
Yes, I am a fuckup. This doesn’t make me a bad person, except maybe to some people. C’est la vie.
Anyway, afterward I rode back to the train station, and a woman got on and sat down in the back of the car across from me. She had sores all over her face, a pack of Maverick cigs in her grimy hands, and she mumbled non-stop about some pretty incoherent, angry shit. Meth, I thought. At Alkali Flat she got off. Or she stood at the top of the steps as the door opened and mumbled more stuff about “you can’t come in now.” Suddenly a guy pushed by her, yelled “get the fuck out of the way, bitch!” and bodyslammed her over so a throng of people, or maybe six or seven, could squeeze by, and then he gave her a good shove and she went flying out of the train onto the sidewalk.
“It’s fuckin’ raining,” he shouted, defending his action. The Wackenhut guard outside just shrugged. Minimum wage don’t care. “All these people tryin’ to get on the train, and this crazy-ass bitch be telling us we can’t come on here. Fuck that shit, man.”
Yeah. Still, the poor woman’s brains were clearly baked. The whole ride back to town, I watched her rant while other passengers rolled their eyes before looking away, and couldn’t stop thinking: This person really needs some help, but does she have access to it? Would she accept help if it was offered? And what about the moral judgment of, well, she did this to herself, so tough nut, buddy? At any rate, the whole thing made me sad. That’s one thing about being out and about in public, on the streets, so to speak: I see indignities every day. A warm and fuzzy society, we just aren’t.
Saturday morning, I rode the light rail out to Sunrise Boulevard for another story. I suppose this bicycle and public transport thing makes me a real “green” citizen and all that, but I just do it because I’m poor, nay, destitute, and it’s my best option these days. But I do see some funny stuff. Riding back, a black guy with dreads got on and then he started playing tinny-sounding hip-hop on his cell phone player: “nigga” this and “nigga” that. I heard some grumbling noises and turned around; there was a Walmart-obese middle-aged white guy wearing a hat with a big Confederate battle flag on it — the stars and bars — and if he was a cartoon character, he’da had smoke pouring out of his ears. Man, that was some Acadamy Award-winning pissoff there. Fortunately, I got off before anything boiled over. And it looked like it just might any minute.
Write back if you like reading this blog. These days, it’s the best way to reach me. —Jackson Griffith