Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Saturday Stroll

Thing, from The Addams Family


On Monday mornings when I first meet my lovely case manager, Erin, we generally ask each other how our respective weekends went. She usually provides a brief description of the events that transpired during the previous two days, and I usually tell her that my weekend was good, and that I got a lot of work done.
She has come to expect that answer from me, which varies very little from week to week, especially the "I got a lot of work done," part.
"Did you get a lot of work done?" she asked me last Monday.
"Yes," I replied.
Not wishing to become predictable, I was bound and determined not to do any work whatsoever during this weekend. My box needed to be cleaned, I did not clean it. Piles of laundry were waiting patiently to be washed, I did not wash it. Research needed to be done, I didn't do it. Material that needed editing and transposing awaited me, I ignored it. It was hard.
My dear sister and I have grown into a somewhat compulsive nature over the years, and I have certain habits that bother me when they are not carried out, like doing my laundry and cleaning my box. Accordingly, I left my dirty little box yesterday and took a stroll through the neighborhood.
I arrived at the Hippie Kitchen near 11:30 in the morning, to complete my breakfast for the day. I had already consumed a tasty Mcdonald's cheeseburger I had purchased the day before. I had actually purchased 18 of the little bastards the day before, and handed them out to those who showed up for Movie Day. I ate three during the movie (Hancock), and Erin, Rodney and two others got a couple each. Erin wanted to give her second burger to Jose because she said she was full after the first one, but I pointed out to her that undoubtedly, at some point in the distant future, she would become hungry once again, and that she should save it. Which she did, I think. Besides, if she had given her cheeseburger away, I would have just given her another one, in an unending chain of cheeseburgers.
Anyway, I had a whole bunch of burgers left over, and ate one Saturday morning.
The little parakeets sang to me as I entered, going "Poo-te-weet! poo-te-weet!
The hippies at the Hippie Kitchen have been experimenting with the menu recently. Erin and I enjoyed some nice macaroni and pork, with salad, last Tuesday, and today I enjoyed some kind of rice and chicken gruel, with salad, and an extra helping of cooked potatoes, with a plastic cup of chocolate milk. Very good, and nutritious too!
I grabbed a bag of chopped lettuce the hippies offered and sat down near a fountain I had not noticed previously. It looked very nice and peaceful in the garden surroundings. At its base was a small pool where goldfish swam contentedly. I sat at a picnic table with two Hispanic, and one black gentlemen. We all enjoyed our meal.
By the way, dear readers, if you would like to become a hippie, and volunteer or donate to the Hippie Kitchen, you may do so at their web-site, which is right here:
Afterwards, I walked north up to Fifth Street, then west all the way to Los Angeles Street, passing a variety of people milling about San Julian Park and the Los Angeles Mission. Some were playing checkers, or chess within the park. Others were selling marijuana, or cigarettes on the streets. Some, apparently overcome with exhaustion, were laying flat out on the sidewalks, fully asleep.
From Wall Street to Los Angeles Street a noticeable transition takes place, the local population changing from predominantly black to Hispanic. White people such as myself, are tolerated, and an accepted minority in these parts. I've been living here long enough that most street people have seen me walking around, often with my friend Ron, and accept my presence easily. And I haven't been called "a cop," for years.
Generally, I don't mind walking around. I often find myself daydreaming, and editing, or thinking of things to write while on such strolls. Sometimes I latch on to some small detail that needs to be changed in a post written weeks before. I try to remember it, and make those changes when I get home.
I continued north on Los Angeles to a little shop between Fourth and Third, that sells incense, scented oils, and other stuff that smells good. There I bought 60 sticks of incense for 3 dollars. The sticks were located just outside the shops entrance, and inside jars of incense juice. I was allowed to pick out my own sticks, and chose 20 lemon scented, 20 orange, and 20 coconut. My hands got sticky with incense juice as I counted out, and put into elongated plastic bags the sticks, but they had a nice little rag I could wipe them on inside the shop when I finished. The proprietor of the shop gave me another plastic bag to put my three bags of sticks in, and I was on my way. For the rest of the day, and well into the night, my fingers smelled like a mixture of lemon, orange, and coconut.
I next walked up to Third, then west to Broadway, and the Grand Central Market, where I purchased two tasty looking tacos, piled on top of rice and salad, from some Asian people, then I took a bus home.
I did have one responsibility that I could not neglect, and when I arrived back at my place I went to our garden to water the plants that live there.
There is a hose out there, attached to a leaky spigot, that I use to water the plants. Sometimes, one of my neighbors, an older Hispanic gentleman named John, who happens to live adjacent to our garden, and who knows that I'm out there to water the plants, and also that I'm likely to get soaking wet by turning on the leaky spigot, helps me out by reaching out of his window at the appropriate time, and turning it on. I must say it's a tad disconcerting to observe this disembodied arm reach out and turn the water on, and is the closest I've ever seen that resembles "Thing," from the Addams Family television show and films.
John did this for me yesterday.
"Thanks John," I said.
I then watered the thirsty plants. When finished, John reached out and shut off the spigot.
"Thanks Thing, er, I mean John," I said.
As I was about to leave I heard a tiny little sound coming from the garden. It sounded like a tiny, "Psssst, pssssst!"
I went over to investigate, and was astonished to see a little earwig standing up on its hind pincers, clutching a small white flag, and calling to me.
"Hey you, giant person," it said.
"What the hell..."
"I'm holding a flag of truce, so don't kill me," it continued.
"I won't kill you," I replied. "What do you want?"
"I want you to stop killing us, duaaaa."
"Well I, I don't kill you guys..."
"I've seen you try to," it said. "How would you like it being sprayed with ammonia? It wouldn't feel very good, now would it?"
"Well I don't know what to say..."
"And what's up with that giant blonde guy? He's always trying to kill us. He killed my sister and great aunt."
"I'm so sorry..."
"Sorry! Is that all you've got to say for yourself?"
"Paul thinks that you guys are eating our plants..."
"And his cohort, you know what we earwigs call her?"
"Erin? No I don't."
"The Maiden of Death, that's what we call her. Why are you doing this to us?"
"Because you're eating our plants."
"We won't eat your plants if you stop killing us."
"I swear on my sister's grave. We like to eat other bugs."
"Wikipedia states that you guys like to eat vegetables, and plants like sun flowers too."
"Wikipedia is a notoriously unreliable source of information," it said.
"Well, I'll certainly discuss this, uuumm, situation with Paul."
"Please do. And tell him to stop putting those traps in the ground. We're wise to that one now."
"I certainly will."
"Thank you. You will be remembered as a true friend of the earwigs, despite your murderous history. Goodbye."
With that it tunneled into the ground, taking its little flag with it.
I returned to my box and thought about what had just happened.
Will Paul and Erin believe me and stop the rampage?
If I were them, I certainly wouldn't.
We shall see.
And damn it! I've written this post, thereby doing some work.
Damn it!

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