Life In the City

Back at the San Francisco apartment and nothing to eat, so I walk to Albertsons' to buy a chicken, a portabello mushroom, a bottle of chianti and a loaf of bread made with sweet corn. I wanted some zucchini but didn't see any. I asked a young man spraying the produce if they were really out of them. He sprayed me in the face.

"I'm just starting here," he said, as he put down the hose. The nozzle trigger hit and opened it for just enough time to give me a good squirt in the face. He didn't fully realize the spray hit me as he nervously tried to figure out why there were no regular green zucchini squash. There were a dozen kinds of various colors and shapes. "I guess we don't have any," he said. Then he looked around and saw that my face was wet. He went pale.

"Oh, no. What did I do? I'm sorry sir."

"Not a problem, it felt good, actually, very refreshing."

"What did I do. Oh ... I'm really sorry ..." He was in a game loop, and the best he could do was try and hand me a paper towel. I left him like that, though afterward I felt I should have made it more clear to him: "That one thing will stand out from the rest of the day, because it was really funny. I know you didn't mean to do it, which is what makes it funny. It's one of those odd gifts that slip into the dull routine of the day sometimes."

This morning I went to do my laundry. There are machines with front loading drums, and a place on top to put the detergent after the first pre-wash cycle. I had to buy some of those little boxes of detergent, and the cycle had already started, the water swishing through to carry the detergent down to the clothes. "Ahhh," I clawed at the top of the little box but it didn't open easily. I grabbed another one, which did, but it was already too late. The water had stopped flowing through the detergent gate.

I thought I could just put it in the machine directly but the door locks shut after the cycle starts and there's no turning back.

Maybe I could find some water and pour it and that might work. But the deep sink that used to be in the laundromat has been removed and there is no actual water that is not under the control of robots. "I could wash it down with bleach, maybe," I said. "After all, these washing powders have beach in them. What can it hurt?"

Well, it wasn't white clothes. And when I poured the beach on the detergent stranded there, its moment having come and gone, it just made a kind of ugly mass of a threatening substance. I used the top of my empty liquid soap bottle and scooped some water out of one of the top-loaders and tried to wash it down onto my clothes, which by this time seemed to be going through a relatively dry cycle.

Those clothes seemed okay, but the white ones in the top loader must have got too much bleach because there were stripes on a table cover that didn't used to be there.

It had begun to seem like one of those periods of time when things begin to be off in a curious, but not particularly negative, way. Today I began to sing, "Sammy is a curious dog." It did not escape me that I was playing an Inspector Clouseau role in these little episodes.

I came home to write my blog and the software kept crashing. I always update the blog when I come back, but some data must have been corrupted on the little 256 meg drive I used for the first time. I remembered the warning on the screen telling me that I had not properly disconnected. I've done that before but it always worked fine. This time it didn't. I had to get Linda to copy the files to the online server so I could download them.

I was just finishing that when Clay called to tell me he accidentally spilled soy sauce on my book.

"Which book?"

"That one on Stalin. The Court of the Red Tsar."

"That's not my book. Somebody loaned it to me, and I can't give it back to him with soy sauce on it, so I'll offer to pay him for it or buy him a new one and I'll keep the one with the soy sauce. Everything else okay?"

"Sure. I guess you saw the kitchen towel. That was a lot of soy sauce that spilled."

"Yea. I tried to bleach it."

"That's a good idea."

"Yea. I got to write a blog and I'm down to like, no time at all."

"Welcome back to the city, man."

When I called Linda to get the files uploaded, she told me Chocolito Sammy has suddenly come out of his depression and is doing back flips with puppy joy, ripping at shoes, electric cables, newspapers, and human flesh with his little teeth. "I had to make him take a time out he was getting so carried away.

"And he will walk on the leash," she said, "you just have to let him hold it in his mouth. He was prancing all over the place so long as he kept it in his mouth."

Before, as soon as the leash snapped on him he lay down and became an inert object. He rebuffed any attempt at being controlled that much. I guess holding it in his mouth gives him a feeling of control and then he's cool with it.

Curious dog.

Posted: Mon - August 30, 2004 at 04:34 PM