Friday, November 03, 2006

It's nice to be wrong

I stopped at my usual morning coffee joint this morning to grab a cup of joe, before catching the train. There was a short line, and while I don't like waiting in line any more than anyone else does, it did do my heart some good to see that a Mom & Pop is able to keep up a clientele. In front of me were a couple of student types. They weren't being particularly obnoxious, actually they were seeming fairly human and good natured. They put in their order, ponied up their money and were waiting for order as the girl started flailing around with her purse at the counter. In her wild gyrations trying to balance cell phone, wallet and god knows what else, she managed to send the tip jar on top of the cash register flying, change sailed through the air, tinkling around the floor behind the cash register. They looked at each other in embarrassment and they both started to apologize.

Okay, so I am an old crank. Considering how people behave these days I should have been satisfied by the fact that they at least said sorry. All I could think of was that they should watch what they were doing. The man who works behind the counter is very nice and just shrugged it off, saying not to worry about it. He handed them their order and they went off to cream and sugar their coffees, the guy giving his girlfriend a good natured hard time, and continuing to apologize as they went.

I moved up to give my order, when the couple came jinking back up to the counter, dashed in behind it and began to pick up all the change and put it back in the tip cup. They scrambled around on the floor for a few minutes, while the proprietor was assuring them that "No, really it was fine." But bless their little hearts, they gathered things up, and the young man took the tip jar and but it back on the counter, saying "I think I'd better be the one to put it down." As they headed out, he told the patrons waiting in line that they had to help fill the jar back up, since he was sure some of the money got lost under counter.

So, I was wrong. I'm a big enough man to admit it. There really are some people left who are not entitled to screw up and then excuse themselves, or place the blame elsewhere. It was a small thing, but it was consideration, which no matter how small, is always a big thing. Maybe that is the way we can start to fix the mess we're all in, in this big and bad world. Taking care of the small things, and if we keep it up maybe, after we have got the hang of fixing the small things all the time the big things will start to look do-able.

Slave to the Rythmn

I was talking to an old friend, Rick, who is now living out in Long Beach. Rick has worn any number of hats over the years, among them was spinning records at dance clubs so he is always on the look out for new sources of music. Let's face it most stations are pretty bland these days and the quality of popular music, or at least that which gets air play is pretty disappointing. So I was surprised that he recommended a radio station. So for those of you who stream music, can I recommend KCRW as and alternative to the musical malaise. It really is pretty great. I know it's going to make me sound like an old fart, but the way they program the music is pretty much the way I remember music programing from when I was young. There is no real agenda, it's just the DJ's playing music they like. No play lists! So you might hear Beck, then Nina Simone and then Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. There is never any telling. Dance, electronica, latin, pop. You have to love a station that has a program called Morning Becomes Eclectica. Give it a try and happy listening.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh Mary!

There is always a certain amount of amusement to be had working with people who's first language is not english, especially when it comes to idiom.

One of the faculty members who's French, was in the office this morning and was asking about some repair for his office. He asked if I had heard anything about progress from my project supervisor Mary. I told him that Mary was no longer with the department and so for the forseeable future that he should let me know about any problems and I would take care of it. We discussed his problem, and I assured him I would put in a request with facilities and try and have the repair made in a timely manner.

As he was walking out the door, he said, "So you're Mary now."

The reply came before I had a chance to think about it, "And not for the first time either."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fuller Brush Man

Last night my FB Flip who I have not seen for some time came over for fun and games. It was the first time he had seen me since I have had the rather luxuriant facial growth and he commented that he liked it. The jury has been out as far as I am concerned. It is, well it's white. Grey hair is one thing, white is another and I have to wonder if it makes me look like Santa Claus with a dirty mind. At any rate one thing led to another, and as the British say, "I didn't know where to put my face", so put it everywhere.

Afterwards, Flip was commenting on how soft my beard was when it was down in the southern regions and said something about Fuller brushes.

"So it's a Booty Brush?" I asked.

"Booty Brush? That's not exactly what I was thinking, but I like it."

I think I'll be able to deal with the beard this winter if I keep thinking of it as a Booty brush instead of a Santa beard. Ho ho ho!

Monday, October 30, 2006


It was, all in all, a nice weekend. Saturday I spent eating and reading. Sunday I amused myself by forgetting to turn the clock back and cleaning the house. I suppose starting to clean the house sounds like a good idea if you accidentally get up at 4:00 a.m., and you think it's 5. It also is much nicer in theory, but starts to loose some of it's gloss when you realize after getting off to an all too enthusiastic start and only to realize there are some places in your apartment that haven't been ministered to since you moved in.

I am also coming to terms with the idea of having another major purge. You know how it is. You live anywhere long enough, and all of the junk that you remember bringing into the house meets, falls in love and starts reproducing. There is some stuff that I will be willing to swear that I never brought into the house. I have to wonder, does Alice go out on shopping sprees while I am at work, hitting flea markets and bringing home shopworn items of doubtful usefulness, or do my neighbors just break in, and dump all of their unwanted crap in my place because it's closer than the dumpster?

The long and short of it is that I had planned on virtuously spending a day cleaning the house and that would be the end of it. As with all the best layed plans, it has turned into something of a long term project that is going to, in the end I believe, involve my own personal dumpster and possibly a backhoe. How one small man and one large cat can generate so much mess and extraneous garbage I don't know. I would also like to know where all these clothes I am certain I never bought which I am now going to have to take to Goodwill, convert into dustrags or simply throw out, came from. For some reason, most of the stuff I am finding is not lost but loved possessions, but more like finding that homeless drunks or raccoons have taken up residence in my closets and all clothes drawers.

Let this be a lesson to you, housekeeping should consist of giving the place a sweeping glance.