This first bit was written on Thursday.
I laughed at a stranger. Didn’t mean it. Middle aged average looking man in front of me at Starbucks got his coffee. Instead of saying, “thank you,” he went with, “right on, man.” A chortle just shot out of me. It seemed so incongruous. A doofus hipster or an aging hippie can successful go with, “right on, man,” but not a normal looking bloke. I tried to play it off like I was coughing but the gentlemen in question shot me two separate looks over his shoulder. They were both of the “what’s your problem?” variety. Hey, whattaya gonna do in a situation like that. Am I right? That guffaw is out there and if you can’t cover it with a cough you’re stuck with it. I don’t know what I’d have said if he’d asked me what the deal was.
Mind you, I don’t make a habit of committing social faux pas in public — who does? I’m a fairly respectable citizen (provided I continue my policy of not verbalizing some of the bizarre things I think — trust me, you don’t wanna know). I keep to myself. Maybe when frustrated I’ll let a sigh escape that’s a little too loud and people may catch me in an occasional eye roll but I’ve yet to bark at a stranger who didn’t snap at me first or nearly plow into me with his (I use the masculine pronoun because it’s always a male) bike. (What is it, by the way, with the entitled behavior of so damn many bicyclists? I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush here because the vast majority of people on bikes are minding their Ps and Qs, but there are way too many who feel traffic lights and stop signs are for cars only and people in crosswalks are there at their own peril and that a crowded sidewalk is a perfectly acceptable place for their wheeled conveyance and that slowly pedaling in front of cars is good and proper. Thanks for lessening your carbon footprints bicyclists but you are neither above the law nor granted carte blanche to do as you please. End of tirade.) As I was saying I’m probably as civil and polite and respectful of rules and regulations and anyone (a far cry from when I was hitting the sauce, lemme tell ya). In other words I’m good at being one of the faceless masses even though I feel special. Who don’t?
Speaking of laughing at people - cowboy hats. One thing I appreciate about living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area is that you don’t see people walking around (or for that matter sitting around) wearing cowboy hats. Some of you (I flatter myself that there are any people actually reading this drivel) may be wondering: what the heck is wrong with wearing a cowboy hat? To that I would answer: nothing. However I don’t think the cowboy hat suggests that the person underneath possesses a great intellect, or indeed any intellect at all. I do admit that there exists a photograph of yours truly -- at about age 8 -- in a cowboy hat. My father, brother and uncle are all in the pic and all of our domes are similarly covered. I remember this phase that we collectively went through and it lasted somewhere in the area of one month. Tops. We all have our skeletons in the closet.
This second bit was written today, Sunday.
There was a sign outside the gym that announced a Psychic Fair. My question is this: why do they need to advertise? Doesn’t everyone just know? I once went to a Psychic Fair but it was an accident, I thought it was a Psychotic Fair. (We need more of those.)
I went clothes shopping with the missus yesterday. I dare not go on my own lest I suffer ridicule from wife and daughters at the hideous clothes that I would end up with. Going with my better half ensures that I continue to be sartorially resplendent. I like getting new clothes but I hate the shopping aspect of it. The main problem I have is with the whole trying things on deal that the wife forces me to do. Evidently it is important that clothes fit and that they look good on me. I would always rather take it on faith that if I buy them everything will be fine. In many ways I’m something of an idiot.
We went to this huge shopping center in downtown San Francisco. There are several levels, rotunda style. We went to Nordstrom’s first and when the first shirt that I looked at was a whopping $145 I fell into a dead faint. Revived at last I found that the kind of pants I’d bought a few years ago for $70 now were in triple figures. They’re just shirts and pants for crying out loud. How good can they be? And ties! My god ties are not composed of a lot of material so how the hell can they charge over a hundred bucks for em? We got out of Nordstrom’s and visited stores for the 99%.
Many of the people who work in San Francisco clothing stores are gay men. This is an actual fact and I have no compunction in mentioning it. Most of them are both serious about their work and are thus good people to have waiting on you and are perfectly charming. I have had gay co-workers, gay bosses, gay neighbors and very good friends of said orientation. It’s come to the point that I don’t think twice about anyone’s sexual preferences. I don’t know why other people do. In my experience straight men are more likely to be jerks than gay men. All that said (to cover my ass — so to speak) there are the occasional gay clothing store employees who are snooty, officious and even rude. They make me feel like I’m imposing on their times and that I am hopelessly out of touch with fashion. They don’t treat my wife any better. I got one of these clowns at one store. He made me feel variously like I didn’t exist and that I had just belched during a wedding ceremony. What can you do?
I tried on shirts and I tried on pants and I showed my wife this and she showed me that and the eight miles I’d run the day before seemed like a stroll in the park compared to the pitched battle of clothes shopping. We had lunch. It was good. The missus proposed we go up to Macy’s as we’d exhausted all reasonable possibilities at the shopping center. On the way we stopped at the Gap to look at their clothes which — it turns out — are largely made for 16 year olds. It was there that I surrendered and in my best impersonation of sleepy six year old boy, insisted we go home.
I had two new shirts and one pair of pants that are being altered. I guess it was worth it?
Today I ran another eight miles and we went to a movie and grocery shopping and now I’m home with Monday morning looming ominously. Who am I to complain?