I am going to see Flip Flop soon. Its been too long since I have been home. I packed my bags Friday morning, went to work, taught an after-school class and then went into Danger to find the Wobbly.
I was supposed to meet him outside his building. Which is a bit tricky since I always arrive after the receptionist is gone, so there is no way into the building. So I stood like a moron in the front, a moron without a cell phone, and begged a up-tight man named "bob" to e-mail Wobbly. Bob was like a human bull-terrier, allowing no one access to the building. He actually challenged some poor sot, then he buzzed him in when he said he knew "Sid." While I was waiting, I got to know the shuttle chauffeur who blithely informed me that men suck and he came to the BA because he wanted to live in a place where your "boogers didn't freeze."
Its the Economy, smart-ass
Wobbly eventually emerged, apologized for being late, and then we piled into the shuttle and made our way to the Big Shaft Bowl. All the little software geeks were wearing the same gray fleece vest, including W. One of the reasons I agreed to go, was that it has been years since I have gone to a software company holiday party. It just doesn't seem like Christmas in the BA without attending an expensive function in the City and meeting the SO's geeky coworkers. Times, they have a-changed. The bowling alley was packed with harried-looking mothers, toddlers and paunchy middle-aged engineers. The punch bowl wasn't surrounded by the socially dysfunctional code-writers of yore wearing tattered tee-shirts proclaiming the release of version 2.0. Nope, the bar was empty and, besides the gray vests, nary a tee-shirt wearing geek was to be seen.
Gutterballs and Kareoke
I have new respect for the poor dudes who run the kareoke machines. My rendition of Fast Car was truly horrible and painful. My throat was sore, so I wanted to do an artist who didn't sing high, so I thought ol' Tracey Chapman would be safe.
Rule number one of Kareoke... Good to have a fast song.
Slow songs just prolong the agony. I was so horrified by the sound of my voice on the speakers, I couldn't sing any more. I tried to hand the mike to someone else, but there were no takers. I finally did my best Janis Joplin-if you're-bad-revel-in-it impersonation. Before we left the Alley, a young man with a sprig of holly painted on his face, introduced himself as "Paul-I-don't-work-with-Wobbly." He shook my hand and congradulated me on my fabulous vocal stylings. He left before I could give him my number. I might have been the only single person there.
I bowl like a dork. The gutter is my friend. I actually scored SINGLE DIGIT games. Impressive, eh?
I don't know if it was the beer, the wild filipina, or the blinking lights, but after a while, the Wobbly was looking damned attractive. And that is all I am going to say about that.
We wound down from the whacked bowling high at a cafe in the Bougie part of BS. The wild (and married) filipina regaled us with stories about how Wobbly and her survived the mormons and the stupid honkeys at Tracy High in the Late 80's. He was drawing then, too. Then I took Wobbly home, because the last train had left hours ago.
If Friday was a slow trip north (from Flip Flop north to The Highlands, then East to Muttonham, North to Big Shaft and North again to The City) , then Saturday was a slow and crooked trip back home.
After rediscovering my car (it survived its lonely stay on the dark Mission street without getting molested... I had made absolutely sure the cabin was stripped bare, so no one else would be inspired to clean it out for me) Wobbly took me to Phil's Coffee via the Mission Village Flea Market. I harvested an exotic fruit from one of the trees but I realized that it was covered in soot and needed a good washing before consumption. It was some sort of red Asian fruit with a bumpy skin, the size and color of a big cherry. Dude, we are not in Flip Flop-- the Town of Fruit You Can Eat Straight off the Ground. The flea market was totally ghetto. Piles of watches and pirated DVDs competed with overpriced records and hot car stereos. The air was cold and dry and the winter's dawn light was grey. The shoppers were bundled up in scarves and hats. The asphalt was decorated with faded chicano-pride murals, and the main building was a warehouse full of bike parts hanging from the ceiling and inexpilcably in the middle was a tiny cafe. A bike church cum anarchist meeting house (just like Flip Flop! I announced to no one in particular).
Phil's Coffee was another trip entirely... falafel house pop blasted from the speakers, the decor was bad 80's saudi arabia and amateurish paintings of jazz legends. I ordered tea while Wobbly called his girlfriend. He had an appointment with "Doc" the dude who started the SF chapter of cartoonist conspiracy (wobbly always puts the accent on the second syllable, so it sounds like cons- pAYEracy) He was a no-show, but wobbly's gf (I had gotten to hear all about the 20 year old prodigy the previous evening, lucky me) did wander in eventually. I didn't witness their greeting since my head was bent low over my drawing. My tolerance for PDA has gotten quite low (yes yes, I know I am a hypocrite-- my intolerance will magically disappear as soon as I have some to kiss-- soon, my pet, soon!). She had a backpack full of books. She slapped the contents unceremoniously on the table. "Finals are next week! No time to draw!" she announced.
Fortunately (for every one!), my parking meter was expiring, so as soon as I found out the time (her cell phone was at the bottom of her bag and wobbly's had just died) I jetted out of there.
Next Stop, DC for 2 buck chuck. In my mind, DC and San Mat are right next door, but I found out as I navigated the freeways, that quite a bit of real-estate separates the two. I was a bit late for my next appointment.
The inimitable One was hostessing a brunch in her new BelMateo pad. Her new bf, a contractor, was giving ecstatic house tours. I learned a lot of things (she got this for UNDER A MIL!!) LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE BACKYARD! THE VIEW! YOU CAN SEE HAYWARD ON A CLEAR DAY! WOULDN'T THIS BE A GREAT ENTERTAINMENT CENTER!-- A PLASMA SCREEN TV ON THE WALL! WE ARE GONNA TEAR OUT THE KITCHEN...
Ah, sweet amore.
The contractor was a bit chagrined that none of the teachers who came brought their male SO's. So he did his best to participate in the conversation. I was quite impressed, he lasted a long time, but finally, the dishes called their sweet siren song of hot water and bubbles and he answered with eager feet. The conversation was mostly delicious gossip, anecdotes about various offspring (couldn't add to that), stories from abroad (couldn't add to that either), health discussions (didn't add to that) and pregnancy (couldn't contribute to that, either). I had fun listening. I felt like a little kid watching the adults talk, relishing their gestures, the warm sound of voices and just enjoying the company. Finally, the Inimitable One had pity on me and asked me to share the Christopher Robin story. ("What! he's not a man!" the contractor exclaimed at the right spot).
The guests left and the I.O. asked me to stay and collage for the afternoon, as we had planned. The contractor made a valiant attempt at collaging(and I thought a very good first collage) . He found all the titty pictures in the stack of mid-60's LOOK magazines she brought for us to cut up.
Finally, their dinner guests arrived (it was quite ambiguous what my role was to be... previously, IO had wanted to go to the concert with me) and I realized that I had better be elsewhere (sometimes I feel like such a social retard... seems to be a theme this weekend). So we cleaned the mess and I took my leave and jetted on over to Muttonham to get ready for Monday and to figure out where the concert was to be.
The southerly migration took me to the heart of Santa Clara, to the Mission. I got there early, bought my ticket, and milled around with all of the post-menopausal Pennie women (Oh! Shane is having a lovely time at Yale). The ceiling had a lot of freshly painted putti (done in the immortal style of Terry Gilliam. When the real thing resembles the parody, does it mean that post-modernism has invaded the last hold-outs? Are we now ready for a new revolution?). A lot of their expressions were quite saucy. The three fruity men immediately above the altar, with blue robes and halos looked positively gay (the New Catholic church is clearly embracing every one now). I was so tired that the silky women's voices (yup... lots of estrogen at women's choir concerts) lulled me to sleep. It was lovely, the blend was perfect, no one was shrill. Turner would have approved. The solo on Hildegard Von Bingen's Veridissimus Verde was haunting. The acoustics were so good in that adobe-mud-designed-by-indigenous-people-crushing-narrow-minded-bigotted-spaniards that no one needed a mike. I can't remember the last time I heard an unadulterated human voice in a public context like that. My friend, a talented First Soprano, was thrilled that I had come. I will see her back at the Non Profit on Monday. Oh, the undelicate crash of the workaday world in my little weekend fantasy.
The trip from the Holy Light to the Holy Rood was blessedly short. I was able to muster enough energy not to kill myself on the windy road (thank you Lord).