Friday, August 24, 2007

An offer I can't refuse


I don't mean to be cryptic (well actually I do), but I'm probably not going to be posting for a few days. Let's just say that I have some...well...family matters to take care of. The next time I post, however, it should be a doozy. Capice?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rabbit run

I thought I was developing quite the rapport the bunny that was hanging out in my yard. I bought him some rabbit food at Safeway and a food and water dish. I figured rabbit does not live on grass alone. He/she seemed pretty grateful when I put it out with a couple of carrots Friday evening.

On Saturday, he/she even hopped up to me and let me pet him/her. So obviously this was a pet rabbit. I felt sorry for it even though it seemed to be enjoying relative freedom. Suburbia is not a safe haven for domesticated rabbits to roam unprotected. I hoped that as long as he/she stayed in my fenced yard no dogs would get him (let’s just say it was a him to avoid this he/she crap, okay).

I toyed with the idea of catching it, buying a hutch and curtailing it’s dangerous freedom. It wouldn’t be free range any more, but at least it would be safe from dogs, cats, raccoons and cars.

Circumstances made this impractical at the moment. I plan on taking a trip in the near future and although cats can fend for themselves, rabbits are a bit more high maintenance. I reasoned that if the rabbit was still there when I returned, I’d go the hutch route. Maybe I’d keep it in my garage. I'd name the rabbit at that time, too. I'm not sure what I'd call him though. When I had a pet rabbit as a kid, I called him Bunrab. I could do better than that now.

It's funny how you let plans hop on down the trail past reality.

It rained on Sunday morning and I saw the little guy hopping around in the grass in my backyard for awhile. That was the last I saw of him. Sunday evening, the food I’d left in his dish was mush. I tossed it and put fresh stuff out, under cover of my patio table, but it didn't look to be touched on Monday.

So the rabbit is gone. I loved that rabbit like it was my own. I’d like to think he found his way back home. I’d like to think that.

It’s better than the other possibilities.

I miss that rabbit.

Friday, August 17, 2007

My morning



I was waiting for you
I was sat in the sun
I could picture your face on the tip of my tongue
I woke up laughing
--Robert Palmer, Woke up Laughing


I didn’t really wake up laughing. I woke up staring at the clock, dreading the digital tick from 5:44 a.m. to 5:45 a.m. I don’t use an alarm. I always just wake up at the time I’m supposed to get up (or almost always). I don’t know if it is a gift or a curse.

The cat was agitated this morning for some reason. Normally she just lays at the foot of the bed just out of range of my tossing and turning feet, curled in a cat ball. This morning she complained to me in a series of staccato meows and followed me into the bathroom. This was full moon behavior, but it isn’t a full moon. It is a waxing crescent. So I haven’t a clue why she stared at me intently while I brushed my teeth with the Sonicare and then ran under the bed.

After showering and dressing, I went downstairs. My other two cats appeared unimpressed by any of the weird vibes going on this morning. They lounged around on various couches. I was just grateful neither had puked on the carpet. This seems to be the drill every other morning. One of them bazooka barfs on a regular basis and I spend quality time with a bottle of resolve and a cleaning rag.

I washed down my morning regimen of pills (two for blood pressure, one for excess stomach acid, one for cholesterol and a few vitamins) with a diet Dr. Pepper. Then
I threw a Jimmy Dean breakfast croissant into the microwave and marveled that the box stated it was “meal sized.” It was barely the size of a hockey puck and has the same texture when you eat it.

While I waited for breakfast, I walked out to the mailbox to send back my latest random Netflix choice. It was a stupid, low budget movie called Zzyzx:

“Out in the middle of nowhere, on a remote desert road, the lives of three people are forever changed in this sinister tale. Heading to Vegas, Lou (Kenny Johnson) and Ryan (Ryan Fox) take a detour onto Zzyzx Road, a supposed hangout for extra terrestrials. But as they drive along searching for Martians and Klingons, they accidentally hit a man and must find a way to dispose of his body. Their problems only increase when the man's wife shows up.”
Zzyzx sux’d.

But I digress.

When I popped the Netflix into the mailbox, a rabbit hopped out of the bushes in my front yard. I wasn’t surprised to see a rabbit. He’s been hopping around my yard for a couple of weeks now. I assume he is someone’s pet who busted out of the hutch and became free range. He doesn’t bother me and I don’t bother him. He steers clear of me for the most part, but this morning he hopped right up to me. And right behind him was a big orange Tabby presumably trying to figure out if this was a mutant mouse or another cat with big ears. I watched them for a couple of minutes to make sure there weren’t going to be any skirmishes and then went back inside to take my Jimmy Dean breakfast croissant out of the microwave.

At precisely 6:45 a.m., I shouted goodbye to the cats, hopped in my Nissan Frontier pick-up, and backed out of the garage. The orange tabby and the rabbit were still facing off in the bushes. I watched the garage door close and told myself out loud, “The door is closed,” so I wouldn’t turn around a block away and come back to check it. Sometimes I still do. I waved at the bunny and the neighbor’s cat and drove to the train station as I unwrapped the Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich.

At 6:55 a.m. I pulled into the train station parking lot after waiting for a garbage truck to inch gently over a couple of speed bumps to avoid damaging his load of trash. I pulled into my spot, hopped out of my truck, beep locked it twice so I wouldn’t come back and check to see if I locked it, and walked to my spot on the train platform. The loud mouth know-it-all transplant from the East Coast was pontificating to some guy next to him about when they were going to build another train station in a nearby town. He was spouting information I had told him a couple of days ago. It was almost verbatim exactly what I had said. I wished I had given him a few outrageous facts just to see if he would have parroted those back too.

Twit.

The train arrived at 7:05 a.m. I dashed on board and sat in my seat and immediately begin checking my e-mail on my new pocket PC that has replaced my Blackberry as my favorite OCD activity. It basically combines all of the characteristics of the Blackberry, a Palm Pilot and telephone in one blinking package.

My train arrives at King Street Station in downtown Seattle at 7:30 a.m. I walk up the stairs and make the light at the crosswalk without waiting. This is a good sign. I am at my desk at 7:35 a.m.
My day has begun.
*AUTHOR'S NOTE: I realize that this post was about as entertaining as watching paint dry, but it represents the truly great thing about blogging. You don't have an editor asking you why the hell are you submitting this kind of crap and telling you there is no way they will print it. Besides, sometimes I like to watch paint dry. Just don't eat too many of the paint chips.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Taking a stroll


Anymore, my strolls down Memory Lane require a walker. I used to have an incredible memory. Now I have a so-so memory. I was dropping some shirts off at the dry cleaner last week and the clerk asked me for the last four digits of my telephone number. I can normally recall my entire telephone number, but I was having a hard time just isolating the last four digits. Of course this could just be the way my brain stores information.

My personal theory about memory is that, although we have tons of excess brain capacity, the librarian in the brain gets sloppier and sloppier about where he or she files things. And the older we get, the more crap we have to remember. So although all the information is there somewhere, it sometimes takes awhile to find it.

“Okay, where did I put my bank card pin number…I think I left it over by the name of my pet parakeet when I was in 5th grade. No, maybe it is there next to my SAT scores. If that is the case, I’ll never find it…wait there it is, right next to my junior high locker combination.”

Sometimes I try and recall my first memory. I used to think it was sitting on a blanket in my front yard as a baby with our dog Lucky sitting nearby. But I think the real reason I think that is my earliest memory is that it is one of the first photographs I have of me.

I actually think the best memory is a photograph. I remember things better if I have a photograph. I think we will remember things better now that we have the digital age and can snap photos with our telephones.

But then again there is also Photoshop and we’ve all seen what Photoshop can do when placed in the wrong hands.

But I digress.

One of the ironies about our computer age and the ability to store more and more memories in hard drives that have more “memory” (I saw a portable drive last week with 1 terabyte of memory or a trillion bytes) is that we still have to remember a password to access them. Then we have to remember what we named the file and where we stored it. Then by the time we find the file we forget why we wanted it.

Oh well, there was a point to this post when I started out. I just can’t remember what it was.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Reflecting


I don't know how others see me. I just know how I see me. So I am surprised at times when the worlds collide.

Living in a larger city such as Seattle, you tend to keep your guard up, especially when you are walking down the street in Pioneer Square (our historic downtown neighborhood that typically attracts the less affluent citizens of our city). I have always liked Pioneer Square with it's 19th century buildings and 'been around the block a few times' attitude.

A couple of days ago I went to lunch with a friend at a pizza by the slice place in Pioneer Square. We sat outside and ate our slices New York style, folded down the middle to contain the grease in the pizza. There was the usual crowds of tourists fresh from the Underground Tours clutching their maps of the area and looking vaguely desperate as they searched for something historic to photograph. They stuck out in sharp contrast to the street folk who heckled them from benches around Occidental Square.

My friend, who has been quitting smoking now for about three years said he needed some matches so we wandered over to a small store sandwiched between Dome Burger (named after the King Dome that was imploded about 7 years ago) and a bass guitar store. I waited outside while he went looking for fire sticks.

Rule number one in any big city is that you don't stop moving. Rule number two is that if you do stop moving, you don't let your guard down. If you violate both rules you quickly become visible and a magnet.

I violated both rules. I stopped and began daydreaming about god knows what and my street face slipped off. Within seconds I noticed someone approaching me out of the corner of my eye. I tried to slip my street face back on, but it was too late. I looked over and there was a semi-normal looking woman approaching my personal space zone. I say semi-normal because she wasn't pushing a shopping cart and she was dressed in normal street clothes, but I sensed she had fallen on hard times.

Then she spoke.

"Would you buy me some chips?"

It took me a few moments for this to register because I was expecting a pitch for spare change.

"Chips," I asked?

"Yes," she responded. "I need something in my stomach to absorb the alcohol." I looked up at the store and saw a row of potato chips.

"What kind of chips do you want?"

"Any kind," she said. I began heading towards the store to buy her some chips and she waited like a patient stray.

Then I heard her call out after me, "Cheddar cheese and sour cream."

I scanned the rows of chips and sure enough there were the cheddar cheese and sour cream variety. I grabbed a bag, paid for it and walked outside. The woman hadn't moved an inch. She lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw I hadn't scooted out the back door. I handed her the chips and a couple of bucks. She looked so happy and yet so sad, I did something I never do, I hugged her. Then I turned to join my friend who was on his second cigarette by then staring at me quizzically.

As I walked away the woman called after me, "God bless you. I'm going have a chip right now." She tore open the bag and held one of the chips and saluted me with it." I waved.

"What was that all about," my friend asked.

"Poor thing, " I said. "She needed some chips."

"Why did she ask you?"

I thought about it for a minute and then answered, "Because she knew I would buy them for her."

My friend nodded and we walked back to work.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bobby


In June, 1968 I was 10 years old. It was the last day of school. I was in bed thinking I was dreaming the sound of a radio announcer saying, "Robert Kennedy is dead, the victim of an assassin's bullet." It wasn't a dream. My parents were listening to radio that morning.

At ten, I was old enough to feel the pain that the nation was feeling that year. It was a bloody year. Martin Luther King Jr. had been killed before Bobby Kennedy. The death toll in Vietnam was daily part of the evening news and the Democratic Convention in Chicago was destined for riots.

I watched the movie Bobby last night. It brought back those memories of waking up to that announcement that yet another Kennedy had been murdered. It was an amazing film. It recalled that night at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles through the lives of several characters who had nothing in common except those fateful seconds when Sirhan Sirhan pulled the trigger and ended a great man's life and the hopes of millions of Americans.

Even though I was alive when the events took place and knew how the movie had to end, I cried anyway. I cried for what might have been if Bobby hadn't been killed. Maybe the Vietnam war would have ended sooner. There wouldn't have been a Watergate. Civil Rights would have come to our nation sooner. And we might have paid attention to Global Warming earlier.

I cried because of what is happening to our country now. We are mired in a senseless war that is Vietnam without the jungles. We have a President that makes even Nixon look like a better deal. We've let our environment tank and we live in an even more violent society than we did in 1968.

Where is our Bobby Kennedy?