Odd Jobs

To The Wedding . . . with Groom

Sometimes, Saturdays in June my car fills up with wedding people. Mostly, guests — who are always late — or bachelor-night girls seeking places of ill repute. In my day, we tiptoed into Chippendales, which I thought had gone out of business, but it appears in Las Vegas. My UBER  doesn’t go that far, but I would if someone asked for a ride, just before taking that final single ride.
So, on an ordinary Saturday, I got a ‘ping’ that announced I had a ride waiting, but it would take 21 minutes to get there. I must have been the only UBER driver out that day. I drove all the way through San Clemente, took a short-cut on La Pata and ended up in a nice housing development on the edge of Lake Elsinore.

There were two men, plus a son. They all carried boxes, hanging clothes, and briefcases.
“We’re going to get married,” the man who slid into the shotgun seat.
“All of you?”
“Oh, no, just the guy in the back.”
The ‘guy in the back and his son nodded. I asked, “Would you like to stop anywhere, just one more single event?”
“No, I think I’m ready for this.”
We then headed back across San Clemente, up into Talega, to a house, where a throng of family were waiting.
“Don’t forget anything,” I offered. “If you do, I could always go back to your house and pick up what you’ve left behind.”
“We’ve got everything we need. If we don’t need it anyway.”
I wished them good luck and took off.
It looked like it was going to rain.

But, it didn’t.

 

Farewell: Hideaway, Sandy and Kung Pao

I had never met them before, until they were carried in cages down to the shoreline at Alicia Beach, in South Laguna.

Hayden is an honorary member of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and my pal, Judy, sent us the email announcing the ‘release’ of these Sea Lions from the hospital up on Laguna Canyon Road.

The day sun was hot, after several days of indecent rain and floods. We could see Catalina, appearing closer that usual. Hayden stopped at the top of the sand dune and said “Gammy, see the dolphins!”

There were dolphins waiting beyond the rise of the waves, as if they knew Hideaway, Sandy and Kung Pao would soon be joining them. The cages were lined up, the front opened simultaneously. Volunteers held up signs that said “Quiet”  . . . so we wouldn’t make the seals [all women] nervous.

One by one, they exited the cages and looked out at the sea, then back to the cages. I am not going to put words in these seals mouths, but it was as if they might be asking “Really?”

The humans, with black screens held in front, slowly shuffled toward the edge of the sea, The seals gave one last look at the sand behind them, and scurried [can a seal scurry?] into the receding waves.

They swam away, not out toward Catalina, but parallel with the shore, toward a rock outcropping at the far end of the beach. “Someone will stay behind to see if they make their way out into the ocean,” we were told.

That made me feel better, sharing their freedom.

Instead of writing this morning . . .

. . . I decided that my keyboard wasn’t erect enough for me to type without thumb pain.

This is what I did.

I Googled Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 5000 for instructions. I found a video – the un-boxing instructions that have taken over the Internet YouTube channel – and slid the screen to when he turned the keyboard over and saw the four empty spaces, where legs would be placed.

“This is new,” the narrator said. He tipped the keyboard. “I guess I left the other pieces in the package,” he continued, saying that he would get to that later.

Later. He re-opened the package, and found two little black hedges [what else would these gadgets be called] tucked next to the mouse.

He then placed them in the top of the keyboard, noting that he’s never known anyone else who would want the front of a keyboard lifted [I don’t know anyone of that sort either; however, what would that mean?]

I purchased my keyboard three years ago. The box, and the hedges, and my sales receipt are buried somewhere in the landfill between San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. I rummaged through my ‘don’t know what to do with this stuff’ box and found two unused pencil erasers. Stuck them in and voila . . . this is working. So far.

As for my writing, this is it.

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Uber Tooth Fairy

 

Unknown-1The call came from Pacific Coast Highway, from a place that’s not so easy to pick up an Uber ride. “Nicky” was standing in the far-right lane, blocking cars from slamming into me.

He jumped into the passenger seat, announcing “Today is a perfect day. A good day. Want to know why?”

I slid the destination across my screen . . . Nicky was headed to Mission Viejo. He was just short of wired, in a natural way, looking as if he might jump out from his torn-off jeans.

“Why?” I asked. Sometimes I wonder why I do this. Oh, I’m a writer. Or just curious.

He leaned as far as he could, almost in front of my face, and said “To get new teeth.” He grinned, without teeth. Not one tooth peeked through his lips.

It was one of those cases that I hoped for a proper response. One came from experience. I am a Sharks Hockey fan. His smile looked like the shots of the team in the game program, with or without their smiles fixed. I had a crush on Mike Ricci . . . now in Arizona.

“You played hockey?” I love rhetorical questions. On medium Uber rides.

“I used to, when I was younger.” He couldn’t have been more than 30, but without teeth it was hard to nail a year, let alone a decade. “I’ve spent my life pushing the edge. The older I get, the more dangerous my quest. Boogie board, shredding into nothing, climbing up cliffs one isn’t supposed to, but I live.”

“Except without your teeth,” I said. “Maybe your teeth have gone to outer space and you’ll get them back when you visit that last place that takes your life,” I have no idea why I said this. The ‘wired’ was contagious.

“Ah, you know, then. I figured it out, you have an old soul.”

“No,” I said. “I think this is my first time on earth.”

“No. You’re 5,000 years old. Been here many times. I know. I think I saw you land. It was on a ship, just south of the nuclear power plants, San Onofre.”

“I didn’t land here. I arrived in Seattle.  I am certain,” I said. I was at the off-ramp, to a road taking us up to the medical building.

“You take care,” Nicky said. “I’ve had this dream about America. You will survive. Many won’t.”

I was going to ask him about what would happen to him, but he jumped out of the car and dashed across the parking lot. He turned, at the door, and pointed to his mouth. He was smiling.

I could swear he already had his teeth in.

Uber Tooth Fairy

The call came from Pacific Coast Highway, from a place that’s not so easy to pick up an Uber ride. “Nicky” was standing in the far-right lane, blocking cars from slamming into me.

He jumped into the passenger seat, announcing “Today is a perfect day. A good day. Want to know why?”

I slid the destination across my screen . . . Nicky was headed to Mission Viejo. He was just short of  wired, in a natural way, looking as if he might jump out from his torn-off jeans.

“Why?” I asked.

He leaned as far as he could, almost in front of my face, and said “To get new teeth.” He grinned, without teeth. Not one tooth peeked threw his lips.

It was one of those cases that I hoped for a proper response. I am a Sharks Hockey fan. His smile looked like the shots of the team, with or without their smiles fixed.

“You played hockey?’

“I used to, when I was younger.” He couldn’t have been more than 30, but without teeth it was hard to nail a year, let alone a decade. “I’ve spent my life pushing the edge. the older I get, the more dangerous event I will try. Boogie board, shredding into nothing, climbing up cliffs one isn’t supposed to, but I live.”

“Except without your teeth,” I said. “Maybe your teeth have gone to outer space and you’ll get them back when you visit that last place that takes your life,” I have no idea whyI said this.

“Ah, you know, then. I figured it out, you have an old soul.”

“No,” I said. “I think this is my first time on earth.”

“No. You’re 5,000 years old. Been here many times. I know. I think I saw you land. It was on a ship, just south of the nuclear power plants, San Onofre.”

“I didn’t land here, I am certain,” I said. I was at the offramp, to a road taking us op to the medical building.

“You take care,” Nicky said. “I’ve had this dream and you will survive.”

I was going to ask him about how he would be, but he jumped out of the car and dashed down the parking lot. He turned, at the door, and pointed to his mouth. He was smiling.

I could swear he already had his teeth in.

Sleeping Babies on 20 January

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Uber encourages drivers to ‘get out there because riders do not want to be wet’ when it rains. This is a golden opportunity, as it’s been five years since the wet stuff fell from above. This was Inauguration Day, Friday and a great opportunity for me to keep my mouth shut.

Which I did not. (more…)