Odd Jobs

Sharks in Baghdad By The Bay

protesters-1.jpg

No place on earth – this one or any other in the universe  – is as peculiar as Baghdad By The Bay.

Several years ago The City gave everyone a little compost bucket, to discourage using the left-over machine shark that shreds what’s left of food and sends it got-knows-where that’s probably not good for the earth..

My tenants took mine. Would I be caught by the Disposal Police if I turned the disposal on to scrape the little clumps of oatmeal that didn’t make it into my mouth.

I turned on my disposal. Nothing. Like a car that’s lost its battery, I turned the crank again. And again.

A smell pervaded the kitchen. I pushed the ‘restart’ button on the bottom [this NEVER works] and whips of smoke crept out the bottom edge of the machine.

I started off for Discount Builders Supply, 7 am in the morning . . . I was the ONLY woman, except for check-out clerks. Why didn’t i think of this before? Forget match.com. I like men in belts . . .

Never mind. I’m off subject. Returned home and Renato my handyman gift from another country installed the new one. Then, I needed to get some vinegar at Trader Joe’s.

I walked up Brannan. By the time I returned back, I had to weave myself through a demonstration of Janitors assembling in front of the Jewelry Mart.

Someone tried to hand me a sign with “Janitors Deserve Health” printed in crimson letters. I’d spent the morning cleaning stuff, but next time I’ll take off my sweatshirt before venturing out the door.

 

Please Follow This Blog . . . it might be famous someday.

One cannot go home again. Or, even try.

homelessness-ignor

Back on Gilbert . . . fixing my home after being gone since just before Christmas, 2011.

That’s what the paint can listed as the date of my last paint job. 2011? I thought it had been a couple of years, since I left The City for San Clemente, to help my daughter through a rough patch.

Turned out, it was my rough patch. I leased my house to two dim-witted graduate business majors at Stanford who trashed things so I had to re-paint in August 2012.

Then, lost my job. One that I had thought would last at least one year. All right, keep going. Just keep swimming.

I did. And here I am, 2016. Another business that didn’t work [I am great at marketing for other people. Not so much myself.]

It’s Tuesday morning on Gilbert Street. 6 July 2016. The trash truck is here. Somewhere two sirens are wailing across Brannan. I miss these sounds.

I miss The City. If someone had transported me here while I was sleeping, I wouldn’t know where I was. Candlestick Park is gone. So are the 49ers. Not much is left of my neighborhood. Expo Center is gone . . . where will the Antiquarian Book Faire be held this year? The costumed revelers on New Years? All disappeared.

A homeless encampment is being built as fast and sprawling as new construction towers reach for the sky. The Expo Center has been replaced by a massive box of condos that looks like a Lego set assembled by an Occupational Character Recognition robot. Wait. No San Francisco robot – the place for Flower Power, Herb Caen, Willy Mayes, and leagues of famous and infamous characters, living next to each other – would build an ode to boredom. There would be a triangle or twist somewhere.

Eighth Street and Bryant holds a Mercedes Dealership. There’s a median in the middle of Eighth Street, that holds one homeless person, who gets up long before the Mercedes employees show up, wash the windows and open the doors.

I walked by the dealer last night. A couple, in their early thirties, were finishing up a purchase of a S-Class Maybach. The salesman reached out and shook the man’s hand.

The woman nodded, turned her head toward the middle of the road, anticipating what it would feel like to drive off, surrounded by supple leather.

She looked through the man setting up his garbage bag tent, just a few feet away.

I do not think she saw him.

Uber Gas Buddy

priceofgas

 

 

My late afternoon ‘ping’ passenger was down the hill from my house, in the industrial park. “Patty” jumped in my backseat without entering a  destination.

“Where are we going?” My usual question, before my passengers offer “How long have you been driving for Uber?”

“I can’t say, that’s why I didn’t put a place in. We do have to make one stop, before that,” she said. “I ran out of gas, somewhere on the I-5. Don’t worry, we can find it. But a gas station would be the first stop.”

We headed to the first gas station. I say ‘first’ because that station had run out of gas cans. It was only Thursday and the cans were gone. Not a good sign. The second station had one. Then, off we went down the I-5. [Or, is it plain I-5, without the ‘I’?]

“Where do you think your car is?” I thought I’d get a wee idea of the area. I-5 runs smack dab into Camp Pendleton, one of America’s largest Marine base, hugging miles and miles of scenic California coast.

We passed the last south of San Clemente exit, passed Trestles beach and kept trucking south.

“What brand is your car?”

“A little Fiat. ”

A little Fiat. On the northbound I-5.

“Yes. I was late for an appointment, so I thought I’d just get to San Clemente, but when a Fiat gas gauge registers “E,” it’s empty, no leeway.”

Camp Pendleton covers both sides of the highway. No way to turn around, unless sneaking through the Highway Patrol turnaround dip, after the INS Stop-and-Desist installation.

NOTE: Mr. Dictator: We do not need a wall, not with those guys who peer into your car when the INS system suspects a breach.

At last, I could see her car, three miles further toward Mexico [I’m a writer. Instead of saying ‘south’ I thought the reference to Mexico is stronger.] I was surprised that her car was still there. Someone could have come along with a truck and shoved the wee car into the truck’s belly and disappeared..

I urged the car off the highway at the first off-ramp, did a U-turn and headed north. I turned off the Uber fare as soon as I pulled up behind her car, parked a car-length behind her, put on my emergency signals and waited for her to fill her car with the gallon of gas. Of course, the thought that we both could be smushed flashed through my mind. I ignored it.

It took ten minutes, but she got every drop of gas into her tank, came back to the car, picked up her purse from the seat, then handed me $10.

“This is cheaper than AAA,” Patty sold software for a living. She’d figured out the trip and expenses. She’ll go far.

I don’t think Patty will run out of gas again.

I looked at my gas tank. One eighth of a tank. Now, that would be a great ending, but my S-Ca-Pay is like an old VW, and would get me back to San Clemente, another 20 miles, unless I was attacked by illegal aliens, running down the hill, escaping from a band of Marines.

“Would you be interested in . . .”

images.jpeg

When I get a ‘ping’ to fetch people from a hotel, especially in Fashion Island, Newport Beach, I know it’s a trip to see John Wayne in all his iron fantasy in Terminal #A.

The Islands Hotel has a limited entry way. The first man, John, came out very fast and leaned down by the passenger window.
“Don will be here in a moment. Don’t know what’s taking him so long?”
John started to get into the passenger seat, then jumped out.

“He should be here by now. I wonder . . . ”

I could see pal Don coming down the driveway, dragging two luggage pieces.
“Oh, my God. I forgot my luggage,” John jumped out. I opened the rear boot door, got the luggage and men into my car, then started toward John Wayne Airport.

“You’d be better after having a beer or something,” Don said

“Yup. What a couple of pals here, suffering from two  hangovers, we have,” added John.

I tried to change the subject. Many times, I’ve thought I should have aspirin or a cool beer to tame the wild, hairy dogs of morning-after withdrawal on Sunday morning Ubers.
“What airline are you taking?”
“We’re going to Salt Lake City, yes we are.”
“Oh, Salt Lake. What airline?”

Without missing a beat: “Excuse us, Ma’m. Do you have a moment to talk about Jesus Christ?”

This is new.
“You’re not wearing white shirts! Where are your badges?“ Then, I remembered the show. I sang, the first few bars of “I Believe . . . I am Mormon!  .  . . ”

“No, we have heard about it.” They even talked in unison.

“You must be the only Mormons who haven’t seen the show.”

“Oh, we’re not Mormon.” The boys again in unison, sounded like a mini-Tabernacle choir.

“I thought so. With hangovers . . . “

“Good clue. We’re the only two residents of Salt Lake who are not LDS. Most definitely not.”

“Except for cousin Josh,” Rob added.

“He never was, even before he turned 13,” said John.

I like to think that life is better for that Utah state, now that the two have returned to Salt Lake City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Many Cenks at LAX?

 

The Young Turks

 

Most of the time, my Uber celebrity experience means that I’m the only soon-to-be-famous person in the car.

Not so, late one Friday afternoon.

The name on the ‘ping’ was unusual.

“Couldn’t be,” I muttered. It was awkward. First time picking someone up at LAX. I’d waited 12 minutes before, got a ride who cancelled [do NOT cancel when you’re ordering an Uber at LAX. It takes 20 minutes to get back to the holding pattern!]

So, the second time, I waited 15 minutes.

Pick up at Terminal Three. I called, just to make certain. And to let him know that my car wasn’t black. It is silver grey. The shot of my car on Uber isn’t right. Many times, people don’t see me.

Even though I recognized the name, he didn’t sound familiar.

I lurched into World Way then pulled up toe Terminal Three. I went past him; called again and this patient man sat down in my back seat. I turned around, just to check if this person were the one I thought it might be.

It was. The Cenk of The Young Turks!

I think I scared him. “Oh my goodness! It’s YOU!. You’re The Young Turk of the Turks! I’m on your list. Get twitter feeds all day long from TYT!”

“So, we’re working for each other, here.” Yes. An Uber driver who thinks Cenk Turks is something that everyone should listen to. Why? Because, I was a Young Republican. For many years, standing alone for capitalism, working hard to get more work, figuring out how to get myself out of danger, then getting back into it. Not so since GWB took a huge bonus and destroyed the Middle East . . . but you know all that.

Last year, at Politicon, I’d met Newt Gingrich. Tried to get an answer as to why he never responded to my letter of resignation to the Republican Party. If I’d seen the light, where were anyone else with a brain?

“Where is everyone else?” I would ask myself, after I’d realized that the [R] didn’t stand for Abe, Ike or anyone with a heart anymore.

Now, in my back seat, was another one. Only famous and noteworthy as a spokesperson.

We talked of current events, most notably the Turkish upheaval into right-wing camps. And, the one we have here, with the [R] party’s final – they’ve been working on this since Nixon – take into the realm that begins takes on 20th century fascism.

He also told me about where he asked his wife to marry him. Not far from where I grew up.

At the end, he shot me in my grey car, and I heaved a sigh of relief. I’d gotten him home, while engaging in a decent conversation.

That’s what Uber-ing is all about. Oh, check Cenk and the rest of what the world needs to hear at The Young Turks!

How Many Cenks at LAX?

 

The Young Turks

Most of the time, my Uber celebrity experience means that I’m the only soon-to-be-famous person in the car.

Not so, late one Friday afternoon.

The name on the ‘ping’ was unusual.

“Couldn’t be,” I muttered. It was awkward. First time picking someone up at LAX. I’d waited 12 minutes before, got a ride who cancelled [do NOT cancel when you’re ordering an Uber at LAX. It takes 20 minutes to get back to the holding pattern!]

So, the second time, I waited 15 minutes.

Pick up at Terminal Three. I called, just to make certain. And to let him know that my car wasn’t black. It is silver grey. The shot of my car on Uber isn’t right. Many times, people don’t see me.

Even though I recognized the name, he didn’t sound familiar.

I lurched into World Way then pulled up toe Terminal Three. I went past him; called again and this patient man sat down in my back seat. I turned around, just to check if this person were the one I thought it might be.

It was. The Cenk of The Young Turks!

I think I scared him. “Oh my goodness! It’s YOU!. You’re The Young Turk of the Turks! I’m on your list. Get twitter feeds all day long from TYT!”

“So, we’re working for each other, here.” Yes. An Uber driver who thinks Cenk Turks is something that everyone should listen to. Why? Because, I was a Young Republican. For many years, standing alone for capitalism, working hard to get more work, figuring out how to get myself out of danger, then getting back into it. Not so since GWB took a huge bonus and destroyed the Middle East . . . but you know all that.

Last year, at Politicon, I’d met Newt Gingrich. Tried to get an answer as to why he never responded to my letter of resignation to the Republican Party. If I’d seen the light, where were anyone else with a brain?

“Where is everyone else?” I would ask myself, after I’d realized that the [R] didn’t stand for Abe, Ike or anyone with a heart anymore.

Now, in my back seat, was another one. Only famous and noteworthy as a spokesperson.

We talked of current events, most notably the Turkish upheaval into right-wing camps. And, the one we have here, with the [R] party’s final – they’ve been working on this since Nixon – take into the realm that begins takes on 20th century fascism.

He also told me about where he asked his wife to marry him. Not far from where I grew up.

At the end, he shot me in my grey car, and I heaved a sigh of relief. I’d gotten him home, while engaging in a decent conversation.

That’s what Uber-ing is all about. Oh, check Cenk and the rest of what the world needs to hear at The Young Turks!