Archive for August, 2009


Posted in bus, cars, life on August 31, 2009 by Nada

Smithereens. I like that word. It conjures up visions of meteors smashing into small planets or in my neighborhood it’s the felon fleeing police around 2am, taking out everything on the street corner – the bench with concrete sides, the bus and street signs, and the garbage receptacle.

Huey Ron’s photograph from the Remax bench back advertisement lies in jigsaw puzzle pieces all over the street. An eye is here and a lip, there. A twisted rebar concreted chunk, of what was once the bench, ends up diagonally across the intersection, leaning against the church and another steadies itself on a bus stop pole across the closest street. Cars drive through the debris, their wheels sounding like they are stepping on glass Christmas balls.

I estimate the vehicle’s speed at 90mph prior to impact. Accident reconstruction. I studied the book until my friend, Mary Tyler, pointed out there was a dead body in my favorite photo.

I call the police’s non-emergency number. When mayhem explodes in my neighborhood in the middle of the night, the police will move the larger pieces to one side, but that is all. Dispatch connects me to the City of Oakland. I vaguely recognize the woman’s voice.

“Flora, Flora, is that you?” she asks.

“No, it’s me Driver,” I say.

“I thought you were someone else,” she says.

She promises to send a street sweeper. That’s always the answer it seems. I could call in a 3 alarm fire, and the city voice on the other end of the phone would say, “I’ll send a street sweeper.”

I accept the sweeper and raise her a crew with a torch. A pole is bent, blocking the handicapped ramp. She accepts the crew with a torch and raises me a debris truck. And then she asks, “How’d this happen?”

“Meteorite. I’m pretty sure,” I say. The phone is silent. I try again. “Probably a wreck. Middle of the night. I’ve seen it before.”

The last one was a motorcyclist, racing up the hill from the cops, only there were no cops. He went headlong into the bus bench. His shrine of miniature whiskey bottles and candles lay on the place where he was killed until the middle school kids walked on them, and turned the shrine into litter. Then, I threw it all out.


Flower Stand

Posted in animal, bus, general weirdness on August 28, 2009 by Nada

Flower StandThis flower stand is in front of the San Francisco Transbay Bus Terminal. Their beauty is surrounded by grey buildings and sidewalks and punctuated by the smell of urine and unbathed homeless.
cannibalAnd then there was this fellow, a pigeon, lunching on a chicken wing. His delight was obvious, as he threw the wing in the air, stared at it, and pecked it voraciously. You would have thought he was at a 5 star restaurant, going after some free range clay oven roasted bird. I’m not sure, but I think this is pretty close to cannibalism, and I told him so. He acted like he didn’t understand English. A common problem around here. I mean there are those who genuinely don’t understand English, and then there are those who simply pretend not to. The bird was a pretender. He probably checks his bathroom mirror at night to see which head cock makes him look more puzzled.

Cigars Cigarettes Tiparillos

Posted in general weirdness on August 27, 2009 by Nada

Yard RollsThis is someone’s yard rolled up on a palate. I think it looks like fat cigarettes someone might smoke on a patio with a glass of brandy. Remember brandy? Maybe not. Maybe that’s a Southern thang. I used to be extremely fond of something called Harvey’s Bristol Cream. I drank it through the winter in Tennessee and switched to Miller Lite in the summer. Booze. Then I got hooked on sparkling wines for a while, or I liked to call them, champagne. The cheap stuff. Korbel. For a while, I drank a beer called Meister Brau. It was some solid gut rot purchased from the Stop ‘N Robs, but not before noon on Sunday because of the blue laws slapped into place by the Southern Baptists. Jesus was having none of the Meister Brau before lunch on his day. For a long period of time, I drank a boatload of White Russians. That spell ended badly with me on all fours, vomiting at the end of the farm road. Boones Farm ended the same way only worse. My mother had to take down the curtains in my bathroom and have them laundered.

Laundry Helper

Posted in animal on August 26, 2009 by Nada

Young and Old

Posted in animal on August 25, 2009 by Nada



Posted in health, life on August 25, 2009 by Nada

Ow. My broken finger finally started to hurt, so I took the tape off of it. The last two digits of the busted digit are fatter than they used to be and the skin is shiny. I hate these decisions I have to make all the time whether to call the doctor or not. Is this important or is it bupkis? I imagine how I would sound on the phone. “Yeah, doc, I broke my finger and now the skin is shiny.” I imagine him trying to disguise his laughter, so I don’t actually pick up the phone and call him. Instead, I go into the bathroom and cut a big chunk of hair off my top knot.

And I have a confession. It’s a psychosis really. I spend a good deal of time in the bathroom at the triple mirror trying to see if the back of my head looks like it feels. The back is a surgical disaster. There is the rhino horn they have sanded off, the downhill slant, the scar running from top to bottom, and then another dip. How can anyone’s hair cover this mess? The logical answer is it can’t, and yet, it does. How? And for this answer I stare into the mirror. I’m pretty sure when I walk down the street people are gasping, “Did you see that mine field on the back of that woman’s head. Others are answering, “No, I could not because of her weird haircut.”

Buh Bye Crack Phone

Posted in general weirdness on August 24, 2009 by Nada

My brother called me with a new phone number this week. He has one of those $15 cheap-o phones with purchased minutes. Their web site advertises “No bills. No contracts. No surprises. You’re in control.” This part, “No surprises. You’re in control.” makes me want to sign up ASAP, but I think they might be talking about their phone service and not life in general, as evidenced by my brother when he leaned over a barrel at his machine shop, and the Tracfone (or as we call it, the crack phone) slipped out of his shirt pocket, and went swimming in a vat of oil. There would have been a burial at sea but my brother’s reflexes were quick enough to retrieve the oil murdered phone. He drove to his gas station and got a new phone with a new number. When I asked him about the new number he told me someone from our old high school had tracked him down, sending him snail mail first, and demanding his phone number later.

“I guess you showed them,” I said. “They can’t call ya now.” Just for kicks, I called my brother’s old crack phone, the one that was dead. It wanted to take a message, a message my brother can’t retrieve. Score another one for our unending belligerency against our high school, 30 years after the fact, I might add. Unfortunately, the crack phone had to pay with its life in that war, but we knew there would be casualties.