Archive for the 'On the Ground' Category

mixed messages

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

“They can’t put me on register.  I look like this.” — Guy (speaking to his co-worker) waves at his shirt and clothes.  He’s wearing something pro wrestler t-shirt or something.  Surely a bad message to us customers.
And so he continues working the stockroom.

I go to the register.  The woman working the register has on something saying, oh so cheekily.  “I Just Don’t Care”.

All righty then.

disambiguation issues

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

I look over to a tv screen in a public space, which has the words blaring on the screen “The Death of Will Smith”.

I do a double take.  And stare at the tv screen.  Talking heads fill the screen.  Wondering why I’m not seeing any b-roll of the Fresh Prince.

A woman walks by, and does a double take and says “WHAT?!”

They turn the volume up, and things make a little more sense.  This is ESPN.  “Outside the Lines”.  It’s a different Will Smith.  Football player.  Not the Will Smith I’m thinking when I hear the name “Will Smith”.

Why I care — even just slightly — about one Will Smith, I can’t say.  It’s not like I turbo-load dvd seasons of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  But we’re not going to be going through a period right now where we’re going to hear “Parents Just Don’t Understand” on repeat.

migratory patterns

Monday, November 28th, 2016

She identifies herself as from South Carolina.  Man from Kansas asks “You a red state refugee too?”

It takes two repeats for the meaning of this question to be understandable, so goes the polite laugh and “Sure.  Something like that.”

Sometimes things are a little more apolitical, or if they are political they are so indirectly.

“Did you see Nikki Haley was tapped for the UN post?”

“God, I hate that woman.”

And sometimes they are political.

“Let The Crops Rot”

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Red and black flags wave, signifying that alliance between Communists and Anarchists.  Street theater takes place in the form of makeshift bars with supposed prisoners chained in the midst.

I spot a politically reformatted Kaepernick jersey — black, either in solidarity with his political cause or signifying something more.  Interesting to note Kaepernick — after his stellar first half a season, and regression from there (to be fair, with his team decomposing around him), he was benched last season — and whether or not he starts this season, at least he’s a political cause celebre.  (Bigger than the game, and all that…)

They chant.  Convoluted.  “Free Political Prisoners!  All Prisoners are Political!”  A man in a mullet runs around, shouting “You don’t know what you’re protesting!”  Some spot communication occurs between an obviously pro protester and a leader tasked with dealing with disruptions off to the side.  This is a single minded protest, shocking the public in disrupting traffic flows requires a certain Rigidness of thought.

I spot a sign.  “Let the Crops Rot!”  This I want to get to the bottom of.  Fortunately, we get to a series of chants which would be interesting to untangle the proported intersectionality for this one.
“Black Lives Matter!” is paired next to something about water and thirst.

I suppose the Black and Red radicals have it in for Northern California, and don’t care about the drought conditions for such parochial concerns on the economics of agriculture, and view this as a resource war that trickles over the Prison Industrial Complex and…

weird things to teach your kid

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Kid with father in tow.  Father walks to me, asks “Okay.  Tell me this.  What are the two things in life that are inevitable?”

I stare, blanking.  “Don’t know.”

Father, impatiently sighs.  “It’s Taxes and –”

Me:  “Death”.

Father looks to kid.  “There you go.  See?”

Valuable lesson to teach this expression to your kid, right?

… didn’t start the fire…

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

I watched hordes of twenty-something year olds converge in roughly the same proximate location, hunting down Pokemon creatures whose images had been super-imposed on their cell-phones onto images of real space in front of them.

The Pokemon creatures are dancing in front of you right now, and someone’s zapping them by scratching on their cell phones.

Someone was talking about thinking of the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire“, in reference to thinking about current horrors — Oh, Orlando, Minnesota, and Dallas.  Sure,  And Pokemon Go is either a douser or opiate.  And, of course, we have been here before on mass popular crazes… which bring us all together, except for those who it doesn’t, or… is that great moment for a generation, unless it’s forgotten by the time the next one comes around…

distress sounds

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

“How are you?”
I give the universal “ugh” response.  Mind a bit … elsewhere.
“Go to pride at all?”
“No,” I say flatly.  She looks more than a little disappointed.  It takes me a second to register… maybe my lack of a showing at “Pride” fails a test of solidarity in the wake of a catastrophic hate crime, so I say “Sorry?”
Quickly, she shuffles forth with “About?”
“That I didn’t see the parade.”
“Oh, no.  No.”  Clearly not wanting to make me feel like a dick, “The parade was oh so long this year.”

Shortly she’d learn of a more immediate loss for me, and I suppose things would come around to make her feel like a dick.  The reality of her disappointment was probably along the lines of “failing to engage in topic the moment.”

who be that?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Overheard:  “She’s basically a female Bernie Sanders.”

My guess was Chloe Eudaly… came in second and will be facing Steve Novick in a run-off for city council… and is in need of elucidation and definition in conversations of matters political.
but the next sentence alludes to being a Senator…

So that leaves us at Elizabeth Warren.  Even though she has the name recognition and profile not as much in need of definition.  Though, I guess it depends on who’s talking and to whom.

on seeing vestiges of a past America

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Saw a guy in an anti- George W Bush t-shirt.  Two terms in, and with a different cast of characters floating about —

— If perhaps temporary.  Karl Rove will return like a bad dime, but does Roger Stone have any staying power post Donald Trump?

The t-shirt just seems odd.  It’s not like a vintage (ironic) “Oliver North for President” shirt.  And I don’t think Bush has the iconic status of a Nixon that Bush masks will be in vogue.  (Can you imagine the entertainment value of such things as the “Bush Tapes”?  Me neither.)

Maybe a Trump Presidency is necessary.  Just to pull back the remnants of the Bush Era, all the damnable bumper stickers people just won’t pull back.

euphemisms gone awry

Friday, April 29th, 2016

My guess is he’s probing for possible room-mates, and this is a setting I’d more than expect to hear this:

“Are you 4/20 friendly?” […] “4/20 Friendly?” […] “(sigh) Do you smoke marijuana?”

My best guess is that if you have to answer what ‘4/20 friendly means’, whatever they think of marijuana — whether negative or positive or even (probably infrequent) casual user…

the answer is no… they are not “4/20 friendly”.