Sunday, April 30, 2023


I'm sitting here this morning lamenting my inability to move.  Oh, man, yesterday I moved.  I was a real motor scooter, I was, but this morning, I can barely hobble from room to room.  I had a most fabulous day.  I was bubbling over with enthusiasm and couldn't wait for today to see what would come next.  But when I got up from the couch to shut things down for the night and go to bed, I found what I hope was the last shard from the glass Red broke one fun night.  I found it with my foot.  Painfully.  It went deep.  Man, I can really bleed.  I did, too, across two rugs and three floors.  The place looks like a crime scene.  I didn't bother to clean it up last night.  I just needed to stop the bleeding so I could get under the covers and go to sleep.  

I'd forgotten about all that when I woke up this morning. . . until my foot touched the floor.  Holy shit.  I can't put my weight on it.  I put on a pair of shoes to distribute the load, but I can't walk on it without a limp.  Now I am limping on both legs.  It doesn't work.  The bloody remains are everywhere, bloody paper towels, trails of blood across the floors.  It looks to be a crime scene.  My enthusiasm for life isn't what it was yesterday, but I will try to reclaim the magic here in words.  

I have little hope, but here goes.  

As you can see, I put on what I am calling my normcore short and something other than flops.  What I found out, though, in my wandering, is that this isn't the thing.  Shorts apparently should not be khaki, and they should be about half as long.  Apparently people need to be able to see your junk when you sit down.  All I can imagine is that all those boys are wearing tighty-whities underneath.  Still, I was ready for my daylong trek.  

I headed out the door early.  I don't usually get out the door before mid-morning, and that is to the gym, so I already had that "stranger in a strange land" feeling.  But I had planned my route.  I was going to do what I had suggested I might the day before.  I wanted to buy some hippie things.  I began my quest on the Boulevard.  Wait.  What?  Hippie things on the Boulevard?  Indeed.  My friend has had a little hippie shop there for years, Timbuktu, selling trinkets from the far east, prayer flags, incense, and those tiny little Buddhas I was in search of.  

I was lucky.  On a crowded Saturday morning when the hoi-polloi cruise into town for the Farmer's Market or to stand in line to get a table for breakfast, I found a parking spot.  I had to make a quick and dangerous U-turn to get it, but it worked out without incident.  The Boulevard was jumping as I shuffled my way up the sidewalk, as always, seemingly going against the crowd.  But I was out, and I was getting jazzed.  

The hippie store was crowded, but I knew where the little metal Buddhas were.  Yup.  I saw the one I wanted, maybe three inches high.  I picked him up and turned him over.  Holy moly!  Like so many places, I haven't been here in years.  My buddy has decided, it seems, to charge Boulevard prices.  Wow.  Were he here, I wouldn't have to pay retail, but he is hardly in the stores (he has one in Gotham, too) any more.  I put the little enlightened one back on the shelf, shook my head in disappointment, but I saw the braided anklet I mentioned yesterday and made my purchase.  I mean, it could be a bracelet.  I'll have to decide where to tie it on today. 

My next stop was on the other side of town, the little hipster strip mall across the street from the Cafe Strange.  I wanted to go to the CD store.  Yup.  That's right.  They sell albums, too.  And the store is always packed.  It is where I used to get all my music.  They have listening stations, and I would find oh-so-hip stuff, but now it is all online.  I don't know anything, but as I say, they do a booming business.  The walls are covered in posters for bands playing in local clubs, the kind of things my old band would do long ago, pictures, weird fonts, misspelled words. . . the whole shebang. It is a time warp.  I used to be friends with the owner, but he sold the place long ago.  The fellow who owns it now, however, has really good taste in literature, so once in awhile I stop to peruse his book section.  

One title intrigued me: "You Are a Bit Happier than I Am."  I've since Googled it.  Yea, I am going to need to go back and get that.  But I didn't buy it just then.  I looked at the books, and I looked at the doodads that filled many of the shelves.   

I left empty handed.  

Stepping out of the store, I saw a photo I wanted to take.  I had cameras in the car.  I haven't used a camera other than my phone for months.  What the hell, I thought, you are in no hurry, so I went back to the car, grabbed a camera, and walked out into the street through whooshing traffic to stand in a slim medium.  The picture won't amount to anything in all probability, but that wasn't the whole point.  I was doing something, not doing nothing.  "Do boy."  Yea.  

What a day, I thought, as I headed back to the car and on to the next little hipster market just a couple blocks away.  

The market is a couple of buildings with outside seating.  It has changed a bit since the last time I was there.  Some businesses are gone and others have taken their place.  The good bread shop is no longer there.  Sad.  They had really good bread.  A mochi shop has taken its place.  There is an "artisanal" coffee shops selling expensive beans, a cheese shop, a new juice bar that has replaced the old one, and a biscuit place that sells chicken biscuit sandwiches.  In a separate building that has been attached by walkways, there is a great ramen shop that Ili and I used to go to when it first opened.  The staff was nice and we were always able to walk in and sit at the chef's table.  Then the place got busier and more famous and sometimes we would have to wait.  Now. . . forget about it.  There is always a crowd, always a wait of an hour or more.  I haven't eaten there in a very long time--but I miss it.  The good news is that they now have weekend brunch hours.  Maybe, just maybe, it might be possible to get a seat without a wait.  I plan on giving it the old college try.  

But I thought I would just get a chicken biscuit thing to go, so I stood in line behind a moronic family that took forever to make their order, then longer to figure out how to use the card swipe to pay for it.  I had lined up behind them, but people were queuing up through another door.  I figured the little irritatingly slow hipster girl with the cropped hair and face metal would recognize that I had been waiting, though, so I stood patiently looking around at the crowd.  The little goblin, however, refused to recognize me.  She did that with a big, fake smile to a fellow who had come in through the door.  Yup.  It was probably my shorts.  

I went hungry.  

My next destination was not a hippie place.  I headed for Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  They are, as you know, belly up, and they were having their clear the inventory sale.  I need cocktail glasses.  Mine have all broke or have been broken--ha!--and I thought they might have some glassware I could stand.  

The store was packed.  I limped around trying to find the glassware.  And there, by gosh, by golly. . . there were six heavy, plain cocktail glasses.  Perfect.  There was no box of them to be seen, however, so I picked up the six display glasses and headed for the register.  

"Oh. . . I don't know how to ring these up.  I'll need to call the manager."

And she did.  And boy. . . what a deal.  By the time he had figured everything out, I got the six glasses for ten dollars.  No matter what else, my day was a success.  

Onward.  I headed for the Voodoo Store.  It has everything required if you want to be a bruja or a witch.  I think they consider themselves Wiccans, but the place was full of Caribbean women this fine Saturday.  They were pouring over the jars full of herbs and newts and whatever.  You think I'm exaggerating, I know, but I'm not.  If you want to cast spells or speak with the dead, they have a whole library of books to teach you how.  I've had several girlfriends who believe in this stuff.  One worked for the largest publisher of spiritual guides in the world, Llewellyn Worldwide.  Another just believed in mystical powers.  She loved this store.  

I thought about getting some Lucky Mojo, but I was embarrassed.  The woman at the counter was too beautiful for me to admit any lack of mojo to.  Besides, I have gotten some of it back of late.  I mean, yea, for a minute, you know. . . a girl here or there. . . .  But then again, you can always use some backup.  As I moved from room to room I looked at the little figurines, of which there were plenty.  Most looked like bad ju-ju things, but I found some Buddhas, too.  

That's what I thought anyway til I got it home.  I didn't have my glasses and I didn't see the weird huge hand the thing has.  Holy smokes--No!  This is not what I want.  I am going to take it back.  I can't have this in the house.  On the other had, I picked up something that has already stirred some controversy. 

I'm keeping this one.  My friend puts this in the same class as the old lawn jockeys that have disappeared, but I said no, this is African.  I don't know.  Maybe this will bring me bad ju-ju, too.  I may have to take both of them back.  But that is o.k.  I want to see the beautiful woman at the cash register again.  She had an extraordinary look.  She reminded me of those tribes of Ethiopian Jews.  I tried not to look at her while her colleague rang me up.  The colleague was an older Brit who was having trouble with the card reader.  

"You need a six year old to help you," I said with a giggle.  She agreed.  She told me that her teenage daughter had to help her with the AI thing she made to advertise her candles.  "She told me I'm old and don't understand what young people on Instagram want to look at."  

"You've used AI?"

She showed me what she had made.  Wow.  It was a knockout.  

"What app did you use?"

She pulled it up on her phone.  "Wonder."  That's the name of the app.  The Ethiopian Jew looked over and grinned.  She joined the conversation.  I won't tell you what she was wearing, but I yearned to photograph her.  

When I got home, I pulled up an AI app.  I typed in the words "Ethiopian Jewish tribal witch."  Here is what I got. 

It's too cartoonish, but it isn't all that far off.  What can I say--I used a free app.  

When I left the hoodoo store, I headed back to where I saw a fellow hanging his laundry up to dry on a hurricane fence.  This part of town is just beyond the two mile limit from my home, just on the outskirts of Gotham, and there is the beginning of squatters quarters here.  It is what is referred to in local parlance as Viet Town.  It is at the intersection of two old highways, and many of the businesses are Asian now.  I don't know what had happened to the fellow hanging his wash, but it was all gone when I went back.  No photo.  As I crossed the highway heading home, though, I came across something wondrous, at least it was to me.  

Really?  I illegally parked the car and jumped out.  What was this place?  When had it arrived?  I walked around the corner to look in.  There was a lot going on here.  

The coffee shops and street food places were packed.  I took a paper menu.  The food sounded tasty.  I walked back to The Moderne.  I looked inside.  Wow.  I mean Wow.  I pushed my phone against the glass hoping to get a shot and avoid reflection.  

It looked like a Chinese Gangster bar from the 1930s.  How did I not know this?  What have I missed?  It looks like the kind of place where "something might happen."  It is a nighttime place and doesn't open until five.  When I got into the car, I looked online at its menu.  I'm going to need to go here soon.  I tremble.

That's what happens sometimes when you get out of the house, I guess.  Not often, of course, but on some wonderfully magical day, the stars align and everything is new.  

After a visit with my mother, I bought a rack of ribs and shared dinner with a friend.  It was, I should say, quite a day.

It is raining now.  It will rain most of the day.  No matter.  I can't walk anyway.  Think I'll do some yoga and meditation and then take a hot Epsom Salts bath.  I think it will help the cut on the bottom of my foot.  I will clean up the dried puddles of blood and wash my new glassware.  I'm all yin again after a day of yang.  

Isn't it incredible, though, that adventure and romance can sometimes be so very close at hand.  

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