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Oakland Carnaval Carnival Parade

August 5th, 2002

The Adventure
I notice that Ebert and Roper liked Signs just fine, thank you, so I guess the Chronicle review wasn't necessarily typical. Not that Ebert and Roper are a guarantee of any kind. Very few guarantees in this world. Newsweek too, I see, reading as I was waiting in the doctor's office, says the director and the movie are swell. Well, well.

Today has become the last day of my vacation, since I managed to show up for my biopsy appointment last Friday and learned it had been scheduled for Thursday and that I was a dumb fuck. I've been skirting along the edge for too long, I guess, paying just enough attention to make most of my appointments and pay my bills, but not enough, it seems, to keep track of another biopsy.

I still have a copy of Gail Sheehy's Passages around here somewhere, a book that attempts to describe, as I recall, life's various mid life, early life and late life passages. She was in her late thirties when she wrote the book after a brush with death while in Ireland as a reporter covering the rebellion. I know about turning thirty, forty and fifty. Thirty was interesting, I guess, but I don't remember thirty or fifty being in the same league as forty and now, what with biopsies and an aching back, the dreaded soon to arrive sixty. My mother, who is 85, claims I am but a youngster. Somehow this gives but little consolation.

Fifty was a surprise, but it was more an introduction to the body and its various parts, much like an American automobile turning its fifty thousandth mile. Sleep apnea. Irregular heart beat. Cholesterol. That sort of thing. Now we're looking at sixty and having our prostate perforated looking for the usual suspect. Twice negative, thrice, I don't know. I don't recall Sheehy discussing sixty, but then I read it when I was in my thirties and turning sixty was out there somewhere hidden behind the rings of Saturn. Saturn, I notice, has been showing up in my horoscopes lately.

Still, good, perhaps, to get back to work. Take it sensibly, see how it goes. No word I've been laid off the way I was on my last vacation, but something is coming and these almost three weeks off now make it all that much closer. They want you to take vacation when they're planning layoffs. Saves them money.

Biopsies, layoffs, old age, kind of a crock when the weather is so nice, when you've had a good breakfast, a nice (mercury laden) tuna fish sandwich for lunch and a swell chocolate chip muffin out at a table on the sidewalk for dinner. Then, of course, you notice the blood in your urine, but that's expected, part of the adventure.

The banner photograph was taken at the Oakland Carnaval parade.