Saturday, overcast, but no rain. I drove to Telegraph (again) around 11:00 and found a parking space with a jammed meter. Unlimited parking. Whatever was wrong (you could see the near edge of a jammed quarter in the slot) the LED on the meter was flashing "fail". "Fail" seemed a good omen, the sun breaking through just briefly, the street crowded without being too crowded, camera ready, time for lunch and adventure.
Adventure. Had a hot dog and a side of potato salad at Top Dog, an open to the street hole in the wall with a counter and five stools that has served the best hot dog in the bay area since (the sign says) 1966 with the possible exception of the Noble Frankfurter that sold hot dogs in San Francisco during the 1970's just off Union street near the old Matrix. Hot dogs are not nature's perfect food and the older I get the less I like them, but life is better with the occasional Top Dog hot link or Polish with mustard and a side of potato salad. Free parking and a Top Dog. The day was progressing.
A clothing store on Telegraph (I've got a number of photographs of their mannequins that I've taken over these last three years.) had a new display so I stood and took pictures as the crowd passed. I wonder if any of them noticed this particular window design or if the very concept of window design, except for the big bucks Christmas department store windows, ever crosses anybody's consciousness. (Or if it should, for that matter.) Cheap thrills, finding a window filled with outrageously painted faces, spending all of maybe twenty seconds standing there on the sidewalk, blocking traffic.
I went inside and shot a picture of the chalk faced mannequin wearing wrap around sunglasses up on one of the counters. No one paid me notice. Old fart with a camera. No chance he'll buy anything. The tops and bottoms and whatever else they were selling didn't seem as interesting stacked out on the shelves as they did on the mannequins, but here I'm venturing even further out of my league. Says something, perhaps, when my courage only rises to the level of shooting mannequins behind window glass instead of people on the street. (Where's this going? Nowhere. Just another entry that's dribbled off. Well, stop!)
Sunday morning, after a night having trouble getting to sleep. I usually drop off within
twenty minutes of hitting the pillow, but last night was one I spent staring at the ceiling, getting up to walk around the place to see if there wasn't something I couldn't do for a while, watch late night - early morning television (wow), go back to bed, pet the cat, try to sleep, get up, check the living room (still there, no robberies in progress), go back to bed, think about art and life and getting older. I talked with my sister Thursday night and she said our mother would be moving into a residence home on the 22nd of this month, something we've all talked about for a long time now, and since they themselves were planning to spend a year in France, probably next year, I'd better think about keeping closer contact with my mother in Portland while they were gone. Yes, many things to think about, but my thoughts last night stumbled on the realization as I lay examining the ceiling for cracks that one day very soon, particularly if my sister should stay in France, that I was another step closer to the reality of being alone, really alone, my parent's generation, the icons of stability and power and protection, the people you could always count on if the sky fell or the arteries failed or the authorities got troublesome, gone, my sister with her family living in Europe. Shit.
Selfish self absorbed me, maybe, but that's what I thought about last night in that weird "pull up your covers" way when your nerves are singing "hello sweety, welcome to the abyss". Ah, well. One of life's hurdles. They happen, but fortunately they don't usually last for more than a sleepless night, nothing to worry about come morning, right? Right? Unless they were to become more frequent. Longer and stronger, they might make a good definition of what it would take to make me lock my door and hide. Just me and Wuss against the world. ("We found 'em in the kitchen, chief. They went down in a hail of bullets. Fucking cat had a machinegun!") Anyway, that was the thought as I finally dropped off, sleeping til 7:00, head clear when I awoke. Whooping it up here in Oakland, folks, over the weekend. (Well, at least the pictures turned out.)