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SF Carnaval Parade.

May 31st, 2001

Don't You Think?
Another hot day today, yesterday setting a 93 degree Oakland record. I said it was humid, but maybe it was just hot and I don't remember humidity anymore, the kind of humidity you find in summertime New York, where I spent my high school years. Ninety three yesterday, 93 today, they're now saying a high of 68 tomorrow and windy. I'll take the 68 and windy. Farenheit, of course. Centigrade, we'd be dead.

So, first paragraph written, and it's about the weather. This is not a good sign. I started by scanning the photographs, since I have the new ones I shot at the Carnaval parade, and usually that's enough to set me off. Just a matter of filling the white space around them and presto, I've got an entry. This evening, it's hot, there is no wind, and my head is empty, so we'll try something else.

When I returned from work this afternoon and entered the front door of my building I met an upstairs neighbor checking her mailbox in the lobby.

"I see you drove today," she said.

What? Who is this person and what does she know about my interminable internal SF Carnaval Parade dialogue about walking? Does she know I not only drove into work this morning, but ate a bacon and egg sandwich in place of my usual yummy cold cereal, then dawdled for half an hour or so reading both of the local papers? The wrap your fish in it Chronicle and the evil, don't wrap your fish in it because the ink will come off Tribune, the poisonous ink will come off in the same way it comes off on your hands Tribune, and your poor damned fish, fresh or not, will kill you dead no matter how well you cook it? Does she know this? Is she some kind of fucking government agent! All this in the two seconds I'm standing there in the door thinking fight! - flight! - is my fly open? - does she have uniformed accomplices?

She smiled.

Then I remembered: We'd once talked on the elevator and I'd mentioned I was happy I could walk into work since I worked downtown. Still, how did she know that I drove today, and why, exactly, might it matter? I just stood there in the doorway looking surprised and she waited for a civilized response until the moment stretched out to embarrassing proportions and then she smiled again and entered the elevator. It occurred to me this sort of behavior on my part could make a bad impression.

I checked my mailbox for IRS notices. I checked my back and then the side entrance for suspicious characters before I opened the stairwell door and climbed slowly, one step at a time, watching for hidden cameras and assassins. They were waiting for me on the landing.

The really good stuff makes you paranoid, sometimes, don't you think?

The photographs were taken at the San Francisco Carnaval Parade. The quote is attributed to an English professor at Ohio University.