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At the Solano Stroll
September 15th, 1999

Thirty Years Ago
Wuss just finished rubbing his face in the catnip thoughtfully provided this morning by MSW. He is not, I now realize, overly interested in the smells-OK-to-me-but-not-to-Wuss prescription cat food, although it seems to disappear at a rate consistent with keeping a cat alive, if not in the best of humor. Still peeing, which, on the one hand, means his urinary tract is not blocked (so he isn't ready to die on me yet), but, on the other hand, means there are more small dark spots on the chairs and one, this morning, on the bed. I have good advice on these matters from readers of experience: Febreeze and NATURE'S MIRACLE have been mentioned. Good. I will deal with this over the weekend. I will stop writing about it now.

Today I began inventorying our computers. We have desktops and laptops we use to test new software and to troubleshoot problems we're having in the field. We've got a big field. I'm turning fourteen 486 level desktops and six 486 level laptops in for disposal since we don't have 486 machines in the company anymore for Y2K issues. I should've done it a long time ago. Twenty computers that we spent $50,000 to buy and now they aren't worth the trouble to fill out the forms. Weird. I've lived too long in a reality where $50,000 is actual money. Or was.

But this is not about computers. Some days are longer than others. The Solano Stroll parade Some days write themselves, most of it in my head as I walk home from work. Others, like today, don't. Thirty years ago, on September 15, 1969, I started my first job at a small securities company in San Francisco. I'd just returned from Mexico and I was living in a loft at the Rip Off Press, mattress and blankets on the floor, a lack of money suddenly leading to a lack of dinner. The job was a "run into a school friend who had a friend who needed some cheap talent to write ads and brochures in the financial district" kind of a job. About real estate. Investments. Rates of return. And I needed a job because I didn't know California would pay unemployment to people just out of the army so I was dumb. And hungry.

I remember the rain, a hard rain, and the fact that day marked the beginning of what? Real life after school? Real life after the army, which like school doesn't count because you had to show up for reveille or they'd send you to jail? Made sense to take that job back then, makes less sense to me now, since given the opportunity today I'd buy a camera, draw unemployment and walk over to the Rolling Stone office to offer my services on a write now pay never basis, what's on the story board nobody wants to touch, please? Please? Buy a ticket, pack the typewriter, travel. Write hot copy in the style of Hunter Thompson who wasn't due to write Fear and Loathing yet for another year. Hmmmm. Not a lot different than what I'm doing now except Thompson has fled to Puerto Rico and I'm sitting here counting computers. Did I mention it was raining that day, 30 years ago?

The photographs were taken at the Solano Stroll on Sunday.