FEBRUARY 3, 2012
LILY AND THE JACK OF HEARTS
So anyway, by now the dismal news has spread throughout the Bay Area. In countless livingrooms, the TV has gone silent and Dungeness crabs sit half eaten with bowls of pistachios and scatterings of chicken wing bones littering the floor and the coffee tables among the chips and dip while the guys are all packing up to get on home to the missus and their beds so as to be ready for work on time, bright and painfully early.
Super Bowl XLVII has come and gone and our guys did not come out victorious this time. Instead, the sons of that rough and tumble seaport city on the East Coast known as Baltimore captured the title. At least it was not Dallas. In the Old Same Place Bar, Eugene was complaining again and again to the Man from Minot about the bad call - or lack of any call at all -- regarding the interference on that Michael Crabtree.
"Look at that replay, would ya!" Eugene jabbered. "Look at that! The man was all over him! The ref was blind, I tell ya! Blind!"
It might be said, no championship game is worth its salt without at least one missed call just like that one. And so, Tradition Prevails. We really would have won, and still deserve to do so, were it not for that @#$#$% call. The ref was blind, I tell ya! Blind! . . .
In a way, since New Orleans was not in the running, we are kind of glad another seaport city took the title. Baltimore is another "dirty old town", not unlike Oaktown, with grease under its fingernails and a hearty American flavor about its soul. At least it was not Dallas. Please god, anything but Dallas.
At other tables and other parts of the rail in the bar, life goes on, and it might be said, entirely without any regard to what happened at Super Bowl XLVII. It is generally common knowledge that the greatest day of football is a great day to go to a museum, see a movie, visit a park and generally take the air any place one normally finds long lines.
The freeways become a joy because all the imbeciles who perpetrate road rage are screaming in front of a TV set, venting. You can finally get out to Modesto in the old travel time to visit your grandmother and return without worry about some penishead piloting a cherry-red Miata with a pistol.
Over at Mr. Howitzer's the usual game party was running out its due course in the Rumpus Room. When the Tv version got too tedious, the Blather kids got together with the Cribbages and the Pescatores for a little touch ball game on the Strand. It did not look like the home team was likely to win, so the kids decided to carry on in their own fashion. Out on the Strand all the upperclass kids banged into one another as if they knew what they were doing and they carried on with touchdowns and whatnot, but of course it all decayed into a frenzy of atavistic rending and tearing and thumping, because kids like this were reared without the idea that an independent umpire or referee was of any importance.
The rules always were rules that were supposed to support their own position, an idee fixe that is peculiar to certain highly right wing, Ultra Conservative households.
So things got chaotic with sprained ankles and bloody noses and all the adults retired to the den to discuss the more important matters concerning the uptick in stock options while Dodd, as usual, was left to clean up the mess and keep the children from murdering each other. Eventually he secured the lot of them in the dungeon once maintained by a Howitzer who had entertained a BDSM fetish, and so the kids kept themselves occupied by locking each other up in manacles and hoods and flailing around with leather whips and playing dare with the electric cattle prods.
There really is not too much difference between American football and BDSM anyway, when it comes down to basics, right down to, and including, the fanny pat.
This is a real uncomfortable time of year for us in the Bay Area, this time after the Holidays are all passed and the cleanup after the Annual Island-Life Poodleshoot has been done so that people come to believe this fiction that we are a genial lot of Islanders with a few provincial ideas coupled with antiquated ideas about old houses and historic preservation for the good of it all, very stoked with humanitarian values and liberal leanings.
That is all poppycock we foist on the tourists to keep them coming and forking over tourist dollars for ridiculous bowls of crab chowder served in sourdough bowls like this is something we provide our own kids for lunch.
In reality we are all sour Californians who cannot stand each other and who seek any sort of rich opportunity to get in each other's way so as to make someone really miserable in hopes they will move away and so allow us a little more space and all of the stuff in their garage.
Well some of us are like that. The rest of us are like Wavy Gravy, genial and loving both dogs and kids and always having adventures that haphazardly prove that human beings, although rather stupid and sometimes dangerous nevertheless remain stubbornly loveable and worth preserving with enough hope to produce another one in fond delusion that somehow, someway, this next iteration will in some fashion by some mysterious process impossibly improve things and not totally eff things up the way so many of our neighbors do.
But in this pre and post season time we don't have a lot of tourists coming around to distract us and give the guy standing on a milk crate painted bronze head to toes something to do down at Fisherman's Wharf; he has to bide his time playing Angry Birds on his Kindle in a bar with an Irish coffee beside -- skip the whip, just coffee and brandy. The wild bushman has nothing to leap out at to startle and so he sits disconsolate with his sere branches and a fortified tea cup in the deep winter chill, waiting for Spring's awakening.
The Bay Tour boats rock gently in their Jack London slips and the Presidential Yacht once owned by that President who sat out a world war in a wheel chair has no visitors and the night watchman sweeps the decks of the carrier that fetched astronauts, now a silent museum.
So,if you wanted to really see what we are like, now would be the time for a visit, drop in for a spell while all the Hollywood has gone to sleep, leaving Paradise just a name on the map up in one of the most dirt poor baking hot in summer counties in the nation try to explain itself and fail with half hearted mumbles in the dark.
It is said that the conditioning experience that truely defines a Californio is not earthquake, not fire, not loss in the sense of property damage, not attachment to wildly nonsensical '49er spirit which itself was rooted in avarice but the common experience of disappointment, of arriving here or being born and raised here only to find that the only Eden to be had is that which you make yourself and that to be taken away by inevitability, much in the manner of Life itself.
Then there is the Island, a one-time Navy base now bedroom community packed to the gills with nutcases and exhausted common-sense folks just trying to get through the week without resorting to murder. A little island that hosts the Home of Truth right there on Grand Street. The place from which the Doolittle squadron departed to harass Tokyo in its martial pride during the Second World War.
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself against infection and the hand of war, this happy breed of men, this little world, this precious stone set in the silver sea, which serves it in the office of a wall, or as a moat defensive to a house, against the envy of less happier lands, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Island, this nurse, this teeming womb of heroes, fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth, renowned for their deeds as far from home, for Christian service and true chivalry, this land of such dear souls, this dear dear land, dear for her reputation through the world . . . .
In the Old Same Place Bar, Suzie cleans up the sad remnants of the Superbowl party that never took off along with Padraic and Dawn. "Suppose the next ballyhoo shall be the Valentine's Day thing." Padraic said.
Dawn asked Suzie if she was ready for this one and Suzie had to reply that things were tight. The year had come round and the landlord was upping the rent again. Word had it he was evicting anyone who had so much as hinted of tabacco use just so he could boost the rents that much more and take advantage of the economic upturn.
"Economic upturn!" Dawn exclaimed. "I'd like to see some of that around here!"
Yet still it looked like Suzie might have to be looking for another place and things looked really bad with the Island for all the greed that was in it. People were asking thousands for nothing better than a hole with bare room for a bed and a pot to piss in. All the folks fleeing the bad situation across the water in Babylon were driving things up past extreme.
As for Valentine's day that was a fine thing for people who could afford it and it was all about sales and much bother about nothing else.
Now now, Dawn said. Some day you will find yourself a fine lad.
All the lads that are be nothing but trouble and little worth! Suzie shouted and stormed out to the bathroom.
A moment of frigid quiet hung like an ice crystal mist in the air of the bar and began a slow dissolve to the tatters and shards that littered the floor.
Ah, be leaving the girl in peace would you now, Padraic said in a rare for him moment of compassion and Dawn was tossed by embarrassment into an acre field of silence for a while. Perhaps it was the misguided affaire with that tango artist which ended up sordidly in an Italian prison when it turned out the man was wanted in six countries by Interpol. Or perhaps it was the general sense of disappointment that comes with flying a bit too high, or wanting too, in romance that often afflicts young women. Who can say what dark aches tear at the heart of a young girl during the witching hours of the night?
So while a young, beautiful girl sobbed in the toilet of the Old Same Place, the long howl of the the throughpassing train ululated from far across the water, across the star-crossed waves of the estuary and across the disappointed grasses of the Buena Vista flats as the locomotive glided past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off on its journey to parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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