JOSE DRIFTS

April 23, 2012

So anyway the last dockwalloper of a storm passed, leaving gorgeous skies and eighty-degree weather into the weekend, showing that Mother Nature smiles upon Earth Day celebrations.

Another storm is due for a possible flyover with cloudy skies this week and some raindrops on Wednesday, so we will have to wait to see what the weather-frog will do.

In the old days we all had weather frogs

In the old days we all had weather frogs, which we kept close when the skies got dicey. Some said they changed color with the barometer and some said their behavior became skittish in advance of thunderstorms.

When Sgt. Rumpsey was a little tyke, long before he became a department store security guard and parking enforcement officer, he took his weather frog out to the road and nailed to the fence there so he could keep an eye on that pesky critter, which had been fond of running away.

This failed to add to little Rumpsey's limited store of meteorological knowledge, but earned the wrath of several members of the Ladies White Glove & Haberdashery Home & Garden Committee. The LWGHHGC really took exception to this defacement upon the image of the Community's probity.

"How dreadful! Someone will think we are Anarchists!" exclaimed Eustice.

Rumpsey, as was his wont, blamed the crime on someone else. He preserved this tendency toward attribution as he grew older. He came down there after a display of perfume had toppled over and collared a distinguished lady in pillbox hat with widow's shades. "Here now you ruffian! You will have to pay for that!"

She turned out to be of the De Young family and there was much ado about that error, but since Rumpsey had friends in the Department and had lived in the same rooms with his mother for 40 years, nothing serious could be done about him.

It has come to Spring and our little rituals

It has come to Spring and our little rituals. The Native Sons of the Golden West Parlor 33 1/3 took the opportunity to clean out the boathouse and spiffy up the Ancient Relics, which consisted of bearskins, fur hats, a stuffed badger, and several implements dating from the Gold Rush.

A breeze came up while the stuff was lying out there on the green, scattering the packets of golden poppies, which put David and Roberta into a terrible wax.

All over the Island the heady scent of jasmine embraces each one like a lover. Roses are bursting and a spray of calla lilies has erupted with abandon at the new Island-Life offices. Birds-of-paradise and exotic trumpet flowers showily announce their California statehood, the buckeye twists and turns, and, of course, there are the poppies. Scads of golden poppies nodding all over the place. Meanwhile the iceplant has finally justified its drab existence with carpets of violet and purple.

long hours of playing Angry Birds while rain drummed

The glories of Spring's Onset which spark up the place before things get really dangerous visited even the Household of Marlene and Andre which had gotten cramped during the long wet season. Normally, the place functioned well largely because most of the residents remained outside at any given time, but with the bad weather there had been a lot of doubling up on the bunks and long hours of playing Angry Birds while rain drummed on the roof of the one-bedroom cottage.

"Those birds got no reason to be angry," Quentin said.

Quentin, simple man that he was, refused anything to do with the game, identifying more with those harmless pigs the birds wanted to eradicate from the earth. "Those birds got no reason to be angry," Quentin said. "The pigs are just there minding their own business, not bothering anybody. There is something awful National Socialistic about this business of Angry Birds I tell you."

But then Quentin could be amused for hours by a carrot. Go figure.

Pahrump was philosophical. "The Angry Birds cannot help their nature. They invite us to be common a-holes on the level playing field of morality, which is the new Norm."

"Right," said Marlene, who had a Psych degree from UCSF. "It is up to each one of us to avoid being the enabler in their pathology. We must walk away from the trap."

everyone in the household caught pneumonia

So Pahrump said, lets take a walk, even though it was raining. When they got back, they started coughing for several days and everyone in the household caught pneumonia from each other.

This was no common flu but the full-blown pneumonia which had been sweeping the East Bay for months and which neither the CDC nor the local authorities had copped to, for fear of jump-starting a run on DVDs of the movie Contagion.

Heaven knows what kind of chaos that would have lead to: Widespread screaming, hysterical jumping up and down and all sorts of health shenanigans in a broken healthcare system most practitioners were desperately pretending had not a snowball's chance in hell of continuing another decade.

Meanwhile people in the Bay Area have been dying of pneumonia right and left while the Authorities dither and pray for early summer.

All of the household recovered okay because nobody possessed the sad excuse for health coverage called "insurance." Since cost was not a factor, everyone got treated at various clinics, although it was touch and go for a while.

The only one who did not get sick, Jose, took to sleeping in Wally's rowboat under its tight weather-cover down at the marina to get away from all the sickness, which very nearly proved fatal when the mooring detached during a storm.

Jose . . . awoke in the middle of San Pablo Bay

Jose slept through this breakaway and awoke in the middle of San Pablo Bay where the incoming tide had swept him overnight. He popped open the cover, expecting to walk on over to Sterndollars for coffee only to find he was adrift amid miles of water. He knew he was not out at sea, for he could see the Benicia headlands to the north and the Oakland hills to the south.

He had about $2 worth of change, some peanutbutter crackers and a slice of bread so he ate that, kept the change in a plastic bag, and drifted some more, longing for a glass or three of wine. A couple lost orca whales passed nearby and looked at him curiously. Jose waved at the whales, who, not finding him or the boat edible, spouted and humped onward, looking for egress to open ocean.

When he had to pee, he stood up and went over the side as he passed underneath the bridges to Vallejo. He waved cheerlily up at the passing cars and trucks and a semi honked at him. An excursion boat passed by then, and the women on the boat looked angrily at him and so he zipped up without calling for help.

Eventually the little boat drifted near marinas in the Carquinez Strait where he hailed down a sailboat loaded with Catholic schoolgirls.

"Gee mister," one of them said. "You kinda smell bad. You sleep on that thing?"

Jose told them he had survived by dining on raw shark fins and jellyfish. He made up a story about being adrift for twenty days and nights

"Ewwww!" One of the girls said. "That's gross!"

"That is so uncool," another girl named Agnes said. "Don't you know shark fins are like going extinct? I hope you didn't throw away the rest."

Jose swore he had not, but had eaten the whole thing.

"How big," asked Agnes.

Jose spread his arms, exaggerating his fiction the way many men do.

"Wow!" said all the girls, exaggerating their awe the way most girls do.

They put him ashore near West Pittsburg, home of the Fighting Pirates.

"Next time leave the sharks alone," Agnes said. "Sharks are the Scavengers of the Deep."

Jose promised he would.

he and the store clerk fought off robbers

He was some fifty miles from home and it took a while to get back to the Island, during which he slept on the clubhouse floor of the Martinez Hells Angels, had a number of adventures with silver-maned cougars on the prowl in their Lexus automobiles, hitched a ride with a trucker who took him the wrong way to Reno in the snow where he nearly froze to death in a laundromat, had some pressured moments with an amorous salesman driving a pink Caddilac who really was not his type, and got involved with a hold-up at a 7/11 where he and the store clerk fought off robbers in a two hour battle with fire extinguishers and little packages of pepper spray sold at the counter before the guy realized he had a loaded shotgun under the register.

"Well that was a close call," the guy said amid the smoke and wreckage of the ruined shop. "We coulda killed somebody."

When he got back home several days later close to midnight, Javier wondered where he had been. But he had missed all the pneumonia by that point.

"Wussup homie," Javier said.

"Same-o same-o," Jose said. "But I think I gotta get a new rowboat for Wally."

"Why zat?"

"O, these kinda things always seem to happen to me."

"I got a new girlfriend," Javier said. "She's a nurse."

"Aiiiiiiaaa!" Jose clapped his head between his hands. "A real disaster!"

From far across the water, the long howl of the the throughpassing train ululated across the well-travelled waves of the estuary and the poppies nodding over the sleepy weather frogs of the Buena Vista flats as the locomotive wended its way 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.

Lyrics to The Onion Song duet

[Both:] The world is just a great big onion
[MG:] & pain & fear are the spices that make you cry
[Both:] Oh, & the only way to get rid of this great big onion
[TT:] Is to plant love seeds until it dies, uh huh

[MG:] Hey world! We got a great big job to do
Yeah, we need you
& everybody who loves truth
Don't you know we've got to clean up this place
& reach far high & oh yeah
[TT:] Yes we do
We gotta be headstrong about rightin' the wrong
& make a mountain of happy souls, oh; [MG:] Oh

[Both:] The world is just a great big onion
[MG:] & I don't care, it's the face people like to wear
[TT:] Yes it is now
[Both:] & the only way to get rid of this great big onion
[TT:] Every one single soul's got to do their share
[MG:] Tell about it, baby!

[MG:] So come on, let's knock on every door
Tell them love is the answer
Whether they're rich or poor, oh yeah
For we don't care what you do
How you look, or your status claim, baby
[TT:] No no, because brothers & sisters
From now on, is gonna be everyone's name, oh oh

[Both:] The world is just a great big onion
[MG:] & pain & fear are the spices that make you cry
[TT:] Yes it is
[Both:] & the only way to get rid of this great big onion
[TT:] Is to plant love seeds
[MG:] Now everybody, got to plant love seeds
[TT:] Come on & plant love seeds
[MG:] Until it dies
[Both:] The world is just a great big onion

 

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