Sunday, October 9, 2016

Eating Bread With Friends

  • $35 Saturday
  • I Commit a Faux Pas

I feel kind of depressed, despite having followed a 23 dollar night with a 35 dollar one, having played well and entertained at least one person who sat and listened for at least an hour and tipped well.
I called Howard's number this morning.
I hadn't slept since returning at 3 AM from busking, drinking coffee and reading the Sunday paper until the sun came up, and then becoming interested in the talk on the sports stations, hyping the day's pending football games.
I remembered that Howard had told me, the last time I visited him, that he was planning upon getting a new and larger TV, and that he would give me the antenna and converter box off the one that he was using.
I was kind of calling to see if I could go over there and pick the stuff up. That would allow me to pick up something like 20 channels that I could watch in "low definition" on the TV that I now use only to watch VHS movies on.
His phone was answered by Ken, who also lives at the same house across the river, and who answers for him as he (Howard) is hard of hearing.
Ken said that Howard was in church, but that he would be home soon and that they were going to have a Thanksgiving meal. A "Thanksgiving in October," as he put it.
He encouraged me heartily to come over, saying that we all could watch football, that there would be a few other people there that I might like to meet, and that surely the Patriots game would be televised, since it would mark the return of quarterback Tom Brady's to the field after his 4 game suspension.
I started to think of the logistics of visiting Howard.
I would ride my bike all the way there (probably about 5 miles) if I could, because it wouldn't cost me a cent, but bike traffic isn't allowed over the bridge which touches land just a few blocks from Howard's house, and rerouting my trip over the next available bridge up the river would turn it into more of a 15 mile ride.
A mile and a half ride to the library would put me where the bus to Howard's picks up. It would only be $1.25, but if its bike rack was already full (which it frequently is) I would have wasted time.
The other alternative was to ride 2 miles to the ferry, which is 2 dollars, runs every half hour, and has plenty of room for bikes on it, but lands a bit further from Howard's house.
I was laying on my bed, trying to figure out the best way to get there when I drifted off to sleep, waking up about 20 minutes after the first game already kicked off.
Since I had about 54 dollars, I decided to do the "dead tired man"'s thing, leave the money-saving bike at home, and take the street car to the casino, where the Patriot's game would be as likely to be on as it would have been at Howard's.
It didn't dawn upon me that I was being rude in the sense that I was just blowing off the trip, and wasn't even planning upon making a simple call to let them know. I just imagined them thinking that I must have gotten sidetracked; no big deal.
I blame some of that on being disoriented from lack of sleep.
The last time I had visited Howard, I got the impression that he was very happy to see me; but had only a small appetite for hanging out socially.
After a couple hours, he became fidgety and started to make comments to the effect that the game had been pretty much decided, and had lost a lot of it's entertainment value. He made mention of the fact that he had to be up early the next day, and basically was dropping hints for me to leave.
I assumed then that, since he is such a creature of habit and was not in the habit of having visitors that, as happy as he was to see me, he was going to breath easier after I left and he could get back to his routine.
I got to the casino to find that the Patriots game was not on, but watched the other game and was kept abreast of the Patriots periodically.
I guess common decency (the way it had been instilled in me long ago and far away) finally tapped me on the shoulder and I called.
I told Ken about having fallen asleep and then taken the trolley to the casino because I felt too tired to even want to ride my bike.
I got the impression that they had cooked extra turkey and stuffing and had set a place for me, and that Howard was excited and looking forward to seeing me; and that I had done a bad thing, at some level.
"I wanted to call, in case you thought something happened to me..."
"Yeah, we did," said Ken. "Howard kept going out front and looking down the street for you..."
I feel depressed.

Lesson Learned

But, I guess a lesson, that I had started to learn the night before, had started to sink in. About what is most important in life.
A young black guy named Lawrence had sat by me at the Lilly Pad and listened. We did a lot of talking and, at one point he referred to a proverb or something which basically said: It's better to share bread and water with friends than to sit at a feast with enemies.
I had a chance to sit at a feast with friends, but was too tired and lazy to pedal my bike a few miles to do so.
If Howard had told me that he had gotten a new TV and that I could come and pick up the converter box and antenna anytime, I would have surely made it over there, though.
I need to cement that lesson in my psych and stop acting like so many people around me do.



alex carter said...

So, in short, a nice meal was not enough to impel you to make the effort to go there; a free TV and converter box plus the nice meal, is your price.

Daniel McKenna said...

"Nice meals" don't mean much to me; because not everyone understands food issues and/or avoids MSG or processed cheese. I would probably have only eaten plain meat and skipped the stuffing and sauces; but I have had people spoon stuff onto my plate and insist that I try it; "tell me this isn't the best darned sauce you've ever had; I made it myself! (my secret is egg yolks mixed with hydrogenated soy oil in corn syrup sprinkled with MSG, with plenty of food coloring to make it my "Tulane Green Wave" Sauce!!)
Had Howard said that he had the converter box and antenna waiting for me; I would have hopped on my bike right then, exited enough to go get it.
For a game which didn't start for another 4 hours and might not even be broadcast; I decided to catch a few winks before heading towards...
Then, waking up after just 90 minutes of sleep after having stayed up 24 hours, made me me feel even more tired than before I slept.
That's why I decided to just ride the trolley to the casino.
Howard often cancelled things due to tiredness or a slight headache, but I still felt bad. Next week they are having gumbo, I was told, and I will have a chance to redeem myself, and might just have a bit of eczema on my two days off afterwards....

alex carter said...

Tulane Green Wave Sauce!!!!! That's hilarious. Yeah, I get it; they'd spoon all kinds of shit onto your plate (that you didn't ask for) then get all butthurt that you didn't gobble it up - maybe even talk a bit of dirt about you after you're gone.

I've mentioned I've been given a keyboard, that's leaning against the wall here. I was told, "Now, I'd better hear something you've learned on it next week" - on her piano that makes exactly the same sound as the ones in the movies with a guy pounding away on it, a beer on the corner of it, etc. just before the guy ducks a hail of bullets and the piano's rendered into kindling. Jangle, jangle.

I'm sure Howard will hang onto the antenna and converter box for you if you pick it up within a reasonable time. And, the way TV is broadcast now, you can get 3-4 programs on each frequency like say, what we call channel 5. It's pretty neat, actually.

alex carter said...

PS - about gumbo. I took my employer to Cafe Stritch, a place that's known for jazz music and "the burger", a rather good hamburger. So being the kind of guy he is, having been told all about "the burger", he ordered a French dip which he credited with being "edible".

I decided to try the gumbo, which was quite good. And had baby octopus in it. Which of course inspired my friend to tell me a friend told him "we really should not eat octopus because they're so smart".

And people wonder why there's a course at MIT all students have to take, something like "manners for engineers". Hell, it seems to me it'd take more than one class; maybe something akin to the training the Green Berets go through, but for manners. He eats like it's the last food on Earth, and I swear there are starving slum-dwelling street children who eat snack foods more slowly and neatly than he does. He's a Weapon Of Manners Destruction, having made more than one dinner party unbearable because he got into one of his political jags.

Anyway, although I'm not that big a fan of octopus and squid, the gumbo was quite good and how smart are octopi anyway if they're in my gumbo?

Daniel McKenna said...

I think that the people who know that octopus and squid are aphrodisiacs tell outsiders that we shouldn't eat them because they are so smart; when actually they are trying to reduce the chances of those dumb enough to believe that, of reproducing...

alex carter said...

I keep forgetting you're into all kinds of pseudoscientific gobbledygook. I was born in California where seafood is a thing and grew up in Hawaii where seafood is really a thing, and this is the first I've heard of this theory.

Daniel McKenna said...

I was once told by a Portuguese guy that octopus was good for *makes suggestive gesture with finger and hand* I'm just going by what random Portuguese guys tell me LOL