- $35 Saturday
- I Commit a Faux Pas
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.
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.