Monday, January 9, 2017

Last Resorts

Howard's Tablet Comes Back From The Dead
I am at Starbucks pecking away one character at a time on it.

I was able to bring it back to life by holding the on/off button down, while simultaneously inserting and removing then reinserting again, the charger.

I also pinched the power button between my fingernails and pulled it outward -the opposite of pressing it. One of these tricks seemed to have fixed it. For now.

I called Howard's number, after procrastinating. It was Sunday night, and there was then no doubt that I wouldn't be showing up to watch football that morning or afternoon. The phone was answered by his housemate, Ken, as I had expected.

He was defensive about the whole subject of the tablet, as it turned out that he was the one who had given it to Howard. His tone of voice betrayed a bafflement over why Howard would have given it to me to try to figure out how to use it. "I know a lot about computers."

He suggested that Howard could use it to go on the Internet, and pointed to the fact that he (Howard) went almost daily to the library, where he got on the Internet.

I suspect that Howard goes there because he is a voracious reader, and because it is part of his routine. He might just enjoy what little human interaction is available there, too.

Ken thinks that Howard will easily be able to learn how to navigate the touch screen, about which there is no instruction in the little manual that came with the thing.

Myself, I was cussing at the thing in Starbucks (I'm back home now, supplementing what had been written one peck at a time) every time I accidentally brushed the screen with the side of my hand and the device interpreted that as a "swipe" and took the prescribed action, like opening some Google application, which I had to be careful about closing, lest I close my entire browsing session and lose all my painstakingly pecked-in characters, or whenever the caffeine made me double-press a letter, or twitch and accept the "auto complete"ed word. ...I was typing "device," not "deviate." Now I have to backspace it out...I hope I don't miss the backspace button and change my text to Chinese...
I, totally by accident, discovered that by planting two fingers on the screen, the text in between can be highlighted and then formatting applied to it. "Now, why the heck is it doing that?" is what I think, Howard's response would have been.

But, It's working again. And I can retrieve more of the videos that I shot. And shoot better ones.

Warm Enough To Busk Again
The temperatures are supposed to rise from below freezing, to back into the 70's and have already made a move in that direction.

I have been feeding Harold tuna and salmon off my food card, these past freezing days.

I had a few cans of the flavor that he doesn't like, that I had gotten as part of a 4 for the price of 2 deal. He likes the other 3 flavors. I wanted to see if I could trade them to Rose and Ed; maybe their cat would love salmon and chicken liver flavored food, which is normally expensive.
I knocked on their door, holding a half dozen cans of it.

Ed opened it and immediately made a motion for the cans, saying: "Oh, cool..." He must have just assumed that I was there to give them to him.

I tightened my grip "Um, Harold doesn't like this flavor, and..."

"OK" said Ed, and reached for them again. ...that's fine, you don't have to explain...
"I'm trying to trade them, Harold doesn't have anything else to eat.

"Oh, we don't have any food, ourselves, to trade, we don't even have anything to feed our cat right now..." with another look at the cans. I had the feeling that he was hoping that I would just give him a can. Or two.

Poor Rose and Ed's cat...

"I have to get something for it; I've been feeding Harold salmon at two bucks a can, off my food card..."

I got out of there just as the words "You have money on your food card?!?" were forming on his lips.

A Last Resort

Precious coffee traded for tobacco.

I bought a couple their coffee using my gift card, in exchange for the first 12 dollars to touch my hand in over a week.

Their coffee was $11.19.

The weather has had an impact on the economy here, in general. This morning I was skeezed for cigarettes by two separate guys whom I sometimes just hand them to, just because they never skeeze me for them.

If I see them sitting on the computer with a half smoked "cigar" cigarette on the desk near the mouse, then I can see the situation that they are in -not only have they been reduced to smoking those half priced, half the nicotine, half cigarettes; they are putting them out half way, to conserve them.

I have been there before, and have compassion for them. One is black (Arnold) and one white (Gary) by the way, so race is a non factor, here.

I had no cigarette for either of them. They seemed to understand my being so destitute after these few nights that have been too cold to play. This tells me, at least, that they share some of the same compassion for me.

On And On, Until I Quit

Another black guy who was hanging around the smoking area as I was walking past with a cigarette in my mouth kind of held up his hand to his smoking buddies, who were visiting here, as if to say "watch this" and then approached me and asked for a cigarette. I got the feeling that he was demonstrating me to them for some reason.

"I can't afford to give my cigarettes away," I answered, and then threw in "I get asked 20 times a day," just to hint at the fact that he was just another chance encounter, not even an acquaintance .

"Well, can I have the rest of that one?" he persisted, in a tone that implied: certainly you wouldn't begrudge "a brother" that!

"To tell you the truth, I'm gonna put this out and smoke the rest later."

Then, he pulled out a half pack of Kools and said: "I got cigarettes; I was just..." and trailed off.

...You were just...what?!?, I was thinking.

He was just trying to see "where my heart was," I believe.

I've seen that before. And to demonstrate to his friends how much hatred for his race the white guys "around here" exhibit.

"Yeah, I figured you probably had one already, and were just trying to get something for free at my expense," was my answer.

I was right underneath the camera which monitors the smoking area, or I might have balked at including the last bit. He might have swung his fist at me. How dare I imply that he has no right to expect some support from me?!?

Not only are beggars choosers here, they are self righteous, to boot.

If I would have given him the last few puffs of the one in my mouth, he probably would have handed me a whole one "I was just seeing where your heart was..." A whole Kool for a few puffs of an American Spirit, what a rip off that would have been for me...

So now I go to get a 7 dollar pack of American Spirit cigarettes and I will probably give one each to Gary and Arnold, fostering feelings of racial impartiality. When the skeezer (who will almost certainly materialize out of nowhere) asks "Can I have one, too?" ...I see you over here, passing them out... I'll have to test him by saying: "I just gave away two of them, that 's all the generosity I can afford today."

A decent person would understand. ...that was nice of you to give a couple away...

A skeezer would be overwhelmed by a sense of "everyone else got one; where's mine?'" and might press me with "I just want one cigarette! What's the big deal?" as if I was being "trifling."

"If it is 'just one cigarette' that I'm making such a big deal over; then why are YOU making such a big deal over that same cigarette, because I'm not giving it to you?"

And on and on it will go; until I quit (smoking).

I really don't feel like going to work tonight. I have had the same feeling in the past when I had "jobs" that I "had to" go to. I would get ready when the time came, and then go off, with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I guess I have to force myself to do the same tonight.

I wish I could separate into another of myself who would give me a pep talk.

"Look, you're living your dream life. Your "job" is study and practice music and then go out for an average of three hours (not eight) a night.
 In the worst case, you won't make anything, and will come back home, where you have food and coffee and cigarettes and a couple of cans of Harold's favorite food, with a bag of dry food to go with it.
The weather is improving, and there is very little to be depressed over.
Maybe Bob will sell you a little bud for the couple bucks that you have left out of the twelve, and then you can make a party out of the occasion...


alex carter said...

I'm really glad I never started smoking!

I think I'd get sick and tired of the black people and their entitled mentality in New Orleans in a red hot week. Already we have too many of 'em in San Jose. How many is too many? Well, if you're in your apartment and you see *one* cockroach, that's already too many, isn't it? But there are more than one, trust me. San Jose is supposed to have a very low percentage of blacks but I'm beginning to think the numbers are bogus - I think they're increasing and I may have numbers behind this argument as the crime rate in San Jose has been rising and somehow no one can figure out why...

Daniel McKenna said...

Yeah, the whole 'baby momma' setup; where black women become impregnated through a plethora of fathers, wanting nothing but their gene pools (I want a tall girl with pretty hair and a couple of strong boys; football players would be nice, and then one quiet intellectual boy) and raise a huge family that way in this society that leaves no child "behind"...there might be a correlation to the rising crime rate, there;
And I've see a lot more gay black guys cropping up over the past decade...this might be because they are more open in this politically correct environment, or because I'm in New Orleans; where stuff that might get you tarred and feathered elsewhere, doesn't raise an eyebrow, unless it's one that's been plucked and drawn over, LOL

Daniel McKenna said...

*or it might be because they have no male role model of a father

alex carter said...

I read your post again and Rose & Ed, she of the permanently black eye in my mind, are the ones out of food, and you traded coffee off of your food card to some yuppies for $12 or so cash, not doing this transaction with Rose and Ed (she of the perpetual black eye).

New Orleans has been crazy as far as gay or just weird people, for more than 100 years. So that aspect of living there doesn't surprise me. But what bugs me is the thought of ever living around black people, who seem to have their hand out, any ideas of self-sufficiency having become unfashionable with them decades ago.

Frankly, I put up with this shit in Hawaii. No, next to no blacks there thank God, but the idea that if you're white you must be rich, and if you appear to be poor, it must be a sham, you've really got gold bars under your bed etc. etc.

This assumption among the Asians who own and run Hawaii is to keep you, if you are white, out of college if they can (and they almost can) keep you out of jobs, etc. The reaction among blacks appears to be rage, so a white guy much poorer than them can get killed in a shake-down, for being poorer than them.

I'm not real crazy about Trump being elected (although I'm not sure if he was actually the *worse* choice given the choices we had) but if it means some whites get some backbone and stand up for themselves, well, that's a good thing.

And as all of this betrays, yes, a while back I was considering moving to NOLA because I knew I'd always have a place to sleep by the Welcome sign or under the dock, and the rents seemed lower than in California, where the vast bulk of the workers are gonna make the same $12 an hour there or here. But the blacks ... And the fact that NOLA is actually becoming as expensive as California. Rooms seem to be about $600 a month and guess what? Rooms all day here in Silicon Valley for ... $600 a month.