Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Passing time

Before all the stuff went down with my aunt, I stumbled across the perfect post. In fact I was editing this post in my head up until the point that I learned that she had died. And then life took over and it got shelved. But I knew that one day I would have to post it.

I had decided back in May that I absolutely needed to have an iPhone. (And when I got the call telling me that I needed to rush to the hospital, it was on my new iPhone. But I'm getting ahead of myself.) Then I started reading the rumors that a new phone would be introduced. I knew that I should wait until June 9th for the announcement of the release date of the new phone at that point. I had hoped that the date would be before my birthday but it's just as well that it wasn't. I needed to wait for my birthday loot. And I had enough to get the 16G. Thing is that I decided that sleep and comfort were more important to me. I didn't get to the Berkeley store until 7:45 even though I had been up since 6:00. I still kick myself for that decision. The guy in line in front of me got the last 16 from the store and I had to settle for an 8. I was told that I could order the 16 and wait 7 days for it or I could take the 8 and if I decided that I really wanted the 16, I could bring it back when they got more 16's and pay the 10% restocking fee.

This was not the entertaining stuff though. While in line, some homeless guy walked past. And he started singing a song about how there were no more revolutionaries in Berkeley as they had all been replaced by yuppies. Most of us in line had to laugh. That was our mistake. He then realized that he had an audience.

As he chowed down on his oatmeal in a paper cup that he had gotten from the shelter, he proceeded to share his views of the world with us. There were the evils of capitalism. Then somehow we ended up on how homosexuality was wrong. He also was kind enough to point out to us that most gay men reside in San Francisco while Berkeley is filled with lesbians. And the worst part of these lesbians? Instead of laying with a man they use "artificial insimulation" to become pregnant. And no, that was not a typo on my part. These were his exact words. I shit you not.

He then shared his belief that people needed to find religion -- instead of pirate stuff. I mean pirates as in ummm pirates. He told us that Jesus walked into the temple and told them to get that shit out of there. A young woman in line behind me had issue with his use of "Jesus" and "shit" in the same sentence. He then informed us that Jesus was a Jew. Gee. I never knew that. And then suddenly we were on the topic of Islam -- his apparent preferred religion.

I believe that it was around this point one of the guys in line asked him about his food. There was a discussion about fruit and then he suddenly exclaimed, "Look how the white devil has tried to distract me from my real point. They do that." Of course, later on he tried to clean things up by pointing out that not all white people were evil. I think this was after he said something about some blacks being hypnotized and forgetting their culture. Uh huh.

Then somehow we found ourselves back on the topic of homosexuality. Well, some of the folk in the line had had enough and were speaking back. The people near me -- as well as myself -- had decided that it was best to ignore him. If he had no active audience, he would stop and go away. I couldn't help but whisper to the folks around me my take on the lesbian comment though.

"These women he's met in Berkeley? They're not all lesbians. They just don't want to be with him."

And then there were some chuckles. Well, after the women explained to the guys that sometimes we -- women -- say stuff like that to get rid of undesirable guys. I still wonder how many of them were re-evaluating past encounters with women.

All I could think was if he was my last chance for procreation, it was time for the human race to end.

So when he got back to homosexuality, some folks decided that they had had enough. Cellphones started coming out.

"Oh! Look at the white man pulling out his phone. He's probably calling the police. Doesn't he understand? This is Berkeley."

And the guy was right. He wasn't a danger to himself or others. The cops may have asked him to move along but that would have been it. He was on a public street after all. And if the PRB and free speech are not synonymous, then I don't know what else is. And you know what? That would have been OK with me. Stuff like this? This is why I chose to live in Berkeley. I love the fact that I never know what I'll encounter when walking down the street.

And this is one of the stories that I would have shared with my aunt. Actually as it was all going down, I thought to myself, "I have to call her when she has recovered from her chemo so that I can tell her about. I know she'll appreciate it." It's part of what has made the past few weeks hard. My life is now filled with moments that I'd love to share with her but can no longer do so. I've gotten past the crying a few times a day. (Perhaps learning yesterday that my stepmother will never be coming home again has replaced that pain. But I wasn't really surprised to learn that.) And my aunt's still one of the contacts on my cellphone. I just don't have the heart to delete it quite yet. Just like her birthday is still on my Outlook calendar.

But today I'm no longer kicking myself. Today I turned in my 8G for the 16G I ordered a couple of weeks ago. Because I'm still in my return period. So yeah there was a 10% restocking fee but I got the joy of practicing with the 8G for three weeks while waiting for my 16G. And so now while avoiding certain family members like the plague, I'm also trying to remind myself to enjoy the little things in life.

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