Wednesday, April 15, 2015


There was a sound of savage howling from Broadway in which the words "motherf*(ker" and "I'll f*9k you up" were prominent, and repeated.
A goggle-eyed yuppie-type, probably a drugged-out computer programmer stopped and begged me to give him seventy five cents. "It's real important, dude, I really need seventy five cents!".
He looked far too clean and prosperous to justify donating any amount of money, and I adamantly refused. I do indeed judge people by their appearance, and the circumstances in which we meet. And I do not like opportunistic attempts to gain money or sympathy right outside bars, banks, or drug stores. It suggests bridge trolls. I don't pay them either.
I had stepped outside to smoke. It was long past midnight.
Northbeach is where the buffalo roam.
Mad drunken buffalo.

For many years, the bookseller and I have met for drinks once a week. Rotgut red and coffee over deepfried stuff at one place, a pint of beer down the road, and Irish whiskey elsewhere. We've happily observed the rutting and madness at the intersection of Broadway and Columbus, as well as heard the foul bellows of twenty-somethings at karaoke.

[SOURCE: Nighthawks painting at The Art Institute of Chicago, wikipedia commons, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper 1942 . From Wikipedia article: Nighthawks.]

We both used to live and work nearby. It never was much better.

There are two Broadway bums I rather miss. One of them was Rufus, who only had four sentences: "gimme a quarter", "get me some Ripple", "buy me a hamburger", and "got a cigarette?". The only other thing I can recall coming out of his mouth was when we ran across him in front of the stairs with his pants down around his ankles, and he graciously indicated that my girlfriend and I should go on up ahead.

Old wrinkled naked black arse-wattles are just as unsightly as old wrinkled naked white arse-wattles.

I cannot unsee that; you cannot unread that.

Picture moist and spongy looking.

You are welcome.

Social services finally took Rufus away. He probably lived for several more years, and they had to burn down his room when at last he fell asleep.

Something about the person trying desperately to get seventy five cents suggested a Ripple binge. A search for meaning, perhaps an experiment with living disgracefully, possibly depression over being in San Francisco long after the beat generation.
Maybe an existential crisis. His snake died, there is no on-line support for his favourite video game anymore, a frantic attempt to be far less dull and standard-issue, or despair over Starbucks not being open at that hour.
I doubt that it was anything significant.

Perhaps he intended to join the unhappy rowdies on Broadway, and pacify them with a slug of Ripple. Ripple is potent ju-ju. It suits the clean and financially prosperous young elsewhere-migrant perfectly.
And it's far better than fruity cocktails.
Or mojitos.


I've had popular American fortified dessert wines only once. It was end of term at the academy, and we took up a collection to send someone out for drinkies. One should never task an elderly hippie with getting liquor; we were expecting maybe some chablis, or a nice chardonnay.
We'd even settle for rosé. But we got bum wine.
More bang for the buck.

It is by far the most popular beverage in North Beach.

Nah, not going to mention the name of the place where we were drinking whiskey. It's a dive, but gratefully they do not serve Ripple.

When we left, the noise from Broadway had subsided.
The dessert wine had taken effect.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

No comments:

Search This Blog


One of the great things, truly great, is the amount of naked skin during a heat wave. Naked white female skin. Shoulders, backs, stomachs, a...