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Archive for the ‘san francisco punk’ Category

Old Timey Fire Alarm

Press for Bell

I know everyone is simply dying to hear more about my daily morning commute. Not a lot has happened, since it was the end of the month and it was raining.

The rain keeps the drug addicts, can collectors, and other assorted homeless nogoodniks turtled up in door jams and other pockets of low hanging shelter. And the end of the month means everyone is out of gobermint money and holed up waiting on their checks.

Though, I did sit next to a guy in acid washed jeans and big scuffed up biker boots, carrying a wooden walking stick/cane. He was on an Obama Phone talking to his doc’s answering machine.

He was announcing that he really needed to be seen today and if he could not get an appointment, he was just going to sit in the waiting room until he could be seen. “Thanks Doctor. And God Bless you,” he said and snapped the Obama Phone closed with a grunted, “sheeeeet.”

As this guy was getting off the bus he struck up a conversation with another guy. This other guy was younger and scruffier and carrying what looked like a stand up bass case strapped to his back. I am sure there was no instrument in there based on the lumpiness of the proportions.

These two started talking about how bad these damn Muni drivers are anymore. Jerking back and forth. “The other day, this little ole lady almost took a knee cuz the way the bus driver was drivin’.”

These guys were walking a few yards behind me as we crossed the streets. I overheard the conversation without even having to try.

“I never take the bus. Well, I did but then I got off methadone.”
“You mean you got back on Hearon.”
(chuckles) “Naw man.”
“I am trying to see the doc to get a refill on the oxys. You can’t just take that bottle in and get them to call. You need to see the doc each time.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“So I gotta see the doc today. Get that refilled.”
“Uh huh. I am headed down to the methadone clinic.”
“Back on, huh?”
“Sure. Unless you get them oxys!’
The sound of their wheezy chuckles followed me as I turned heel at the corner.

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Today, I got an email from Chuck, an older coworker from my old job at the library:


First of all, what is this…
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Really John? What have you turned into?

There is nothing punk about texting on a Blackberry. Mostly because all the punks are too old to know how.

This email is funny. I did, in fact, get a blackberry recently. Mainly because my old cell phone was a laughable antique. It was a Verizon flip open jobber from about six years ago. It barely sent text messages and forget about emails. When people saw me use it, I got a lot of pity head shakes. And once someone asked me if “that was one of them Obama Phones.”

But the real reason why I got the new phone was because Noelle wants us to coordinate our google calendars. Which is a bit strange to me, because I never, really, use google calendars. “But now we can!” And this is going to help us keep track on our very, very busy and over-programmed lives.

The other funny thing about Chuck’s email the aging punk crack. For lack of a better word, the metalheads and hardcore knuckleheads I hung out with, mostly, sometimes, referred to ourselves and our nightly recreational activity as “punk.” It was usually tempered with a snide mumble or a sardonic pitch change.

In that vein, I can tell you it seems a lot easier to be punk in Cleveland, than it does out here in San Francisco. Probably, because I knew what I was missing when I chose to stay home. Knew who would be hovering near the stage or perched in a full lean against the bar. And I knew what time to show up in order to miss all the opening band nonsense and milling around social stupidity. The Cleveland “scene” was like walking into the living room of a house I grew up in.

The other aspect is that in Cleveland, punks tend to be bar bound at least four or five months out of the year. The bitter winters keep the stooges pushing back beers and packing on pounds, as they waddle across the ice and drive drunk through the snow showers. Whereas, the San Francisco “punks” might get some rain or fog in their eyes, but they can always ride their jousting high fixed gear pirate bikes, year round. And they can set up impromptu shows in abandoned warehouses without the fear of losing digits to frostbite.

And Chuck is right. I am too old to be actively punk year round, anymore. Especially, since I was raised with the expectation of a beer drenched hibernation a few months out of each year.

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