Credit cards

My bank has a big promotion and giant posters in its windows where I can customize the picture on my credit and ATM cards. I can get the american flag, My bank has a big promotion and giant posters in its windows where I can customize the picture on my credit and ATM cards. I can get the american flag, or myself, or my family, the golden gate bridge, or your dog, or kittens, or whatever.

It seems to me that since we have so many problems in this country with credit cards and over using credit cards, maybe we should pass a law that all credit cards should have pictures of famine starved people, war orphans, refugee camps, or something like that. It doesn't even have to be in other countries, it could be pictures from the aftermath of Katrina or forest fires or hopeless inner city/rural communities consumed with poverty and I want to say hopelessness but maybe that's just me. Or they could be people walking or biking to support cancer research or MS, just anything positive.

Anyway, this might help people remember (realize?) there is a larger world outside our own circles and maybe help us control our own spending.


Overheard on the bus

You are very complicated.
I have many layers, like an onion. Except I only make myself cry.


Janitor's march

The SEI Union for janitors is marching along the street in front of my company right now looking for a new contract. They aren't even cleaning the streets as they go. I wouldn't give them a new contract.
I happened to be on the phone with a friend when they went by and he asked if they were janitors and I said, well, they seem to be mostly latinos...


overheard at the coffee shop

He comes in late and sits down.

Sorry I was late, there was a lot of traffic.
Traffic? Nobody drives in San Francisco.
Then why was there all that traffic?

Indeed. He's having an affair. He probably doesn't even own a car. You can tell these things, even with perfect strangers in the coffee shop. And you know what - they aren't even perfect.


Earliest memories

Like most people, my earliest memory is from my childhood. I was maybe 3 or 4 and I was walking around a city with my father. As you may recall from previous posts, I grew up in a small town so were on vacation somewhere but, in typical fashion for my family vacations, we were not all together. Apparently today we had broken up by gender.

I remember walking up a hill in a city with a lot of people around a lot of activity. I will confess I might be re-imagined these specifics though since I had this memory while riding on a bus in Chinatown San Francisco. My father and I were walking down the hill and i remember taking off my shoe and carrying it in my left hand while holding my fathers hand with my other hand. He noticed my shoe, pulled me towards the wall, and told me to put it back on.

I handed it to him.

He handed it back and told me to put it back on. I held it. I stared at him. He said we would wait until i put it on. He crouched along the wall like he would at that time, both of us being much younger than we are now, watching the people pass. I wonder if he thought i would make a scene, start crying or running or pouting as I would often do. Instead, I instinctively moved to the wall myself with my shoe still in my hand and began watching the people. So many people just passing and passing and always passing and there were always more people where did they all come from I remember thinking. Where I grew up it wasn't anything like this, even during the annual potato festival, the busiest time of the year.

After a minute, or a child's minute and I don't remember if that is longer or shorter than now, I looked at my father. He was probably trying to teach me something, but maybe he wanted a break. Maybe he wanted a drink. Now, if I were in his situation, that's what I would want and we really aren't so different. I watched him watching the people pass. I loved him then, that he could just crouch there and wait. Actually, I probably hated him then, but I love him for that now. He had long hair and a long beard and I remember now what it felt like when I was a kid, course and hard and fun and playful. It was a time when people could look like that and be hated for being hippies but not feared for being terrorists. It was a simpler time. That is how time works in America.

We continually complicate things. I moved to a new country, across my own country, and still can't find whatever it is I seek. Even the stories I make up come and go. This one isn't really true at all. It popped in my head when I saw the cutest little girl with the most wonderful inquisitive happy eyes on my bus from where I live to downtown, a route passing through Chinatown. Her mother was putting on her shoe and I think she was curling up her toes so it wouldn't go on. When I babysat for my neighbors in high school, my parents told me that was a power struggle between children and parents. They were great parents (they usually still are...), and maybe I always remembered that somehow. These stories, they just pop in my head short and generally fully developed like this, where I just add detail and made up context, I like to say are from the collective consciousness. I don't know if I think I am being clever or if I really believe this, but i think it is a combination of both.