CHEAP EATS The chicken farmer has a high tolerance for surreality ...
Woke up on a strange couch with a strange cat on my arm that was not Weirdo the Cat. It was a strange time of morning. I could tell it was morning by how badly I had to go, but it wasn't the slightest bit light out. Went, came back and made love to the cat, but could not fall asleep.
I thought about things.
Things were pretty fucked up, almost everyone would have to agree — with the possible exception of me. Things are not fucked up, things are not fucked up, I said to myself, like a little engine, and the cat rubbed its dewy black nose against my white one. I knew it was going to be a kind of a day, but still could not sleep.
The instant it got the slightest bit light out, I bounced off the couch, found some coffee in the freezer, rinsed the French press, and made my new favorite cup of coffee. Wish I knew what kind, but the bag was blank.
Not a clock in the house, no phone. The radio on top of the refrigerator told me, eventually, that it was 5:55, the fog would roll off by noon, and traffic was not yet an issue. In a strange bathroom, I dumped one of the strangest loads of my life, a Dairy Queen Dream with a slight, spicy curry goat afterbite, followed shortly by two Solid Gold encores, pause, applause, and a lingering bouquet that could have raised Bukowski from the dead.
The cat seemed interested.
Put on my weirdest pants, with red, orange, and yellow flowers and big pineapples, a not-weird-enough shirt, watered the cat, played bite-my-finger-no-don't-bite-my-finger with her, packed up my sleeping bag, and went across town to wake up my sister-in-love, Diane.
After breakfast we helped line Market Street for the Pride Parade and waved and went, "Woo!"
Diane became more interested in footwear. I lost her somewhere between the Shoe Pavilion and that other one, and wandered wonderingly until lunch, looking for someone, anyone I knew, and smiling a lot, even though I never found them.
I had already made a lunch date at Little Delhi on Eddy and Mason, just a block off of the parade. There were billions of beautiful, interesting people decorating the streets and sidewalks, but I like to be unfashionably early for things, so I sat inside at the counter and watched some soccer on TV while waiting for my new friend Elliott.
Gotta love an Indian restaurant with a counter.
Elliott showed and we sat in a booth and ate butter chicken ($7.99), saag paneer ($6.99), roti ($1.50), naan ($1), and rice. Everything was great. We talked a lot about a lot of things, including punk rock and bagpipes, but one subject we did not touch on at all was Mr. T Cereal, because that had already been covered in an e-mail. In which I apparently displayed such mastery of the subject of the obscure ex-delicacy that Elliott presented me a trophy, an old Yoko Ono 45 with a plastic lobster glued to it and the typewritten words: "you win."
I was proud.
As they were clearing away our plates, a cockroach, to everyone's embarrassment but mine, dashed from under one and paraded across the table. I waved, went "Woo!" and squashed it.
Then, instead of playing baseball, I rejoined the party. Called Earl Butter from a pay phone (50¢) and said, "Butter, get your straight ass down here and be proud with me."
"Coming," he said.
And he did, and we found a few things to dance to before the prospect of warmth, pork chops, and rum called us back to the Mission.
On Van Ness, trying to chase down a 49 that wasn't even close to moving, we walked into an old pal who hadn't seen me in a while. He'd heard, but had assumed it was a prank. My clownishness haunts me.
Our old pal's married, having a girl, and he gave us both business cards. "You always seemed so masculine," he said to me. Amused, like I like it. Not challenging.
"Yeah," I said. Felt drunk, and left it at that.
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