I was working in my studio and heard loud voices calling out to see if any one was down here. My first thought was that some tenant had buzzed drunken friends into the building and now they were lost in the back stairwell trying to find their way out or back in. I didn't want them to try to get into our apartment or my studio so I got up to redirect them. Swinging open the door wearing my stern face, ready to tell them to get the hell out of here and keep it down because people are sleeping, I found myself staring into the infinite black hole of a hand gun. Clutching it tightly with a solid aim at my face was a police officer. He was flanked by four or five others. All crammed in a narrow stairwell. Seeing this the once stern look I wore evaporated to reveal a total dumbfounded shock. Gripping the doorknob I inhaled- black hole. The officer yelled at me to come out of there. With out exhale I inhaled again- Black hole. "Sir! I have a gun pointed at you please come out of there!" Double inhale- BLACK HOLE. "SIR. MOVE OUT OF THE DOORWAY AND COME TOWARD US."
Shaking my head slightly trying to make sense of the scene in front of me I let go of the door and slowly walked toward them. Two officers asked me different questions at the same time. For some reason I didn't sound very bright as I tried to answer them simultaneously. Another officer carried out a quick sweep of the studio while two others moved out through the side door into the back patio area. Pepper who had been at the back window watching all of this opened the door to meet me.
The officer who had held me so closely at gunpoint apologized. I didn't know what to say in response. "Ah that's okay." didn't seem appropriate. So I just composed myself best I could an listened. He then informed us they had received a phone call that a gunman was in the building and they had been searching all the floors, rooftops and stairwells. Fortunately I didn't meet the suspects description so I wasn't shot.
All in all there were about 10 police officers deployed in the sweep of our building. In the end there was no gunman. Just a jealous, angry immature girlfriend who wanted to teach her boyfriend a lesson. I don't know what lesson he learned but I learned- Don't date crazy teenage girls with a disposition for drama and then spend the evening with another girl who's hotness is equal to or grater than the first girls hotness and expect the evening to go smoothly. And make sure, this one is very important, you never match the description of the suspect. Pepper might suggest add that one move more quickly when a gun is pointed at them. I'm not sure if sudden movements would have been the best course of action.
Even though there was roughly 15 feet between me and the open end of the gun. That barrel appeared to hover a few short inches from my future.
I said let's go to bed. We got up from our chairs, turned off the lights and walked out of the room. Instead of going to bed I walked directly to the computer and sat down to begin typing. I shut down applications I wasn't going to use any more, plugged my headphones in and pushed play. The entire Smashing Pumpkins, Zeitgeist, album was at the top of my iTunes party mix and it filled my ears through my junkie headphones not the good ones Pepper bought me for Christmas. Two years ago Pepper found out I am finally super easy to shop for. iTunes gift cards. I get excited every time I get one of the little plastic cards. Really excited. Without embarrassment or wonder. Maybe you know the wonder where you hope the gift giver believes you are really as excited as you seem. And then when you've given them enough of a show you feel a little bit bad that you sold your performance so well. Now they think you really love the yellow squishy thing that does some amazing thing that changed their life or they thought you would love so much because they were sure it was going to change yours. And then maybe you feel a little worse because you stop thinking about that whole thing and wonder why you put so much expectation on what a gift should do. Maybe it's more simple a thing. Maybe it really is just some one giving a thing they found and it seemed fun at the time maybe even a little funny and they thought it would seem fun to you for a moment. Or maybe even a little funny. But when you got it you didn't chuckle and you didn't think of how fun it was to receive a tiny little trinket. Instead you started your little routine saying how much you loved it through an unnaturally wide smile and a discourse on how useful it will be in your life all the while you are wondering how long you'll likely keep it before you can throw it away without any guilt. Well, the good headphones do not fall into that category. I was truly excited and surprised to get them along with some iTunes gift cards. The only thing I thought about was how long would they last through all my bus trips to school each day. I still use the case they came in. Except right now. It's the bad ones and the one in the left ear doesn't work that well. It shouldn't be an issue because my right ear doesn't work that well either. So I sort of always hope it will balance out when I put them in my ears. It doesn't balance out. So I guess I hear better than I thought.
If there is one thing I am good at it's not doing the thing I am supposed to do. I think I have always done this and I think I have always just considered it an artful way to live. Like my whole life is some kind of performance piece that I have been skillfully crafting for years. Take today for example I woke up and went to school. It was a homework critique and it took the whole six hours session. I sit with each student and break down the painting piece by piece. A lot of people ask how one grades art like I am going to agree with them that it's all subjective and anything can be called art. I see a lot of painting and very little art. Painting is very easy to grade. It looks like an apple or it doesn't. It looks like light falling across fabric or it doesn't. Easy. But tiring. That was it. The whole first part of my day. Talking and grading. Grading right to their face. It can be brutal. "I know you want to do this but with your best effort and all your time and money you've put into this you have earned a C-. Maybe you should go into insurance. People will always need insurance." I've said things like this, in jest of course, but totally serious. Having as many students as I have had I hope that one of the C-'s comes back to tell me how I was wrong about them and sticks their paycheck in my face or mentions my lack of belief in them in some interview they have published in a magazine. I would love to be wrong with that kind of outcome.
After class I made it to the bus stop. It was almost all I could do. I even ran for the bus. But it wasn't the one I wanted so I ended up waiting. Leaning up against a wall. Loitering really. The bus I ride is a school bus commissioned to take students from class to their dorms. I live a few blocks away from the dorm so it works out that I have a fast, free ride into school each day. All of that is great. I'm glad it's there. It's just these buses don't have real bus stops. The bus just happens to stop at about the same place every time. We get on. We get off. And it always in mass. So we are always in the way. There are too many crossing the street. There are too many clogging up the sidewalk. There are too many leaned up against a store front surely driving away business. But that's life in the big city. There are always a bunch of people doing a bunch of stuff and it all overlaps.
I had to stand on the bus. A messenger bag around my shoulder- because they are cooler than a backpack- and sticking in the face of some lucky girl with a gray comfy seat. I noticed one girl who was eagerly helping her hair form into dread locks. I thought, do what you want to your hair you still have a hairy face. Maybe a session or two of laser hair removal would be a better use of your time and effort. I agree that might sound kind of mean. But let me remind you I didn't say it out loud. I didn't tap her on the shoulder or knock my knee into hers and say "Laser hair removal would do more to detract from your fur than any amount of cat tails stuck to your head ever will." That's what I call dread locks- Cat Tails. I've never seen a tail on the end of a cat flattened on the asphalt and thought "I think that would look good on my head. I should go find some more. Because if one looks good a whole collection would have to look great." Now even if I had said anything like the things I was thinking she could have said, Do what you want with the hair on your face it won't detract from the fact you have little to no hair on the top of your head. And if she would have said that to me, she would have been right. At the next stop enough people left that I was able to get a seat. The girl next to me was talking loudly about her friend she loves very much despite how stupid and selfish she is. And how with out the help of the loving smarter friend the stupid friend would starve and be kicked out of school. That stupid girl sure is lucky to have a friend like that. The smart compassionate girl must have grown tired of expounding on her virtues and transitioned into her vices. Apparently if a young man is willing to take the time to text her she is unable to avoid sleeping with him. I mean being "romantic" with him. She must have had a moment of self awareness and realized how loud she was speaking and that she sounded kind of slutty. Instead of lowering her voice she just exchanged the word "sex" for "romantic". I sort of wish she had used something more appropriate like "Cheesecake". It would have sounded something like, "What am I supposed to do. It's late and he wants cheesecake and I've had a long day and I want some cheesecake. And he's like texting me about how he wants to come over and make cheesecake in my dorm room." I was pretty tired so I don't remember her words exactly but that's pretty close.
As I left the bus I heated up almost instantly. I was wearing a coat and the sun was out and unobstructed by clouds. I thought, this is a beach day. When I arrived home I slipped out of my shoulder bag and coat and asked "Who would like to go to the beach?" We all went. It was just another day at the beach. Another beautiful day at the beach. The kind that makes me fall in love with this over and over again.
While listening to The Cure I updated my Facebook, Twitter and now my blog. Way before all of that I walked half way home then caught a cab. As I walked up to my building Oslo was yelling for me out the window. "DAD. DAD... DAD." I can't think of a better sound. We both smiled a lot when we saw each other. Later we ran and "flew" around the lobby. Tonight he said "More. Fly." So we did.
Last night when I returned home from work I drank a glass of water ate a chip and packed up the family to walk down to Kevin Moore's latest and greatest art exhibit at the Hespe Gallery. Pepper strapped Luca into the Baby Bjorn and we were off. Oslo was so happy to be outside that he ran almost the entire 12 blocks from our home to the gallery. Kevin's show was amazing. It is something that should be seen by any who have the chance. It was also a pleasure to see a lot of friends out in support of the show. Some of them I see often and others it's been a while. We were also very happy to have Tracy Astle join us on our night out. After the show we ended up getting some of that Powell St. Pizza. Oslo didn't eat much but he sure drank a lot. And since he had run all the way there he was too exhausted for the walk home so I carried him as he slept. He is getting heavier as he grows up but it was still nice to have him zonked out on my shoulder. I know these days are numbered so I try to enjoy every moment I get. And Kevin, Bravo.
We met up with Rachel, Adam and Kim and all the kids at a bay side park. It was another warm clear beautiful evening. Rachel got a new skateboard so we cruised the Embarcadero and circled Giants Stadium. Later we met up with Tyler, ate pizza and watched skateboard videos. I tried not to be to play it cool but I really had a great time. Even some one tossing cookies in the kitchen didn't dampen the evening. It just felt that good to be out in the warm air in this beautiful city with people we love.
If any one wants to join our EMB skateboard coalition you are welcome to. All one needs is a board. All levels are welcome. Right now we just roll around. Some times we hassle shopkeepers but I think we are losing interest. If you can't skateboard but still want to join some exceptions can be made... Maybe you are good at making treats and want to share that with us. You can join. Maybe you have a car and want to pick us up at the beach after we ride through Golden Gate Park. You can join. See we are an easy bunch to get along with. Even though there are only two of us, three if you count Adam our filmer, I think by the end of the month our numbers may double.
I'd like to give a special thanks to Pepper, Tyler and Matt at DLX for helping this dream come together a little easier.
We all know not to trust the Postal Service. Don't we? But do we really know not to trust them?
While we were out of town we asked that our mail be held until we returned. A simple request. At least we thought.
We returned to our San Francisco home and the first thing we saw through the lobby window was our mail box open and empty. The next day we called to post office to find out if they had our mail. They told Pepper we didn't get any mail. - In ten days over the Christmas Holiday we didn't get any mail? We called back each day talking to different people at the post office who all shifted the blame or responsibility to some one else and even back to us. So for four days we have been calling and visiting the counter of our local branch trying to find out what happened to our mail. So far the official word is that it has been delivered and is out of their hands and responsibility. I did however get in touch with some one who oversees these type of cases and he said he would look into it. But what can be hoped for?
Through some investigation of our own we have learned the mail was delivered to an open box and we have verified that a number of personal and valuable envelopes had been sent during that time. I wonder how long it will be before we find out our Luca owes thousands of dollars to creditors for trips to spring break town in Florida, a kick ass new stereo with hundred inch woofers and banquets galore at the local TGIFridays.
So the real problem, more than our mail being delivered early, more than it being delivered to an open mail box, is that we trusted the United States Postal Service to preform a simple task.
Disgruntled? I am surprised more people don't go "postal" on the postal service.