Category Archives: Opposite Day

The process.

If there’s one thing you can count on in life, it’s process. Even in our restless world of instant gratification, there are the inevitable terms and conditions, download times and numerous tiny buttons that lead to tiny progress bars that eventually lead to tiny conclusions in the great scheme of other processes.

The reality of trying to buy a couch has made the step-by-step stress of our modern life more apparent than ever before. A high-class problem no doubt, but valid all the same. There’s an overwhelming array of colors, configurations and questionable availability. In stock. Out of stock. Strange notes and warnings with every click. You can’t see anything in store, but please read all the robotic reviews. Chat with an operator who will simply copy and paste the answers you’ve already read on the website as replies. Allow 30 days for fabric harvesting. Ask about our white glove furniture delivery—only available in Oklahoma and Virginia. Please be prepared to be disappointed (all sales final).

So, for now, I sit at the 70’s desk chair I picked up for free next to the dumpster at Salvation Army almost 20 years ago. I didn’t choose the fabric, the style or have it delivered. I tossed it in the trunk of my ‘68 Impala and its been with me since. It was a process for sure, but a fairly simple one.

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Two Midwesterners walk into a bar.

Our neighborhood is almost as dog friendly as it is people friendly. Which means we don’t have to stay home to spend an evening with Woody. This leads to all sorts of local adventures involving food, drink and light-hearted socialization. This is how we met Jeff.

An older, distinguished individual wearing a corduroy sport coat, Jeff first got acquainted with Woody. I shared the brief saga of the purebred black lab abandoned at the pound in Missouri and the conversation lead to various personal stories on both sides of the table. It wasn’t long until we discovered we were both Midwestern transplants who fell in love with San Francisco. Then we transitioned into what-do-you-do-for-a-living part of the talk and discovered that we’d both relocated to pursue copywriting gigs. At that point, we were both obviously delighted by the fact that even with over 30 years difference in age, we’d had such similar experiences.

There was a pause in the conversation as we checked in with our respective tables. Then Jeff leaned forward as if he had a secret to share. He lowered his voice slightly.

“But you know what really shocked me the most when I moved to San Francisco…,” he asked with a slight grin.

A million things ran through my head as I considered my own experience.

“…every single apartment I looked at, there were NO screens on the windows, I couldn’t believe I’d moved to a place where there were no mosquitos coming in! It was amazing.”

And that’s when I knew I’d crossed paths with a true Midwesterner with a genuine appreciation for how special this place really is.

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All that for this: A haiku of sorts on modern professionalism

Shoulder to shoulder on a packed bus headed for the suburbs. Someone keeps farting. The traffic is thick, but moving. I got out of bed at 5:30 to make a 9 AM meeting and I’m still going to be late. 

I think back to parent teacher conferences in grade school when my folks learned I was starting to mouth off as I explored the social benefits of being a showoff. I needed more discipline.

And how seriously the public school administrators reacted when I get suspended for a fist fight in the library. It seemed I had an irrevocable, one-way ticket to a life of crime.

I consider all the homework mapped out on endless sheets of notebook paper. At least a hundred thousand long hours of useless memorization of facts and figures that’ve been long gone for years. All for a good grade in an insignificant class, happening during a random semester of a mostly forgettable education. I was on the right track. 

There were college majors, minors and 3×3 areas of focus. So many over priced textbooks that often went unread. Office hours, credit hours and syllabi that rarely amounted to more than just another small step forward. It looked like I’d overcome the predictions. 

All that for this.

It looks like I’m going to make my 9 AM meeting.

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I guess I have a type.

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I’ve never considered myself fashionable. Or even all that smart, for that matter. But apparently I am extremely predictable when it comes to shoes. I’m proud of the fact that I have quite a few miles on each pair. Here’s to many more.

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San Francisco Jr.

If a city is similar to a living thing, what do you do when they start to turn on you? When strange new outfits made of steel and glass are quietly unveiled? When their attitude shifts from come on in to get the fuck out of my way? When a warm embrace becomes a careful negotiation and a $25 credit check? SF, my love, you’ve always had problems, but when did you become so interested in entertaining all your rich friends?

I’ve got my eye on you, but you probably didn’t notice because you were scrolling through selfies on your phone and your ears were plugged with white buds. You’re so beautiful—just don’t forget those who were there for you during the awkward stages and still supported you after your .com phase.

It’ll be OK. When the others follow the empty promises of better lives in another city or suburb, I hope you know I’ll still be here engulfed in the smell of your eucalyptus perfume, exploring the neighborhoods of your soul and enjoying your panoramic points of view.

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Signs of life.

A few times a week, I ride one of the infamous tech buses to get to and from work. People are generally quiet and polite to one another. No one really moves. For the most part, we all just keep to ourselves as we stop and go our way up and down the peninsula.

When I’m not locked face-to-face with my laptop, I entertain myself by looking out the window and making up stories about the people down below in their cars. They usually look as bored as we do. Like us, they’re often stuck somewhere between work and home. And a frightening number are on their phones.

But sometimes there’s a break in the monotony. A wreck. Someone getting pulled over. And occasionally two blondes in a Mustang convertible.

This is how things went down this evening on the 101. It was an entertaining reminder that even within the confines of a routine bus ride, a few heterosexual men are still paying attention to their surroundings. The girls are long gone, but something tells me their brief appearance was the highlight of a few guys’ lonely nights.

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