25 January 2014

Au quartier belge

The other day, at La Promenade Café, I noticed that the sign 'La Toilette' had appeared on the restroom door. I emailed the owner, to say that perhaps it should read 'Les Toilettes,' as it would in France. He replied that, in Belgium, a restroom is singular, not plural. This can mean only that the street scene portrayed on the café walls is not French, but Belgian! I remember that a French professor, in my university days, told me that I had a Belgian accent. To this day, I don't know what a Belgian accent sounds like. Like me, evidently.

23 January 2014

Death Wish

O tempora! O pueri! This afternoon, on the 43 Masonic bus, high-schoolers dominated the passenger list. One young fellow, about 13 years old, delivered himself of rather loopy, funny, and very loud banter with his classmates. "Thanks to you," one of them said, "everyone on this bus wishes he was dead!" "I know," said the young fellow; "Isn't it great?"

15 January 2014

A Ticket to The City

Yesterday, at Palo Alto Caltrain station, a young man asked me whether I could change a hundred-dollar bill. "No," I said. He then showed me the bill, saying, "Have you seen the new $100? It's made to be hard to fake." This is counterfeit money, I thought. I remarked that he could change the bill at a bank, a suggestion which did not meet his approval. The young fellow ostensibly wanted to buy a ticket to The City. I suggested that he use a credit or debit card. He mumbled that he didn't have enough money on his cards. I felt sorry for the young trickster.

10 January 2014

Hi Tops

How To Win Friends & Influence People. A few days ago, in the Caltrain station at 4th & King, two young men got to talking. One was straddling a bicycle, the other was seated beside me. The young cyclist was wearing green Converse hi tops. The other remarked on this. Apparently, in Hi Tops' company, workers in various departments identify themselves by the color and style of their footwear. The other expressed an interest in Hi Tops' company; Hi Tops asked for a resume. They boarded the train together, deep in conversation.


Washroom Wisdom: "Those who lack imagination can't imagine what is lacking!"

04 January 2014

A Sign of the Times

A Sign of the Times, beside the cash register in a cafe on Market Street, near The Castro: "Boss will beat me if I take a bill larger than $20. I'd rather you spank me!"

The Cafe Formerly Known As Zephyr

O tempora! O mores! In The Cafe Formerly Known As Zephyr, have appeared garlands of imitation ivy, draped along the walls, walls which portray an outdoor street scene, an imitation of a Parisian neighborhood. And notices have gone up, announcing the imminent arrivals of poetry readings and musical performances. For years, TCFKAZ has been a quiet haven for high schoolers and college kids, working on their assignments. Are they to yield to lovers of bad verse and worse music?