Sunday, August 09, 2009

Can You Row?

Notwithstanding that my web sites are live ... see previous post ... and that the period of my annual course-catalog-related discomfiture is formally ended, I am still under the gun. One more week of that ... I could bore you with the details, but let this suffice ... pdf! Yes, the pdf ... in other words, even if you no longer have to print the damned thing, you still have to make a pdf so that the hangers-on can print something like what used to be printed and handed to them. So the only part of out-of-the-print business that I can really embrace is that I no longer have to spend a day with sweaty truck drivers tking delivery of 40 tones of books.

Ah, the pdf ... this week's torment.

But that is not the story. On Friday, I worked from home and that involved a vast amount of walking. Have I noted that the dog, my sainted Loki, took the opportunity of my annual deadline insanity to sprout a hematoma on his left ear. That bloody left ear has cost me a couple of thousand dollars over the course of dear Loki's life. We're into this episode to the tune of $800 and counting.

So on Friday, I took him to the vet's in the morning to have the bandage changed, and to board him there so that my assistant and I could spend the rest of the on Dreamweaver and our annual celebratory lunch. But that had to wait for breakfast ... so I left the vet's and walked along Fillmore heading to the Sidewalk Cafe on California.

The Fillmore is an historically Black district that was Japanese before WW II. Like everything in San Francisco, it's historic character is crumbling in the face of the cheap money of the rich that is infecting our world. But it is still Black at its core. So there I am walking along Fillmore in the early morning, and a dapper man, dressed to the nine's, looking every bit a Black church deacon, calls out to me as I pass, "Do you row?" Say what, I said. "Do you row?" he repeated. I made a gesture in the style of a man rowing. And then I looked a little more closely. The dapper old man proffered a bag of marijuana and some papers in an obviously arthritic hand. He was saying, "Do you roll?" But for middle age, a job, and a decided preference for whiskey and martinis in the evening, I could have turned my non-arthritic fingers into an early morning toke. I made some awkward excuse and rolled on, as it were.

When I were a young fart ... "as it were" ... I got a job at a place in Windsor called Canadian Bridge where we manufactured hydro-electric transmission towers. What we did was to manipulate steel "angles" that would be combined into the aforementioned towers. At one point, early in my short career, I was assigned to assist an ancient Polish man famous for his raging anger and quick temper. My job was to feed angles into a device which cleaned then with some sort of metal shot prior to their being galvanized. My Polish workmate ... his name has long since vanished form my memory ... starts yelling at me "Sha - een". I was befuddles, and he yelled it again. "Sha - een". This went on for a while and my Polish workmate worked himself into such a froth that I finally called the shop steward to protect myself. It turned out that "Sha - een" is the Polish-Canadian pronunciation of "chain". The man wanted a chain.

The can-you-row thing reminded me of the Sha - een episode. And it reminded me of the madness of work where words matter no matter how weird the moments may be.

Sunday evening ... haven't been blogging enough ... the week looming ahead will be the last nasty week of this season ... that's where I am hanging my hat ... that's where I'm rolling my chain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ya shoulda 'rowed' for the old arthritic man... it helps with the joint pain ya know. Would have been a kind act mon homme.