Last night, when I got home from the early showing of a movie I went to after work, I posted this to Facebook:
I met an interesting man this evening. His name was Jimmy. I know this because, in the middle of his rambling, he said to me, “When you see me again you can say ‘Hey, Jimmy.’”
He was a black man of indeterminate age, wearing sunglasses and a cardigan, standing at the bus stop on Queen Anne and Mercer, what appeared to be a Shih Tzu at the end of a leash. When I walked up to the bus stop he was freestyle rapping, facing the empty street. At first I wasn’t sure if he was reciting rap songs or free styling, but after a while I realized he was rhyming about what was going on around him or what he was seeing. He was very earnest and occasionally profane. The first thing I thought was that if he were trying to sound badass with all this rapping, the Shih Tsu was kind of ruining the look.
A middle-aged white lady walked toward him and the dog, and then came by far the oddest thing. She basically ignored Jimmy, and raised her phone to snap a photo of the dog. She wasn’t getting Jimmy in the picture. Jimmy just kept right on rapping, pacing around a radius of maybe two or three feet, totally ignoring her. She squatted to pet the dog. And when she moved on Jimmy apparently said, “That’s right bitch, keep walking.”
I say “apparently” because I didn’t actually hear Jimmy the first time. But Jimmy was kind enough to repeat it for me. He walked up to me as soon as the lady walked away, to talk to me about how rude this lady was. I said mostly nothing to him, just stood there, but I guess my not acting threatened made him comfortable. He did say “I’ll get out of your face” moments after first starting to talk to me, but continued talking after taking a couple of steps back. It was at this point I noticed he was wearing no fewer than three necklaces, two with cross pendants. “You don’t ask me? You just come and touch my dog?” he said, rhetorically, talking about the white lady. He went on to talk about how he doesn’t compliment people on things that are obviously true, such as how nice my shirt was (uh, it’s just a white polo shirt) or how he liked the style of my hair. Here I began to think, where is this going? “You’re cool, just standing there with your book, you’re dressed for the weather, just chillin’,” he said to me.
I said all of two things to him the entire encounter.
“What kind of dog is that?” I asked.
“It’s a Shih Tzu.” He said this very matter-of-fact, like an almost startlingly neutral statement in the middle of his diatribe.
“That’s what I thought,” I replied.
I smiled a few times as he went on, and on, and on and on. I never said anything more to him, although I did keep listening. He had a lot of nervous energy, and it seemed like rapping was simply the way he released it. The #8 pulled up and I pulled out my wallet, to get my Orca card. His talking trailed off, but then he did get on the bus right behind me. I sat in the front-facing seat closest to the front, and he sat right next to me in one of the three seats that face the aisle. The dog hopped up on the seat next to him.
To my surprise, the guy was silent for a good five minutes. It was like he was recharging his battery or something, because after a while he started rapping again, almost at a murmur at first, but steadily increasing in volume. In the meantime, during the quiet time, he pulled out a comb and groomed his beard, which was where he had by far the most hair. He took off his baseball cap briefly, and his very close-cropped and almost-bald hair made him appear slightly older than I thought.
A cyclist got on the bus and sat next to him -- between Jimmy and the dog, who was sitting on the front-most seat. It made it look like the dog was just riding the bus on his own. Now that’s a dog with autonomy. Almost everyone who got on the bus tuned to look at the dog as they passed by. One guy shook his head as though disgusted.
I had considered asking Jimmy what the dog’s name was, but Jimmy took care of that for me when, after the cyclist got off, he said, “Max, what are we gonne do? We already had lunch, what do you wanna do? Max, you wanna go home? We’ll go home.”
Jimmy evidently changed his mind about that, because once we were at the stop across the street from the Starbucks on Olive Way, Jimmy speculated about this, in rap form: “This is my stop / I live around the corner / Should I go change my clothes / Nah I’ma go to Dick’s.”
That made me giggle. He got off the bus on Broadway, Max in tow, continuing to rap out into the air.
I'm including it here only because I think it makes a nice little story, and it's easier to preserve in a blog than on Facebook -- and I didn't tweet it, so it wouldn't be in my daily tweet digests (which, by the way, I still need to figure out a way to automate, because I'm still copying and pasting from the automated digests still being posted to LiveJournal).
I had decided I would write about my encounter with this guy maybe halfway through the account given above -- when we were still waiting for the bus on Lower Queen Anne. I found it to be an unusual, interesting experience, and I was somewhat inspired by the library book I'm reading, Theft By Finding: Diaries 1978-2002, by David Sedaris. I'm really enjoying it, and finding it a surprisingly delightful read for a collection of diary entries -- of course, delightful due to clearly skilled editing. Still, it's his take on random encounters in his life that inspired me.
His accounts tend to be a lot more brief. I do have a tendency to get into a great deal of detail, and I did fear slightly that it would be a bit "TLDR" for people on Facebook. I wasn't even sure others would find it as interesting as I did. Well, I needn't have worried: as of this morning, the post has 11 likes -- rather high for any average post of mine, and three of those are "loves" -- and even four people have commented, two of them complimenting my writing style specifically: "You are an awesome writer! I loved your descriptions!" wrote Holly very soon after it was posted; literally as I was writing this, Ricardo chimed in with, "I totally agree with Holly! I love Matthew's story telling style!" Much later this morning, I actually saw Ricardo in the men's room, and he said to me, "You should write a book. You really should!"
I guess I should consider doing this kind of thing more often. The response to that, which I honestly expected to be virtually nonexistent, far exceeded anything I could have hoped for.
The movie I went to see was Landline -- the review for which, by the way, I wrote less than half as many words as I did the above story about the guy I bused home with. I thought about making an effort to lengthen the review, especially considering how much I enjoyed the movie, but sometimes you've just said all there is to say about something. I don't need to add filler just to make a review longer. I can't think of anyone I would tell they should see this movie in its theatrical run, but I really liked it and am really glad I went to see it.
The showing was a SIFF's Uptown Theatre, which I walked to from work since I did not bike to work yesterday -- it's less than a fifteen minute walk from the office.
Shobhit worked late last night, but Ivan was home. He was at the dining table when I walked in, and asked where I had been. He suggested we watch something -- something he does more often than not anymore, when we're both home at the same time. He suggested Game of Thrones but I said we needed to wait for that until tonight so Shobhit can watch too. "We waited for you last week, I think we should wait for him," I said. "That’s fine," he said.
When I was done with my review I came out to see if I could find something streaming to watch. But Ivan, who came out to stand rather close to me (this is a strange thing he does often, one of his many idiosyncrasies I tend to ascribe to his Asperger's and so I don't say anything about it), this time while . . . flossing. He asked what I was going to watch and I said I was trying to find something. He mentioned he had Girl, Interrupted from Netflix, so I said, "You can put that on if you like." It had been years since I had watched it.
It wasn't until it ended -- a still rather compelling movie until that weird chase in the underground tunnel that's a bit overwrought -- that I realized this was the second Netflix movie in a row he'd gotten that was set in a mental institution. We had just watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. "Do you have a mental institution theme going on in your Netflix queue or something?" I asked. He gave a comically mischievous look and said, "Matthew, why do you say that?"
Under normal circumstances I would have said I didn't have time to watch a movie. But, I was ready by 8:45 and I finished I barely had enough time. I assumed it would be, maybe an hour and 45 minutes. It turned out to be 127 minutes, but I lived. It ended just after Shobhit got home from work. I had heated up his own leftovers from last night for him.
He had to get up super early again this morning for another work shift, so he came to bed pretty soon after I did. He clearly couldn't sleep, though, and he kept tossing and turning, bouncing the bed, driving me crazy. This kept Guru from settling down, so he was pacing all over the bed too, walking around and meowing and driving me even more insane. At one point I snapped and shoved him so hard off the bed that he hit the fan. I didn't mean to do that; I just wanted to get the cat the fuck away from me so I could fucking sleep. I was a little worried about him, and Shobhit must have been too because he woke me up again when he got out of bed and looked under it, presumably to see if Guru was okay. He clearly was: when I woke up much later, Guru was sound asleep between us again. Finally Shobhit was sleeping. He eventually got out of bed for a while, presumably because he couldn't get to sleep.
Not riding my bike yesterday, or at least not doing any major exercise, seems to have made a difference with my back and right-arm pain. My back and neck are far better today than even yesterday; my arm still has a very slight ache to it. I went back to my every-other-day pushups today as scheduled. It seemed to have been fine.
Although I did like having the bit of extra time to read yesterday, I was glad to be able to get back on the bike today. I also texted Dad yesterday to suggest we do our summer bike ride on Saturday August 19 -- that seemed like the most convenient time to schedule it, since the now-annual family get together Jennifer spearheaded (largely at my suggestion, after we had one the day after Grandma and Gramdpa's memorial last year, at Mason Lake) is scheduled for the same weekend, on Sunday the 20th. And the solar eclipse that's happening, I thought, might be fun to watch with Dad in Olympia.
About that solar eclipse. I know it's something that hasn't happened since 1979 and all -- and apparently will happen again in 2024, so at least that's in only another seven years rather than 38, although apparently that will have fewer U.S. states in its path. I'd have to go down to Oregon, which I know is not that far, to see the eclipse in totality; in the Seattle area the coverage will be almost complete but not quite -- and they say it will still be "spectacular" from here. So, you know what? Having not done anything at all to plan as far ahead as would be needed to deal with travel into Oregon for this, where the traffic is guaranteed to be fucking nuts, I'm happy to stay right here. Or: in Olympia. I suppose I should still find some eclipse viewing glasses. And hope it's not cloudy in Olympia mid-morning on the 21st.
I was going to eat my lunch out on the patio today but decided against it. It's already 81° outside and will be about 90° while I'm riding my bike home, so, fuck that. I'm sticking with air conditioning for as long as I can today -- and this whole week. Yuckarama.