I woke up early as I had to mail off tax-forms and stop by the bank. I am notoriously bad about my taxes. I go about the whole thing with utter indifference. Invariably, I lose something I need before I get around to the process. I skip steps which would probably only benefit me, and then carry around the forms intending to send them out, and waiting until almost the final hour. Thus, the first time I got a letter from the IRS, a few years back, I was pretty concerned. I read the letter, but I didn't entirely get what it was saying. I put it aside in fear, and tried to forget about it. Eventually, another one arrived. This one I understood better. It was a rather large and substantial refund. I had messed up on my taxes, and the government was paying me back with a bit of interest. In fact, since 2002, the government has sent me 4 checks explaining that I'm an utter screwup, should not be trusted with a calculator, and here, this money is yours. In fact, my trip to the bank this morning was to deposit the most recent of these checks. I know a few people who cling desperately to money, go out to dinner with them, and they'll do a careful account of what everybody owes, they carefully calculate tips. These people aggravate the hell out of me. It's not that I'm rich, and certainly from time to time, I find myself in tremendous jams, but all in all, I find that when you don't expect it, the money will come.
So, as I was saying, after running my errands, I went for brunch. Brunch admittedly should be a social occasion, but it's hard for me to plan ahead for breakfast, and I find it almost unimaginable for my friends who live in more outlying areas to join me that early on a weekend, they'd need coffee on their way to coffee. And alone is fine, too. I sat at the bar, reading a magazine, alternating from my coffee to my mimosa, and the huevos rancheros was good, though I've had better. I did overhear a pair of waitresses talking.
"I was four at the time, so when I heard it of course I thought it was about Micky Mouse. I used to sing along, thinking how fine he was."
* * * * *
Monday night, I had an invitation to join some friends for dinner at their apartment. My only issue was that the invitation was for 8:00, and I'd be back in the city post-work by 6:00. "It's alright if you come early." Still, there's early and there's early. So, getting off the train near their apartment, I decided to look around a little bit. I stopped in at a cafe, looked through the used book store, and then remembered that there the sci-fi bookstore had moved in nearby and that I hadn't been over there since they changed locations. I'm not a huge fantasy/sci-fi fan. I don't have the patience for a lot of authors, and getting recommendations from fans is a poor way to go. (As far as recommendations go, I oftentimes believe in asking the unlikeliest person. Example: my friend JG loves Gone With the Wind. Therefore, when she tells me that an action movie is good, then I'll watch the action movie.) So mostly I read the same 3 or 4 authors I've always read. Some of them have devolved to a sort of duty. I loved Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, particularly the Camber series, but they've become more and more like histories, character development falling to the side. On the other hand, a few years back I started re-reading Steven Brust's novels about Vlad Taltos, which I'd always considered fun but fluffy, and like them more now than I did back in the day (also some of his other work is even better, the Khaavren histories, which are his homage to the Three Musketeers, and "Freedom and Necessity" which he did with Emma Bull), each novel is capable of standing alone, but there's always a hint of things you don't know yet, when read one at a time, you almost forget these stray elements, but read together, a bigger pictures begins to emerge. So, finding the most recent novel there, I decided I might as well pick it up. So, book in hand, I went to purchase it.
"Hi, how can I help you?"
"Well, I thought I'd buy this."
"An excellent idea, can I have your name?"
It seemed like a strange request, but I told her. She punched it into a computer, asked me how it was spelled, re-typed it, then looked at me with confusion. "It's not... wait a second, I'm doing this ass-backwards. Are you a member of our discount program?"
"Aha! That explains why you're not in here."
"Okay, so let's try this again. We have this discount program, spend $XXX and get an $XX gift card."
"Alright, I need your name."
"It hasn't changed."
Later, after dinner, I mentioned that I'd stopped in there on my way.
"Oh, X was working there tonight."
"You know her?"
"Yeah, remember when we were discussing people with annoying laughs? She was the one we were talking about."
* * * * *
Baseball season has started, and my commute takes me right through the worst part of it. From early on, I've been at best indifferent to professional sports. Probably it's simply because growing up, my parents were as well. The one hockey game I attended with my dad, we left after maybe 20 minutes, and I think he was as relieved as I was that we didn't have to stay. I understand the idea of playing sports, the lure of physical exertion, the pleasure of competition. I also can understand betting on it. When I lived in Vegas, and people had money riding on the results, then I could see why they needed to know the stats, which players were starting, etc. But riding the subway, we're suddenly crammed in with tourists. (In Vegas, I picked up the common use of the insult tourist from my friend Will, a term used often for obvious reasons. In Boston, it's taken on a somewhat different meaning for me, as a tourist isn't simply somebody who is in from out of state, but anybody who doesn't know how to act in the city. Thus, a tourist can be a college student, a suburbanite, or just somebody who's clueless. That doesn't mean that all suburbanites are tourists, and even all tourists aren't tourists. It's about knowing how to handle yourself. When you enter a train, do you step inside and stop, blocking the door for other people trying to board? Tourist. Do you stand on the left side of an escalator? Tourist. Block a the entire sidewalk while trying to figure out which way you're supposed to go? Tourist.) And of course, they're all dressed up in their baseball gear. Hats, jerseys, over-sized boxers. When I was a waiter, we used to get a lot of people there before and after baseball games. Unable to talk baseball (and really, if you don't talk baseball to them, it doesn't matter how good the service, they won't tip), I dreaded getting them in my section. One day, however, there was an Anime Convention at a nearby hotel, and we were inundated with cos-players. I'm not really an Anime fan. I know a few series, though, and more than that, I know geeks. So, with very little effort, I was making good money. Meanwhile, my co-workers were bemoaning the fact that they had freaks in their stations.
"Freaks?" I replied, "We continually wait on people wearing baseball hats, baseball jerseys, the pants even, with their gloves on the table. And you know what? That girl over there may not be Sailor Moon, but those people aren't on the team. And let's face it, I'd rather look at the girl dressed like Sailor Moon."
Anyway, I'm really hoping the home team doesn't make the playoffs.
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