Sunday, November 30, 2008

Starting Over

Three weeks ago I lost my best friend. We had known each other for 10 years. We went everywhere together, we slept in the same bed, shared the same friends, we loved to get fast food (he liked the drive through). Sometimes we showered together. People we know expected to see us together. Then, in the minute it takes for a heart to stop beating, he was gone. Unexpectedly. Too soon. He was an example for the rest of us: a perennially happy guy, curious, irrepressible, always on the alert for the next good thing to drop out of the sky. Big appetite, big heart, he never turned down the chance for a cuddle or a snack. I loved him with all my heart and I miss him every day.

Hearts are big places, and I'm working on falling in love again. We have only known each other for 10 days. But we go everywhere together, sleep in the same bed, and he's meeting my friends. I met him online. He was in jail. I was looking for love. These things happen. The funny thing is, I don't know his name. Sometimes I think it's Ollie or Otis. It might be Nick or Henry or Jack, Chance or Antonio. For a minute or two I thought he was Winston and for a couple of days I was sure he was Scooter, but that's just silly. So, we walk and talk and learn each others' ways and pretty soon I'll know his name. And I'll love him, only differently. And that's fine.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Crackpots in the 'Hood

I know Vancouver doesn't have the corner on crackpots. After all I live here. But, on Monday, I stopped by a neighborhood grocery store to buy a friend some cold medicine. Normally I would go to a giant chain grocery to save money, but I was in a hurry so I stopped at a market that fell somewhere between Huge-orama-Foods and Mom n' Pop. On the sidewalk at the front of the store was a man on his knees, praying. Just like Christopher Robin: head bowed, hands clasped together. My first thought was, "Don't go into the store. This guy is going to wrap up his prayer session and blow away all the shoppers with an automatic weapon." I went in anyway. Remember? I was in a hurry. Inside, I made my choice (one box of generic DayQuill left! Score!), and as I rounded the last aisle I encountered Crackpot Number Two. He had a hood pulled tightly over his face so just his left eye was exposed and, with this single eye, he stared intently at me as I made my way from the back of the store, past him, to the checkout counter. Curious as I was, I lacked the intestinal fortitude to look back to see if he had swiveled around to look after I had passed him. Prayer guy, by the way, continued to loiter outside the store as I left, but had switched from praying to smoking. Maybe he had been praying for his lungs.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Hazards of Drinking in Vancouver

Sometimes a person needs a little pick-me-up in the form of carbonated caffeine. Such was the case last weekend as I drove down Mill Plain Boulevard in Vancouver and was faced with the choice of Burgerville or Taco Bell. Side by side, Burgerville was just a smidge easier to get to. What's the difference? Right?

Not right. Burgerville charged me a whopping $1.84 (or maybe it was $1.94, I was too shocked to register my exact amount of change) for an ordinary "small" drink. This wasn't one of those commemorative plastic bathtubs printed with action figures that won't fit your cup holders. It was just a regular, normal-person-sized, soda.

However, if, instead, I had turned left into Taco Bell I could have gotten a free Senior Drink with the purchase of any food. By purchasing one crunchy taco (which costs somewhere in the neighborhood of 89¢) I could have 1. saved a dollar and 2. offered the taco to the man with the cardboard sign at the freeway exit, thereby making the world a better place.

Just a note: you don't have to be all that "senior" to get the Taco Bell drink deal. Only fifty! I have years of free drinks ahead of me. Burgerville and I are through.