Minutes (San Francisco)

July 24, 2009

• Two 9th Grade girls sat on the bus, reading St. Exupery, each with a large box of cereal in their open backpacks. One was distracted, looked outside, and called to the other, who was sitting a few seats away. “Look, there’s Jade Café! Have you ever been to Jade Café?” “I’ve been the one in New York.” “Oh this makes me so happy. We should take a picture. We should take a picture of me in front of the café.” “We’re on the bus.” “But we should take a picture in front of my café.” “Your café?” “Yes, I’m Jade and this is my café.” Pantomiming. A long pause. “Can I offer you a baked potato!”

Minutes (San Francisco)

July 21, 2009


• On the bus, towards the back, a young man with a beard exploded with sudden excitement. He pulled out his notebook—college-lined—and searched for a pen. Not finding one, he turned to the people next to him and pleaded for a pen. With pen in hand, the bearded boy started to write, quickly filling up 3 pages of his notebook. Upon completion, he went back through the piece slowly, ready to make editorial changes. The piece was a story—fiction likely—written in rage, or at least an annoyed tone. The main character was a man on a powder blue Vespa with a matching hat, and he was summarily described as “the gayest guy ever.” He “whizzed about town” on a “scooter that would have gotten him pummeled years ago” all the while thinking that “I am going to get so laid tonight.” All the plot turns were not apparent from the seat behind the writer, but it was apparent that Vespa guy thinks he’s better than the rest of us. As the boy went through the story looking for things to change, he only made one change. He changed the sentence “I am going to get so laid tonight” to “I am going to so get laid tonight.”

Minutes (San Francisco)

July 14, 2009

• On the bus, two women sat across from each other and discussed cats. One asked the other if she had ever encountered a cat named “Pumpkin, over on 10th Street.” The other replied that she hadn’t. The first continued, “Yeah, sometimes he just jumps out of the window onto the street, just to say ‘hello.’ He doesn’t jump on me in a bad way; he does it in a good way. Like peaches fall off the tree at the end of the summer. You know. He’s a big fat orange cat, so I call him ‘Pumpkin.’ I don’t know what his real name is. He’s Pumpkin!”

• A man on the bus made the other man try his pen, claiming that it’s the smoothest write he’ll ever have. The second man tried to blame the bumpiness of the bus for the lack of enthusiasm.

• Three guys at the café sat around and spoke of obesity. It was all quite solemn, even the story of the one, who is a resident in a local hospital, of an obese woman who came in, and as he lifted a fold of her fat to help her disrobe found her remote control.

Minutes (San Francisco)

July 10, 2009



  • At the halfway house at the top of the hill, one recovering who smoked turned to another recovering who smoked, gestured to a third recovering who smoked by himself on the bench in a prostate position with both his hands and arms converging and draped over the crease of his crotch with the cigarette hanging in his mouth and said, “doesn’t he make so much more sense as a tranny?”
  • A gentleman held the door open to an office building for a co-worker who happened to arrive at the same time as him. She looked at him coyly and said “No suit today?” He replied, pleased with himself, “I didn’t know you’d be in at work today.” Secret smiles were had before the elevator.
  • As a man in the wheelchair tried to get off the bus and the ramp of the bus was lowered and the hydraulics of the bus exhaled and the bus kneeled while traffic waited a passenger on the phone said to his quiet mistress “Don’t the handicapped have their own mini-buses for this?”
  • On the 1980’s BBC version of Sherlock Holmes last night, Holmes surprised everyone by falling for a woman named “Irene.”



  • Last night appears to have been bulk trash night, and the neighbors complied. Someone went around with a can of spraypaint and graffitied all of the garbage. He made art out of old mattresses, and gallerists of garbagemen in orange.
  • Outside the halfway house at the top of the hill, that looks like it belongs in New Orleans but has a name from New England, a fight is brewing where the residents congregate to smoke at all times of the day. Two men are too-close face-wise, and a group of smokers are huddled about them. One says to the other: “I can close my eyes and fuck you in the ass.” He squints. “Yeah, that’s it. I’m taking it in there. And there’s nothing you can do. I’m fucking you in the ass in my head. And you love it.”
  • An older couple approached a young man sitting on a step reading. The old man asked the young man if he was a student. The young man said yes. The old man asked him from which country he hailed. He replied that he was American. The old man, confused, said that he appeared so European with his book and his slight facial hair.
  • A young man was scared away from a flop-house in the Tenderloin, when a man outside with two teeth yelled to him as he was about to walk in: “They’s bed-bugs in there.” As the young man walked away quickly, the teeth yelled after him: “Bedbugs!”



  • A small man with a small dog and a large sweater-a fleece really-stands as number one in line at the coffee stall, telling all the kids affectionately about his employees in Hong Kong.
  • A large homeless man sits along the wall of the strip club “Touch the Magic” and watches people as they go into the “T & A Café” next door. With his large sloping back along the bent crumbling wall, it is not entirely clear who is holding up who. His shirt is pulled up onto his face like a cattle rustler, or a criminal, creating an airtight seal around his stink. His eyes, which are all you can see, move quickly at the passerbyes, suspicious that they want to steal his stench.
  • A girl boarding the bus for an early morning nursing program is told by the bus-driver that she didn’t put enough money in the till. She looks confused. He points to a calendar he has above his window in his fantasy cubicle to show her that the date is July 1. She doesn’t understand. He points to a flyer beside it which announces new fares starting July 1. She responds that she too could make a flyer at home, and that doesn’t prove anything. She proceeds to her seat a quarter richer.
  • Two strangers who met on the bus find that they have topaz in common. One explains that she used to sell her topaz all along the west coast, but Monterey and Santa Cruz are the only locations she can recall. He explains that he used to be the biggest topaz distributor in the Midwest. He put his kids through college on topaz. She is wearing mismatched shoes. He mourns that he foolishly thought that topaz would never fade.


June 23, 2009


Aaron’s uncle Victor had moved to Texas in the seventies to finish his dissertation in a place without winters. Harvard had thoroughly robbed him of his belief in greatness, and he thought he could write something significant if his surroundings were more temperate. By the time that Victor settled in Texas, he was confident about this fact. And though he rarely read, much less wrote, his dissertation, he thought often of doing so often.

Victor met Gerry in the seventies, and they quickly conformed to common-law standards. The plan was not to stay in Texas, or rather to stay not in Texas, so the vehicle was not to put down roots. Victor and Gerry bought a mobile home and forewent the acquisition and interest of equity. Victor was struck one day when his mailman paraphrased Einstein’s thoughts on compound interest.