• On 6th Street and Market, the google sedan with the mounted camera passed by. A shirtless man—probably homeless—gave the car the finger and yelled “fuck you car!” Another homeless man down the street heard the commotion and joined in yelling at the car “Fuck you CIA.”
  • At the coffee stall two guys stood around when one announced his theory: “So you know why there are so many libertines in San Francisco…” The other, mockingly responded, “libertines?” “Yeah, it’s what we’re famous for. It’s why conservatives hate us.” “I think you’re using the wrong word, man.”
  • The first man corrected himself, perhaps unecessarilly. “Okay, liberals. I think we have so many because of the earthquakes. It’s hard to be only for yourself when all the houses are connected and the hills are there and the ground may shake at any moment. I care what you do because it affects me.” The listener responded, “What about Florida? They have hurricanes and they’re not liberal.” “No, it has to be from the ground. Not from the sky. It’s hard to get worked up about they sky. The ground is terrifying.”

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.

 

  • At the bus stop two kids—probably brothers—wait on their way to summercamp. One is pointing out all the buildings within sight that have turrets or are otherwise over 2 stories with odd protrusions, saying, “that one too; and that one; and this one over here; and yeah that one too…” The other kid responds incredulously, “all of those houses are haunted?” “Yes, and we’re very fortunate to live in a neighborhood where we know which houses are haunted. That’s why I think I’m going to stay here when I get married.”
  • At the wrought-iron table of the outdoor seating of a French café two men sit with coffee. One tells the other, exasperated, that he saw in the morning a slight young Asian girl waiting for the bus pull out a Steel Reserve, “big can,” from her coat, take a long drink, and put it back. He then asks, hopefully, “can we blame that on the economy?”

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.”

 

  • At the halfway house at the top of the hill, the residents were holding an impromptu trial in the courtyard. The long bench was filled with chain-smokers, and a tall fence separated the whole scene from the street. As one of the “attorneys” was making his case to the jury, the opposing counsel rubbed his index fingers together and prolonged the word “Shame.” The attorney speaking turned to the bench, and said “let the record show that Dwayne made ‘shame sticks’.”

 

  • On the street, one man saw another man who looked similar. Similar height, similar built, similar features. So the first man followed the second. He went out of his way by several blocks to get a sense of how people view him when he walks.
  • The second man knew he was being followed after two blocks, because he was paranoid and had just come off of 6th Street. He thinks most people are following him, and on the street he is usually technically correct, but this time he actually correct. The second man added half high steps and backward walks to his usual forward gait.
  • Two homeless men were swapping clothes on a sidestreet, because there are no alleys in San Francisco. One was a head taller than the other, but they both seemed relieved to be donning fresh clothes.
  • Six sailors stood around on leave giving directions to a young Hispanic woman. The young sailors relished in the casual nature of civilian life, where talking to a pretty lady can be non-sexual and non-hierarchical. Everyone walked away from the interaction pleased with the outcome.

 

• At the halfway house at the top of the hill, two men argued about the mindset of topography. One was sick of the other calling the area at the bottom of Hayes Street, the “Hayes Valley.” He screamed that it’s at the bottom of the hill, it’s not a valley. He pointed out that not every time you go down a hill do you descend into a valley. He finished with the fact that you never go back up a hill on the other side, so it doesn’t even feel like a proper symmetrical valley. One of the smokers watching turned to his friend and said, “The Shenandoa, now that’s a valley.”

• A 6-year old at the bus stop with his young mother was doing the moonwalk.

• At the coffee-stall, the kids were exchanging 4th of July stories. One loudly declared that he developed a new invention that was going to “revolutionize things.” He told everyone there the nature of his invention, but one by one and mouth to ear to make sure that each knew it was a secret.

• A homeless man set up a garage sale on Market Street to clear out some of his excesses.

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  • 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!”

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  • 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.

MINUTES

June 30, 2009

 

  • Three men stand about the coffee stall reciting pi to the fifth decimal as if it were the Greek alphabet. They all agree on 1415, but each has a unique subsequent number, and they each have a ten percent chance of being right. One has predator eyes, and looks up from his cappuccino every time someone joins the line. His eyes tag them for a moment, and he interrupts the conversation on pi to offer a new fact about the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Santa Claus on the street is accused by a loiterer of being ZZ-Top. Santa Claus makes the mistake of smiling and stopping, and the street person quickly asks him for presents. Santa whispers through his moustache that he is really a vagabond, and they both laugh as friends.
  • Two drug addicts posing as punks sit outside the Nike store before it opens to talk about the day. One announces to the other the secret to life: “It’s science!” He then quickly tells the other to shut up.
  • An Asian mall security guard is perched like a Bedouin reading the book “The Agitator” on his 15-minute break. His eyes can barely see above the top edge of the book.
  • An obese tourist in a polo shirt walks with his nipples erect to the world.