I´m sitting at the Sacramento River listening to the freeway and watching the water. It´s overcast but not cold, so I will be able to stay out for at least three hours.
Every time I come down to watch the water there are slobs. It´s creepy. Between the homeless, the freeway, the ugly skyline behind me and just plain rude people, it usually is not enjoyable.
But once in a while I need to see the river, especially on cloudy days like today and when the river is high in winter. I like to watch logs float down after the rain. One time there were birds standing on a log pecking at it as it floated.
When I got here today there were two slobs with their pit bull sitting where I wanted to sit. I walked until I saw a nice spot to lean on the rail to watch the water.
Just as I got comfortable putting on my ski cap and head phones, three 20 year olds passed on their bicycles. As they rode by, one of the guys patted me on my (a woman just rode by with her husband and yelled, ¨Happy Thanksgiving!¨ I turned. We waved as we looked at each other. I said, ¨Happy Thanksgiving!¨ She made me feel good) butt where my wallet was. He said something that ended in ´ay´. I don´t know if he was saying have a nice day or perceived me to be gay.
My first thought was ¨That asshole.¨ My second thought was ¨My wallet!¨, but it was there. Then I took it out to put in my front pocket. The nerve of the bastard.
I don´t know what I would have done if they wanted to beat me up or hassle me for money. I tell myself to be careful. I say stay calm and breath deep. But something like that! If they had stopped I would not have known what to do, even if I had been breathing deep.
Something like this happened on light rail four years ago. I was sitting in an aisle seat wearing my sun hat when a black kid tapped my brim – he flicked his fingers up from underneath it. I almost got up to punch him, but the light rail company probably would have blamed me.
I´ve been gone from home an hour forty-five minutes and I still do not have to pee. I was peeing all day Tuesday and yesterday.
You know the song Yesterday by The Beatles? 3,000 singers recorded it. That´s amazing.
I´ve been reading a lot. I´m still reading biographies for children in Spanish. Tuesday I read about The Beatles. Yesterday I read about Neil Armstrong – the guy who walked on the moon.
It´s good for me to read about people whose field does not interest me – Walt Disney, Einstein, Steve Jobs, Neil Armstrong. It makes me face the fact that I hate these times while they thrived on them.
Jobs, Armstrong, Disney help me put my youth in perspective. I will never like movies, but I wish something could have happened in the eighties to get me interested in computers. How much more confident and happy I would be. How much more money I would have.
When I read about Armstrong, I was fascinated by the simple diagrams of the trip to the moon. They showed the orbits and the separation of the different parts of the rocket and the rejoining of them for the return to earth. When they got to the moon Armstrong had to use his training to search for a place to land because where they expected to land was not flat.
What do you think of this? Armstrong had a speech prepared to deliver to us when he landed on the moon. He was going to say, ¨A small step for a man, but a giant leap for all mankind.¨ However, his words got garbled and what was recorded was, ¨A small step for man, a giant leap for all mankind.¨
Reading about Armstrong got me interested in flying, so I ordered a short adult book about the Wright Brothers.
My butt´s getting sore. I´ll write you when I get to another spot.
My Coffee Shop
I walked most of the way from the river to here. Boy is Sacramento eerie. It´s one thing to have weird people at the river or in parks, but it´s another to have so many one and two story ugly piece of shit concrete office buildings across from a row of beautiful old houses, and then another thing to have a ton of sterile new condos and apartments that nobody who is already here can afford.
Downtown, Midtown – it is stifling, soul-killing, phony. Remember the saying Are we having fun yet? Well, Sacramento is trying desperately to be a big city and a cultural center. Are we world class yet? Do we have soul now?
Even with all our trees we are nothing. A movie came out about the time you died – Edward Scissorhands. At the beginning was a panorama of an unbelievably sterile suburb with unreal trees. It terrified me. That´s how I feel about Sacramento. It´s unbelievably sterile.
I´m terrified of being old here. The beautiful trees in this ugly town make my bitterness worse. What happened to America?
I was reading a travel book about Russia. There was a lot of history in it. One of the things the book said was that Russia looks upon itself as female – Mother Russia.
That got me thinking about America. I can´t imagine referring to America as the motherland or the fatherland. There is no deep unfathomable American soul that I want to go down to the river on a sultry night to revel in as the water of my ancestors passes.
Wouldn´t it be nice if America had a connection to the earth and a connection to the great beyond?
Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko
You must be logged in to post a comment.