Sunday, May 20, 2007


The man was juggling his three balls on the street corner. I was stopped at the light, waiting for the green of Go. He had a sandwich board propped open at a 45 degree angle and his body was between me and the sign, so I couldn't read what it said. So I watched him juggle the red balls and studied him.
He was an older guy, about six feet tall, and he was wearing glasses and suspenders and kind of glumly looking at the traffic as the balls danced before his face. He didn't look like he was having a good time, that was for sure. Across the street, kitty-corner to the juggler, a middle-aged woman crossed, heeding not the fact that the minivan in the left-hand turn lane had the green turn arrow in its favor. She reached the curb with a sheepish smile and shrugged her shoulder slightly as the van turned behind her. Whoops, she seemed to be thinking. Oh well.

[I wanted to shout at her. I'd deride her not for having her head up her ass, but I'll be damned if I wouldn't let her have it with both barrels for walking her bike. It's a pet peeve of mine: People who walk their bikes. They're bikes, people; they're meant to be ridden. Why do people do that? I know, I know: It is safer, for some unknown reason, to walk the bike at the crossing, but that doesn't explain why people walk their bikes when they're on the sidewalk, say, or just on a side street. It makes me want to scream.]

I looked away from the sheepish shrugging woman and I looked back to the juggler. He had ceased his show and was standing, morosely, looking out into traffic. The light turned green and, as I pulled forward, I looked to my left to see what was written on the sign. I figured it might have been some sort of advertising--like Little Caesar's, which has teenagers holding signs that proclaim the availability of five-dollar Hot-and-Ready cardboard pizzas--but, when I finally saw what the sign read, I realized that I had been wrong, that the guy was not a juggling advertisement. I didn't get a good look at it, but the sign read something like "Can you spare a nickel?" and then some other writing.

Has it gotten that bad in this country? That old men have to slap on suspenders and newsboy hats and take to street corners and throw a ball up in the air and then throw another up in the air before catching the first, all for a "nickel?" Are people in this country--supposedly a land of riches--inconveniently morphing into hobos as we--politically--dump billions of dollars into a sandy nation, the residents of which neither wanted nor will stand for our continued "occupation?"

Gasoline is over $3.50 a gallon, unemployment is skyrocketing (at least here, in Michigan), children are "left behind" at a frenetic pace...and now we have street performers. What's next? Mimes outside the Capitol Buildings?


Sugar Kane said...

This makes me unbelievably sad. It amazes me that we can spend millions tyring to improve the lives of people who don't want our help, yet tell our own citzens to fuck off.

and yes, bike riders suck.

The One and Only A said...

Billions, Sugary. Billions. I don't understand it either, obviously. Make NO fucking sense. None 'tall.

Regarding bike riders: I don't have too much of a problem with them when they're riding their bikes...that's all well and good. But...*ride* it, people; don't fucking *walk* the bike. It's not a horse; it doesn't need a breather. And? If your ass hurts from riding the bike. Get the hell back on and develop some callouses.

ZINNNNNNGGGGGG! (I told them, I did, I did.)

Stephanie said...

In my family, its 10 points if you can spank the biker on the buttocks while driving by. 20 for running them over – but that rarely happens, the running over part...hardly ever.

Nanette said...

Last week in Laguna Beach, I watched a man go from trash can to trash can, looking for something to eat. It makes me sick to think about the amount of money thrown away to this illegal war. Here is a link to the calculator, if you can stomach it. Cost of War

The One and Only A said...

Stephanie: Ah, the Spank of Spandex! ;-) Hopefully, you never do that to Claude; he might throw the whole damned bike up on your patio! =)

Nighthawk Nan: As I live and breathe...WELCOME BACK! :-D I hope you had a good trip. And the cost of the war? Vomitous.

The One and Only A said...

Just looked at that link, Nighthawk: It makes me fidgety...I want to stop the roll, as it were. That's like a thousand dollars every quarter-second. Priorities, indeed.

Melissa said...

But, wait. What if I get tired? And I'm really far from home (say a few blocks, at least) and there is a HUGE hill? Can I walk my bike then?

I wish I'd never clicked on that link, Nanette. Sickening!

Dictadam said...

No, Melissa, sorry. =o( NEVAH!!!


[Okay, that was a good scenario. Here's whatcha do: You get off the bike and stand there, or sit there, and pant. When you're not so tired, you are allowed--by Adam Law--to get back on the bike and climb the hill. And if you need to backtrack to get a rolling start, that is admissable, as well. It'll build character.]

Melissa said...

That's why I'm like, "Fuck character."


The One and Only A said...


steen said...

It's comforting to know that the huge chunk of my paycheck going towards "social security" is well used.

Isabella Snow said...

Ok that's depressing.

But don't complain about gas. It's more than 8 bucks a gallon here!

The One and Only A said...

Hi, Steen! Welcome. Yeah; I hear ya. That is NEVER gonna be there for the 30-somethings, let alone the 20-somethings, like you. =(

Isabella: How much?! Eight. Bucks. A. Gallon. What a rip-job. Price-gouging at it's best.