1. We live on a fairly busy city street, in an apartment on the first floor, and the bedroom is in the front of the building. As such, we fall asleep to a certain number of fairly expected noises: high heels tapping on the pavement, ambulances whizzing by, pimps shouting at their prostitutes, you know the sort of thing. A few nights ago, however, my slow slouch into sleep was curtailed by a weird, breathy, lilting sound, as if someone was playing a bootleg record of a Jethro Tull concert and kept getting the needle stuck. I went over to the (open) window, looked out, and saw a dirty, bearded man with no shoes on sitting on the front steps of my building PLAYING THE FLUTE. And not playing it very well, I might add. I slammed the window shut---I'll admit, I was too chicken to shout anything, opting instead for the classic passive-agressive approach---and he got up from the steps and wandered up and down the street for a few minutes, playing his flute the whole time. I would like to know, among other things, how a homeless man could have a flute but no shoes.
2. Yesterday at Trader Joe's, I was reaching for a package of edamame---I'm trying to be healthy; I also bought flax and pomegranate seeds---and a man behind me said "how do you eat those?" I said "I'm not sure, I've never had them before, but the package says 'shelled and ready to eat' so I guess I'll just eat them by the handful." The man said 'I've had them roasted before, so maybe you could roast them." And I said "yeah, maybe I could," flashed him a smile, and darted back to my (overflowing) cart. I do not really like making conversation at the grocery store. I mean, who does?
About half an hour later, I was in Safeway---man cannot live by Trader Joe's alone; they do not have Diet Coke or Grape Nuts, for instance---and I heard a voice behind me: "hey, did you leave your shopping at the other store?" I turned around. It was Edamame Man, who had been joined by (I assume) his girfriend. I smiled and said yes and turned my attention to the sugar-free Jello. "Were they okay with you leaving it there?" Edamame Man persisted. "Oh, well, I left it in my car," I said. "Hmm," said Edamame Man, considering. "Do you live in Russian Hill, by any chance?" I turned around and said "What? No, Nob Hill," simultaneously wondering why I was giving up this information. "Ah!" he said. "Awesome! Even better! Because we keep following each other around, don't we? Seems like we keep seeing you!" "Yeah, I know, it's random!" I said brightly with a forced smile, picking up the first package of sugar-free Jello I could find. As I hurriedly rounded the corner into the next aisle, I heard Edamame Man shout out "Hey, could you give us a ride home?"
3. Yesterday afternoon, I walked to the San Francisco Public Library, which meant sauntering right through the middle of the Tenderloin. The people in the Tenderloin aren't mean, they're just crazy, and I've found if you don't make eye contact with anyone and just keep walking purpopsefully, it's about as safe as walking down Fifth Avenue. Safer, maybe. That way, people tend not to talk to you, and stick to talking to themselves. On this occasion, though, I was huffing and puffing up the hill, arms full of books, when a bearded, dirty, shoe-less man (oh my, they're a dime a dozen in this neighborhood; this one, at least, did not have a flute) grabbed my arm and said "You look beautiful! Keep up the good work!"
And because I had started a new skincare regime the day before and had also been trying to drink a ton of water over the last few days---and had, of course, also bought the edamame and the flax and the pomegranate seeds---I did not take this for what it was (a crazy person grabbing my arm and spouting nonsense) and instead took it as a sign that the skincare regime and the drinking-of-water and the eating of edamame was totally working. I mean, keep up the good work, he said! And so I went home and moisturized.