People Are Strange

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.

1
lisa
Feb 19, 2007

Wow, serenaded and complimented... The shoeless--they love you!

2
chirky
Feb 19, 2007

A) I didn't know you can buy edamame pre-shelled. I've always bought it in the pod.

B) I didn't know you can buy pomegranate seeds. I've always bought the whole fruit.

C) What the hell do you do with flax?

3
Tia (Unstrung Harpy)
Feb 19, 2007

I'm not sure which is worse, the shoeless flute-player right outside your window, or the stiletto-wearing flute player who lives above me, who not only practices her flute at midnight but who will then stomp around in her heels after I bang on the ceiling.

4
Sarah Marie
Feb 19, 2007

Just yesterday I made some garlicky cous cous and threw some edamame in...I also sneak it into rice sometimes. I second the question on the flax--what do you do with it?

I wonder if the shoeless can sniff out your newness to San Francisco. Maybe once you shed that and get your resident badge they'll leave you alone and move on to the next newbie.

5
Scarlett
Feb 19, 2007

You can put flax seeds on a salad or bake bread and put them in/on top of it.

Beyond that, I don't know...

6
Wacky Mommy
Feb 19, 2007

Welcome to the West Coast. Life is different here. Portland's unofficial motto is "Keep Portland Weird." I'm thinking, does it have to be this weird? Because I'm okay with only a little weird.

7
Gretchen
Feb 19, 2007

Girl, you are a bold one. I read this stuff and just SHUDDER -- Orange County is so whitebread, and I've lived here so long, and things are so much less "oh, the humanity" here. I suppose after a jaunt through Asia this is all in a day's work for you, but I have to laugh at myself for being so sheltered. The other day I drove past an exit ramp sign, about four miles from my house, that had been gang-tagged with spray paint, and I spent the rest of the day feeling VIOLATED.

8
OMSH
Feb 19, 2007

I totally make conversations in the grocery aisle - and any line, anywhere. I think it is more of a southern thing. We all talk here. Paying for gas - talk. Waiting in line at Wal*mart - talk. Waiting in line at the movies - talk. It is expected. I like it. It's friendly.

I do not, however, like to be serenaded by shoeless flute players - or grabbed by homeless beauticians.

9
Em
Feb 19, 2007

You mean you left that poor ride-less couple at Safeway without so much as a ride home!? Tsk. Tsk.

10
hillz
Feb 19, 2007

ummm... whats edamame?

the homeless man must have been a skincare adviser on tv before Victoria Principle came and took over from everyone, so clearly knows what he is talking about.

11
Thespian Libby
Feb 19, 2007

But wait.....Isn't this "go to new job wearing pointy shoes day"? How fun and thoughtful of you to work in a new post betwixt and between filling out hr forms and getting a tour of the office and such. Do you have a code for the postage meter, or do they let you stamp things all willy-nilly? Is there a supply closet filled with wonderful office-y things? Make sure to get a box of small AND a box of large paper clips. I think the tee nincey little binder clips are my favorites, though. (I also prefer the brightly colored post-it notes as opposed to the pastels.....) Are there fun places to have lunch nearby? I will assume that in the office you're surrounded by people who are wearing shoes. However, are they being as complimentary as your barefoot buds? Details! We must have details! (I still cannot believe you are actually having to start a new job on a HOLIDAY.)

12
whoorl
Feb 19, 2007

Be sure and toss the edamame in a little bit of kosher salt before you eat it (salt is healthy, right?). YUM.

13
Erica
Feb 20, 2007

You can put flax seeds in lavender scented eye pillows!

14
Sheila
Feb 20, 2007

Shelled edamame in the bag, when frozen, is the perfect thing to place on those sore calf muscles you get when walking in San Francisco. Or for chucking at scary ride-seeking weirdos. Whichever.

15
Jemima
Feb 20, 2007

The unshelled kind are the best, because it's a little like eating boiled peanuts only better for you. And prettier. Also go well with beer.

And yes, I posted something. Finally.

How was your first day of work? Red stapler?

16
Melanie
Feb 20, 2007

At least if Sean ever was to make the mistake of dumping you, you'd have tons of shoeless homeless men ready to compliment you and play flute music for you, and maybe some regular weirdos to help you pick out your groceries.

17
Josh
Feb 20, 2007

I literally have no idea what edamame is. I don't even know how to say it.

I think it's wonderful that the homeless man with no shoes has a flute- I would sacrifice all the shoes in the world before I gave up music, no matter how imperfectly I played.

There is a man on our (pretty damn shoddy) estate who occasionally comes out into the courtyard at night and plays his flute. It's not particularly melodious, but I turn my stereo off and throw my window open everytime I hear it.

18
Zandria
Feb 20, 2007

I just came across your website last week, but I wanted to let you know that I've been enjoying your posts. This one was hilarious! Like you, I don't care to make conversation in a grocery store. If someone speaks to me, I answer as quickly as possible and look away. That's too crazy about seeing that guy twice in the same day. And of course he had to act like he was "familiar" with you!

(I'm sure the compliment was completely due to the moisturization and healthy eating, by the way.) :-)

19
Diane
Feb 20, 2007

I feel that any compliment is deserved especially when accompanied by healthy eating and water drinking. Besides, have you looked in the mirror lately, you are gorgeous Holly (and I have my shoes on!).

Hope your first day at the dream job was fab!

20
Rita
Feb 20, 2007

About the noise in your neighborhood- I'd suggest buying a sound machine. I have one and I've been getting great sleep. It totally drowns out all but the loudest of noise. I bought the Hammacher Schlammaker (I just mutilated the spelling of that I'm sure)...it was a little more expensive then some bought comes with rave reviews.

21
David Burn
Feb 20, 2007

Wacky Mommy,

Austin and Asheville (and possibly several other cities) also want to stay weird.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on the matter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Austin_Weird

22
chirky
Feb 20, 2007

We're all anxious to hear how your first day went. Are people being nice to you? Are you bribing their love with homemade chocolate chip cookies?

It works, you know.

23
stultify
Feb 20, 2007

I'm wildly curious as to where the shoeless/homeless man got the flute. Perhaps he was rich before his homelessness and the flute is the only thing he's held onto from his past life? Too bad he wasn't playing a saxophone, I imagine that being serendaded by a saxophone in the middle of the night wouldn't be so bad.

24
Chiada
Feb 20, 2007

Note to commenters: Edamame are soybeans. Pronunciation sounds a bit like Ed-uh-mommy. They can be prepared in the shell, steamed, and served with a light dusting of salt (as in sushi houses), or served as a snack after they've been shelled. I think of the Princess Diaries when Anne Hathaway tells the person frisking her backpack, "Please don't crush my soy nuts". (Hey, that movie took place in San Fran too!)

Holly, your stories remind me of when I lived in an upstairs apartment in Santa Barbara on the busy thouroughfare: State Street. Although it was at Upper State Street, away from the clubs and partying and shopping, I still heard a lot of traffic, sirens, shouting, and other crazy-people sounds. It was fun, while it lasted. That picture of the hill Sean takes to work is beautiful! What a place to live!

25
notsoccer mom
Feb 21, 2007

oh, call me a chicken, but this is exactly why i live in the suburbs... as a single mom, i just don't feel that's the safest for my 7yo and me! but i'm only an hour away from the city (SF) in case i want/need to be in it.

26
alidarien
Feb 22, 2007

Rough translation of ancient (vintage?) Chinese poem

If of thy mortal goods
two loaves alone are left,
sell one.
And with the dole
buy hyacinths
to feed the soul

No point in selling just the one shoe, when two can buy you a flute