Saturday Report from the Rocket Cat

Not as many hipsters in here today as there usually are. The fashion item for today is men in black knit caps. I spy four of them right now (there are only about a dozen people present). Also a couple of ironically ugly sweaters (I'm hoping they're ironic). My least favorite barrista is here. She never, ever, never smiles, wears a blank, expressionless face, moves with absolutely no sense of urgency so that you wait for a minimum of ten minutes to get a cup of coffee even when there's just one person ahead of you, and uses the least amount of words possible to complete the transaction no matter how nice you are to her:

Example:

B: Yes?
Customer: Could I please have a cup of coffee for her?
B: $1.25.

I'm sure if she could manage it, she would just stand looking at you until you pointed at what you wanted, thus requiring no real interaction at all.

Here's another exchange Liz and I once witnessed with her.

(Confused man standing at counter).

B: Yes?
Man: Uh...how much are your muffins?
B: (looking at the sign where the prices are posted and pointing to illustrate the man's utter stupidity): $1.75.
Man: Okay...
B: So?
Man: How about...I'll have a bagel.
B: (wordlessly gives him his bagel): $1.85.
Man: (pays her. Looking at the change): Oh, could I get change for $1?
B: We don't give change here.
Man: I just really need to make a phone call.
B: There's this thing? I don't know if you've ever heard of it. It's called a bank.
Man: Oh...
B (turning to me): Yes?

Now, I understand that it must be irritating to have indecisive customers, and to wait on people in general sucks, but she could at least refrain from being a dick. I'm actually nervous about asking for a refill because all I have is a $20 bill and I'm scared she'll say, Don't you have anything smaller, for the love of God??!

I'm going to try to get some writing done today, but it is difficult because I can get on-line here and that makes me want to procrastinate, you know, to spend three hours downloading custom content for Sims even though I seldom play it anymore. I may have mentioned that Shawn created a household of three cats--Ernesto, Henri, and Gretel. It makes me sad to play that house because then I miss Gretel.

I am signing up for an advanced fiction course in the spring semester. I hope this commitment will force me to write something decent. Three of the five stories I wrote in the other workshops at Temple all got accepted for publication, and so I just need to put in the time in (this is the secret to writing that we learned in grad school: "Ass in chair"). I would also love it if someone approached me to publish a collection of short stories, but that just doesn't happen. You have to send your manuscript out and though I have done that three or four times, it's always been to contests which are very competitive.

Am reading Augusten Burroughs' latest book, and he has this great chapter about how writing saved his life. He wrote Sellevision in one week because he spent hours and hours writing it. I know that when I start something, it starts to fill my thoughts (a much more satisfying feeling that thinking obsessively about my job or the lives of my Sims). My favorite thing is when I am not writing at the moment but something occurs to me for the story and I absolutely have to run back to the page to get it down.


Another book I recently finished is Random Family. It's a nonfiction book about kids growing up in the Bronx and it will break your heart. You only have to walk around my neighborhood to see that Fishtown has similar problems. Leaving my house today, I encountered a woman (though she looked about fifteen) and her little girl (who looked about eight). She was wheeling a huge cart filled with laundry; about four full duffel bags and the little girl was trying to lug a heavy bottle of detergent. I offered to carry the detergent to the laundromat and on that short walk, I learned that she had four kids, three by one dad, and one by the other dad, that she just recently started working again, that she was trying to save up enough money to buy a car, and that the second dad was a deadbeat, and that she's been dating the father of the first kid for nine months and he is the one currently left alone at home watching the other 3 kids. The laundromat was small, dirty, and stuffed with people.

Nute was back the other day continuing to hack away at his house by knocking down walls, tearing off wallpaper, and basically gutting the place. He told us how we had missed some serious drama while we were away on vacation.

Apparently, two teenage girls knocked on Haley's mom's door. They were sent to collect money owed to their mother by Haley's mom. The two women used to be friends, but had a falling out. H.M. stood on the front step, yelling, Get away from here! Your mother is a f-ing slut! Youse are all outsiders here! One of the girls said, Uh, we live two blocks away. HM's said, Outsiders! Tell your slut of a mother to come here herself if she wants the money. A little while later, a man (the friend's husband or boyfriend showed up to get the money). HM let him in and a few minutes later, he and HM's boyfriend came flying through the front door, punching each other and rolling on the ground. HM boyfriend was shouting, You're worse than a (derogatory term for an African-American)! You like a dirty Iraqi terrorist! Nute went over to break it up and the guy left, only to show up a few hours later, staggering drunk, to retrieve his truck, at which point, HM called the cops and told them that he was harassing him. The man was arrested for public drunkenness. HM: 1 point. The Outsiders: 0.

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