February 28, 2006

cigarette stealing

Get ready for a funny observance. It's 9am this morning, and raining hard. I decide to wear my rainboots- functional and stylish. The trolley stop is about 3-4 blocks away so I ran through the streets. People around me are dodging puddles, I'm stepping right into them. I feel like a carefree little kid.

I arrive at the stop and stand next to a homeless man with a hole in his sweatshirt with rain dripping in. I'm pretty sure he's cold and irritated. The trolley is on its way and you can hear its horn a little off. The man looks anxious. He darts across the tracks to the other side and grabs a cigarette right out of the mouth of a lady... and he darts back to our side, narrowly missing the trolley. Before the trolley blocked my view of her, I saw her jaw wide open, realizing she had her cigarette stolen right out of her mouth. He smoked it and looked back at her.

I have never heard of such a thing. How much do cigarettes cost? That someone would risk their life and steal one from the lady across the tracks.

I saw it live.

February 27, 2006

work to quit or live to give?

Why is there no light in the freezer? Why do you have to open the fridge so you can see in the freezer at night? I got home from SD poetry slam, opened my freezer for just one spoonful of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia. I just stood there wondering why it wasn't lit... did our bulb go out? Then I realized I'm not a late night ice cream kid, and in fact there is no freezer bulb to replace. Interesting I thought.

Rudy won at Voz Alta tonight.. again. The guy's a genius. www.collectivepurpose.com

Mondays are always interesting. I woke up late, actually I snoozed one alarm, and my phone (the backup) was on silent. As I was rushing to work, I contacted STA travel to see if we could get better fares than the 373 we were quoted by another travel agency. I worked all day and met some super interesting people. This one girl read the sign in the window about raising money for Hurricane Katrina Relief. (The sign is promoting 'stress relieving massages for Katrina relief'. The money raised will go towards plane tickets and other transportation once we get into New Orleans. She came in and I gave her a neck, temple and hand massage. We started talking and I got to share about what we'll be doing in New Orleans.. how it's an amazing parternship with Habitat for Humanity and FEMA. Then we talked about the tsunami and I talked about the Moken people. All of that to say that she was in Campus Crusade for Christ at UCSD in '99. It was so great for her to hear that transformational stuff is still going on. Naturally, she was encouraged too.

I got a call from STA this afternoon on my walk home.. a flight from LAX to New Orleans with a layover in Washinton/Dulles... 263 total with taxes and all. Such an incredible price. The 10 other I'm going with are pretty stoked about the 100+ savings.

This afternoon I took the trolley home and met some super nice teachers from Virginia.. that are here for a conference. I recommended Little Italy restaurants to try out.. we chatted it up and I acted as tour guide as we passed USD and Old Town. This older man kept nodding and smiling at me. There's people that nod and smile and then look away and there's those that hold the look- he was a holder. I got off the trolley to switch lines and he said, "Alright Allison, have a great afternoon." I stopped in my tracks... "how the heck did he know my name?" He was a nod and smile guy and now I was the shaking head, puzzled expression girl. I saw a girl that transferred the same time as I did. I said, "I don't know that guy, but he knows my name. He just said 'Allison'. " I was pretty distraught.. and all she said was, "Maybe the cup...." In my hand was a Starbucks Iced Coffee with my name. Mystery solved.

This afternoon it was raining and when it rains, I get artsy. I have this old pair of jeans.. the ones I've worn so much that the lines rips aren't creating my some factory worker.. I put them there. I thought they'd look really different if I cut the waistband off, making them lower and an unfinished top. Lesson learned. Waistbands keep your jeans banded around you waist. Without them.. you pants fall off. Katie called me to go to Voz Alta the very second I got out of the shower. I threw some mascara on, my new jeans creation, a zippie, and my rainboots and ran out of the door. I spent the night keeping my pants up. I don't know if any of my creative endeavours have been successful, now that I think about it.

One of the poets tonight asked "do you work to quit or live to give?" I've been thinking about it since.

February 16, 2006

i love tetris

Before I divulge into my hilarious recent trolley encounters, let me first mention www.narniarapbattle.com It's the west coast response to the SNL east coast rap about two guys on their way to see Chronicles of Narnia. It helps to see the original SNL first. "Let's get back in the Corolla..." (West Coast style)

Ok, so my recent trolley experiences have been keeping me laughing lately. Last week I was coming home from work and this shy Mexican man sat across from me. I have a new distraction on the trolley since my iPod Shuffle has been 'misplaced' for months (how many more months until it's called lost?). Lisa bought me a handheld Tetris game. I love this present so much. I told her this morning at coffee that I've never used something so much, except for my toothbrush and Reef sandals. I can play a 3 minute game which is perfect for intensity or the neverending game that is good for the long ride home when I just want to unwind. This Tetris game and the role it plays in my life is more complex than I'm willing to admit.

That being said, instead of my 'music video' trolley ride, I'm now the eyes down Tetris junkie. The thing about Tetris is that for many people, it's nostalgic. People want to tell me their Tetris story, just like when I ride my yellow retro beach cruiser and old men at pedestrian crossings want to tell me about their first bike. Entertaining to say the least. So instead of Tetris being an uninviting "I'm occupied" activity, it becomes very inviting. Sometimes people will lean into my game and give pointers, grunt when I make a mistake or rejoice with me when I eliminate 4 rows at once.

Back to the little Mexican man. I had my eyes down on Tetris, but a girl knows when she's being stared at. He would look away when I'd look up. This continued for about 5 looks, until he finally said in a lysped Spanish accent, "Uh.. I like your booooots". He looked away immediately. I said, "Thank you, I like them too". He went from looking out the window, to thrusting his hand out and saying, "I'm Victor, what is your name?" Great, now I have to PAUSE Tetris so I can shake Victor's hand. Long story short, I introduce myself, he asks about Tetris, about where I'm headed, and finally if I would go on a date with him sometime. I regretfully declined that offer, but the lysp accent and timidity cannot capture the comedy of the trolley ride. When Victor got off at the next stop, all the guys around gave me a hard time for the rejection. Oh, well.. "V as in Victor" will never be the same.

Tonight I was totally tired on the ride home. After a long day at school, attempting to give blood (but being rejected because I went to Thailand in tsunami areas and was exposed to malaria), a CRU meeting and a late trolley.. I just wanted to get home. Tetris in hand, I settled in for a long winter's night.

The couple that had been making out in the SDSU trolley station sat across from me. There's always that couple that won't stop kissing, giggling, whispering.. that everyone stares at. The guy of the couple was especially tall so that when he went to kiss the especially short girlfriend he looked like a giraffe swooping down for grass. So across from me is this couple, only the guy is so insanely tall that his knees are touching mine at first. I went to move and that is when my new friend sat down next to me. This guy smelled like my grandpa when he'd come home from the ranch.. what I never realized is that the aroma is pure sweat. My grandpa didn't have some special ranch smell, he had spent 14 hours sweating and working hard.. he just smelled. I though great- smelly man, smooching couple, knees touching, dead cellphone, and I'm so very tired... at least I have Tetris. The guy next to me says, "Where did you get that Tetris? How much did it cost? If you don't mind me asking.. because my girlfriend would really love that game.. oh boy, she'd love it... actually she's not my girlfriend.. it's platonic for now.. she needs space.. but I know she's into me and one day she'll be my girlfriend.. I help pay her rent." I said, "It was actually a great gift from a friend, but my guess would be Toys 'R Us.. it's perfect for the Trolley".

Now, I've met more homeless people in the last 6 months that I have in my whole life combined.. and I've learned that, for the most part, they'll talk whether you care to listen or not. A person in proximity with minimal eye contact, is an audience. Can you blame them? They're so very lonely, they're going through hard stuff and they want to process with whomever they can. This gentleman Sam (I never got a name, but if I had to pick one, it'd be Sam) said that the SDSU concert hall was left open that night and we went in and played some ballads from the musical he's writing. He was pretty excited about the opportunity to play on the baby grand on stage. The name of his musical is "A Hero's Story". He told me all about it. It opens with a couple in a small Italian Restaurant.. the song would be "a lesser known Billy Joel song, Italian Restaurant", says Sam. Are you kidding? That is my number one favorite song... the tempo changes like 5 times throughout.. a story about life, sung by Billy. I know it well. The character's names are Linda and Freddie. The song has two people named Brenda and Eddie... Sam is going to ask Billy Joel to re-sing the song with his characters in it. I told him that the names were really close and maybe he could just get away without requesting such a thing of Mr. Joel. He then continued to sing me some other ballads from the musical- aloud in the trolley for all to hear. I acted like I enjoyed it, might as well, you know? He was into it, they were decent, I thought I'd move my head like I'm grooving. He got off, I told him that I'd buy a ticket for "A Hero's Story" and gave a big smile. He got off and people started laughing, the make-out couple were squirming to make Sam comments. Fortunately, we pulled up to Old Town, where I switch from the blue to green line. I just shook my head and said, "We meet some super interesting people on here, huh?" They laughed and probably kissed, I didn't turn around to check. In my mind, they're still on the same trolley, riding it, lips locked.