Beware, or I'll eat you alive.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"When the Lights Go Down In The City..."

Friday was a day of very mixed emotions' Day Sweet Things.

Thursday I was excited, yes, excited to see the rain coming down and once again washing my City, creating a misty haze for the neon lights to blur into and be defused from their gaudiness to soft accents in the twilight, the buildings lined in red to celebrate the 49er’s win.

As the ferry pulled away from the dock taking me home to my refuge, droplets of rain and the spray of the bay made a further soft distortion of the city skyline, rendering it to a fairyland of lights that hide the grittiness of it’s streets; a promise on its lips like lies on a well paid hooker’s tongue.

Like that song “When the lights go down in the City….”

It was comforting to return home, although silent, but warm, lived in by both our lives, Joe once again pulling a late night shift, his cell phone message about grief on the streets, and his thoughts knowing I am his support to get through another night in our own ‘naked city’.

Then Friday morning as he returned from duty, my own knight, giving this ‘sleeping beauty’ an awaking kiss and the smell of coffee perking in the kitchen, even as the night had not yet given away to a rain drenched over cast dawn.

Seeing his face drawn in sadness and hearing softly in the back ground Etta James singing “At Last”….

I asked him “hard night?” and he nodded saying “it wasn’t made any easier after I heard Etta James passed away.” Etta is one of Joe’s favorite female jazz singers.

“It’s like when we lose one of them that we grew up with, we lose a part of ourself too.” he said. I could only hug him; I knew the night had been tough on him and that he always likes to relax with one of his singing ladies. I told him “It may not seem like much but at least she was recognized and we have a large body of her work preserved, she’ll never die.” And I was rewarded with a smile.

Only when things had been difficult or funny would he unload what is on his mind, a young 11 year old Asian girl was kidnapped in the very early morning hours from her parents home by a 40 year old Asian man who was acquainted with the family, a shooting at a undercover officer, the funeral of a 5 year old boy who was shot and killed and his murderer still not found, Joe sent a donation to the family to help with the funeral, he told me a number of officers sent something.

The Occupy Oakland group protesting against the police and vandalizing property along the way. Joe warned me that the Occupy S.F. group was going to be in the financial district, he was worried for me, and I assured him I had my tennis shoes and pepper spray already packed.

But it’s the children that prey on his mind. More than once he’s said “what kind of society shoots, kidnaps, rapes, murders little children? What have we become?”

When the lights go down in the City….”

He fell asleep on my bed, exhausted as he was reciting the nights event’s, I removed his belt and shoes and covered him with a comforter, set the timer on the coffee maker for when I know he’ll wake up. Seldom has his internal clock failed him.

Fortunately I didn’t have a problem getting to work; my connections were fine as the Ferry plowed through the Bay to my City, even the rain felt so good on my face.

Everyone seemed to want to go slow and be careful in what they were doing, tying up loose ends, dotting I’s and crossing T’s. Making sure that nothing was going to delay their leaving to go home.

“When the lights go down in the City….”

My assistant was worried about getting home, so we planned on leaving together, which turned out to be a good thing. A hundred or so protestors were being an annoyance, I saw one man just upset talking to police, I was told he was parked in an alleyway out of the Occupy’s way and some dozen or so of them surrounded his car and told him to move, he wasn’t even in the car just watching the parade of protestors, until some of them threw paint on his car, it wasn’t an expensive car, it was a working man’s car, part of the 99% and yet they vandalized it.

My assistant and I came to the conclusion that this so called Occupy Wall Street West is nothing more than an excuse to do damage and be vandals under the disguise of being protestors. They have lost any and all creditability with me.

We were wondering how we could get down to either a BART station or the Ferry, in the rain and the wind, so we looked at each other and started singing “Love Me Do” a Beatles song, and sort of danced with briefcases in hand doing our 2012 version of “Laverne and Shirley”, then we switched off to “It’s a Hard Day’s Night” followed by “5 O’clock World” (the Vogues), flipping to “She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”, I was surprised my Assistant knew so many of the songs, but she’s a 60’s rock fan. So singing and dancing our way down towards the Ferry dock in our now soaking tennis shoes, people made way for us, even the Occupy protestors, the police officers that were there just smiled, yes we were harmless, we kept it up until we arrived laughing at our destination. And no one stopped us.

Using her cell phone she contacted her Grandparents to tell them where she was going to be when we got on the other side of the Bay. Using the time waiting and riding the Ferry we exchanged our thoughts on the City, on work, on our dreams, she is ambitious and she has smarts, in time when she moves up in the company or takes a better position at another company we can be friends instead of Manager and Assistant.

She was feeling the pull as well as I saw her looking with longing at the City as it receded into the distance.

“Oh I want to be there in my City…ohhhh

Her Grandparents, met us at the dock, and taking advantage of their kindness they drove me home; I thanked them and wished them a good night and a good weekend.

Joe was still asleep, he was more exhausted than I thought, at least when he woke up it was to good news, the 11 year old Asian girl was found unharmed, they captured the suspect who shot at the police officer, I wish I could have given him more.

The coffee was warm but being so long on the warming plate it had turned bitter, I washed it out and made a fresh brew, dinner was baking in the oven, a simple shepherds pie.

As the coffee dripped through, the dinner baked, and Joe taking a shower, I went out onto the covered balcony and looked out at my City, partially hidden by rain and clouds, the early evening darkness surrounding me, and my City….

I realized I could never leave here, the pull is too strong, I’ll keep my country home but until I can no longer walk those streets, with it’s rain and fog, it’s bustle and hustle, it’s crowds and smells, it’s noise and it’s hidden silence, it’s light and dark, with all it’s contradictions, my eternal hunt for “the black bird”, it’s magic, for all it’s grittiness, has me entwined to its heart…

“For when the lights go down in the City,

And the sun shines on the Bay….

Oh I want to be there in my City…

Oh, oh, ohhhhhhhh”

Later Sweet Things, Kisses.

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