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April 15th, 2011

~Friday~  I was at the city bus stop for a few minutes when Exercising Asian Man walked up and said, "Good morning."

"Good morning," I replied.

"Bus coming?" he asked as if I had any more powers "to know" than he did.

Although I wanted to say, "Eventually," I just said, "I don't hear it."

He balanced his backpack on that Southern Bell utility marker and took off on his little back-banging run down the street. He didn't get very far at all, though, when the bus came. He bolted back to the stop.

In the category of things that you don't want to hear your bus driver say, one of the drivers said over the bus's two-way radio system, "There's a smell on this bus that's kinda getting me, like, light-headed."

I can imagine the headlines now, "10 minutes before 16 passengers killed in bus wreck, driver complains of being, 'like, light-headed.'"

Hot Mess Driver was the helm of our bus, the one with the stop-signaling requirements, and once again she said something to a couple of passengers that just baffled me. Two people got on along Gorman Street, and I don't know if there was something wrong with the fare machine or what, but she said to them, "Wait to pay your fare at Cameron Village."

Okay. For one thing, there are about twelve stops between where they got on and the stop at Cameron Village, and second of all, who's to say they're even going that far. She slays me. So much inanity.



I meant to include these reactions of some of the team members when they saw those two pics of our almost completed Habitat house yesterday:





I was the last person at work in my area at 5:30 on a Friday, when a guy from upstairs came into my office and holding up a gift certificate said, "Eric Silberberg has this $25 gift certificate for Sullivan's Steakhouse (worse website ever, at least how it renders in Chrome), which he can't use, but the catch is that it expires today."

"I can use it. Thanks!" I said.

Just before leaving I took my ceramic coffee mug to the kitchen to rinse it out, and juggling that, my thermos, and a soft drink can to put in the recycle bin, I fumbled the mug and it crashed to the floor shattering into pieces and making a loud noise. A guy who works in another section of the basement came running out to see if everything was okay.

It was late enough at the bus stop that I thought I might run into Ann, but I didn't, and it was probably for the best—for her—as both of the bike racks were taken on her bus.



The earliest I could get a reservation—for one person, no less—at Sullivan's was for 9:00 PM, which I took. Now, I want to be clear here that despite what I'm about to recount, I am in no way saying I wasn't grateful for the $25 gift certificate. \O/

I'll start off by saying three (apparently straight) couples were walking out when I was walking in: three guys in tuxes and three girls in prom gowns, each guy presumably with one of each of the girls. And for the most part, the people dining in there were pretty dressed up. I'd gone all out and changed from my shorts and t-shirt into khaki pants and a short-sleeve button-down shirt. That's as good as it gets with me.

I was determined to spend as little of my own money as possible, which as soon as I opened the menu, I realized was going to be quite the challenge.

The first thing in the menu were the martinis and they were $11.00 a piece. Not a good sign.

I skipped to the entrees page, and there was a tie for the absolute cheapest item, one of them being:

Sully's Meatloaf $24
All-beef meatloaf, hints of blue cheese, horseradish mashed potatoes, sauteed onions, mushrooms and Bordelaise sauce.

Really? Really? $24 for a slice of meatloaf? Really? "All-beef" meatloaf, well I hope the hell so. For that price it should be all filet-mignon-beef meatloaf. I can't even imagine $12 being considered reasonable for a meatloaf entree, much less twice that. I'm just trying to imagine the conversation as they sat around deciding what price to put on that entree. Someone actually said? "Yeah, yeah, $24 is reasonable."

The other "cheap" choice, also $24, was their Roasted Chicken "Picatta Style."

I ordered their Chopped Salad for $9 and their Calamari appetizer, which was $14. I figured that would put me just over the $25 when the tax was added in.

If I were filling out one of those online e-Rewards surveys, and it asked me to indicate at what price that Chopped Salad would have been so cheap that I would have been suspicious about it, I would have answered $4.00. "And at what price would it have been a value?" $5.00. "And at what price would it have started to get too expensive?" I would have answered $6.00. So you know what I thought of $9.00.

The $14 calamari arrived in a dish a little bit longer and wider than a butter dish. It had jalapeños in it, and I went ten minutes without having my water refilled while I was eating it.

When the waiter brought my check, he evidently saw the gift certificate in my shirt pocket, and he said, "Did you want to use that?"

I gave it to him and when he came back with it all calculated, he said, "You're all set."

There was no tax added, so it was $23, which he showed me on the receipt that also showed that there was $2.00 available on it. "Did you want to get a cup of coffee or something to use up the balance?" he asked me.

Knowing damn well that I wasn't going to get a cup of coffee for less than $5.00 in that place, I said, "No, thanks. That's all right."

And then, even though the gift certificate said it couldn't be used for gratuity, since my service was not good and with the mark-up in that place I was pretty sure they were making money on me, I put two dollars in the check booklet and thought, "You can figure out how to get that other two dollars out of my balance for the rest of your tip if you want it."



I had brought a change of clothes with me to go out, but after leaving there at about 9:45, I changed my mind. Since I had my laptop with me, I stopped by Cup A Joe at Mission Valley, where I thought I'd hangout until they closed at midnight and work on my blog.

However, when I got to the door, I noticed that they were closing at 10:30, so I just headed home.

I stopped at the grocery store, where there ended up being two people in front of me at the checkout. The first one was a lady, and she dropped several coins on the floor trying to get them out of her purse. "I'm just back from a massage, and everything on my body's like rubber," she said.

The guy in front of me had a 12-pack of bottled beer and he said to the cashier after he rang that up, "I'll take a pack of Marlboro Lights, too."

The cashier, a college kid evidently working his way through school, said, "That'll be $13.11."

To which the boy replied holding out the $13 in his hand, "That's all I have."

The cashier hesitated for a minute, and then said, "I can cover it."

"Thanks, man. I could use my debit card, but I hate to get in that habit. Plus I'm going out tonight and I'll be spending even more money."

Yeah, god forbid you should use your "going out money" to pay for your beer and cigarettes when a working college kid can pick up your slack. Piece of work.

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