According to the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) officer who conducted the volunteer training at San Quentin last night, you must wear a whistle at all times. Why a whistle?
As she said, “there are no false alarms with a whistle.”
You blow that thing, and they come running.
One of the best things to happen all day today was the e-mail from the CHP about how they’d closed off one of the streets near my office and — not to worry — “law enforcement is in the process of mitigating the suspicious package.”
I’m pretty sure that means “the cops would love to blow up the backpack they found in front of Philz, but that’s pretty loud for the middle of the day, so they’re trying to figure out some mellower way to get rid of it.” Or else:
Cop #1: Poke it with a stick, man.
Cop #2: No, YOU poke it with a stick.
Walking home in the evening, I pass Dark Carnival, the mystery/fantasy bookstore, and The Escapist, the neighborhood comic book store. And feel so lucky to live where I do.
I went to mass here a few months ago. Despite the fact the mass was in Spanish, and I don’t speak Spanish, it didn’t really matter. If you go to church every Sunday for the first 22 years of your life and say the same prayers every Sunday you will know what people around you are most likely saying, even if you don’t speak the same language. (This is the exact opposite of what happens when you get a pedicure and the women are speaking Vietnamese — a language you have exactly zero knowledge of — and your best guess is always that they’re talking about what a mess you are, which might be the case, but it’s just as likely they’re talking about their kids.)
It felt like a little bubble of my childhood inside that church — the same scent of lily, occasional incense, worn missals and weekly bulletins. The virgin in her alcove. People kneeling and standing in unison. Parish churches are seldom beautiful. They’re sort of the Thomas Kincaid of ecclesiastical art. The saints have sentimental faces, the folk choir is earnest but average, and the crucifix is almost always a weird mix of a deeply uncomfortable body of Christ who has the face of a man who’s maybe a tad bit troubled by a circling mosquito. If that.
There’s a McDonald’s on International Blvd. right behind St. Bernard’s and I went there after church. I had an egg McMuffin, which was pretty awesome. Kind of like donuts in the church hall — your reward for not bitching too much about having to endure an hour inside the church when your dad (the atheist) gets to sit outside in the parking lot and read the Sunday paper.
It was years and years (more than I care to admit) before I realized that this neighborhood bar might be called The Graduate because its owner went into beer instead of plastics. Also it isn’t that far from the Cal campus.
Crickets. Trucks on brick roads. Train whistles from the tracks near the Missouri River. My keyboard. I’m in love with this place. With the sky:
With my studio:
With Nebraska City: