Sunday, 4 March 2018


            Since Thursday was the beginning of the month I had to go down to the bank to get my rent and phone money, but I needed to shave and shower first because I hadn’t had time the day before. I made it out the door a little after noon and rode to the Bank of Montreal at Portland and Queen. I told the teller I’d like to take $900 out of my account, but then I changed my mind and said I’d like to take it out of his account. He smiled and assured me he didn’t have that much. I took out my rent and phone money, plus some extra for shopping, then I pedaled back toward home and stopped at Freshco.
            I picked a pack of strawberries as soon as I walked in and then went to visit the bananas. Most of the good ones were taken, but there was a larger bunch of small green ones directly in front of a woman that was taking a long time trying decide which ones she wanted. I asked her if that bunch was hers but she said it was too much for her because she’s just by herself. Then she complained about the state that all the bananas were in. None of them were yellow but they all had brown areas that would be overripe once the rest of the banana was yellow.
In the fruit and vegetable section I saw my former PARC yoga student, Margaret, standing by the oranges with her walker. We hugged and then chatted briefly, then we hugged again and I moved on. I grabbed a bag of oranges from Spain and then went to the canned fruit aisle. Canned clingstone peaches, which are much tastier than the regular canned ones, were on sale. I remembered that I still needed avocados, so I went back to the vegetable section. Margaret was still there. Next to the avocadoes were hothouse tomatoes but they had neglected to put up a price for them. I decided to get a few anyway and I was just trying to find a good set of four when Margaret came up and declared that the vine ripened tomatoes are so much better than the other ones. She picked one up and inhaled pleasurably the fragrance of the vine, commenting that the other tomatoes give off no smell whatsoever. She opined that small fruit is always better and that is especially true for oranges. I offered that it depends, but she dismissed that view, saying that small oranges are always sweeter and juicier. It turns out that her assessment is generally true, apparently because fruits that get the minimum of water so as not to grow as big tend to be sweeter. I grabbed a few avocadoes and said goodbye again, then I went to buy some orange juice and checked out.
I rode past my place to Freedom Mobile and paid for my March phone service. Pay by the month services and landlords must love February.
I walked my bike back to my place and there was a woman panhandling near the Coffeetime. She was short, heavy set, looked like she might be Tibetan and was in a pathetic state. She was literally begging and pleading with people and though there were no tears her face and voice gave the appearance and sound that she was crying. She came up very close and loud to each person she beseeched, saying, “Please, buy me something to eat! I’m scared!” I told her “Sorry” but felt a little guilty. I went upstairs and the hall was choking with incense. I was hanging my bike up when Benji came in. He started telling me that Russia just announced that it had a new nuclear weapon that can’t be stopped. I was sceptical and told him that I’d just read that the entire economy for the Russian nation is the same as that of New York City.
He asked about my old speakers that I had piled in the hall and I told him they were blown, though somebody could make use of the wooden cases. We got into a light argument about digital versus analog sound. He insisted that analog is better but I challenged that most people that say that wouldn’t be able to tell the difference with a blindfold on. From what I’ve read, analog has a smoother sound but it seems to me that because of advances in digital audio technology the gap is narrowing and digital audio will probably surpass analog eventually. There is also deterioration with every analog copy of an analog recording, whereas digital copies are always the same.
I asked him how he could breathe in his place if the incense was so thick in the hall. He informed me that it wasn’t coming from his place at all but from the Shankar’s place on the other side of his. It seems that every Thursday Shankar does some kind of Hindu ritual and burns a shitload of sandalwood incense in the process.
I went back out to buy batteries and took my old DVD player and remote with me to set it on the curb. I don’t need it anymore because on the rare occasion when I play DVDs I use my computer’s DVD drive. I couldn’t make it open when I plugged it in though, so I had to pry it open with a screwdriver to make sure I hadn’t left a disk inside.
The pitiful panhandler was still out there and approached me again. I once again said, “Sorry”. I went to Fullworth to get a CR2032 battery for my guitar tuner and some AAAs for the remote control of the receiver I’d recently bought. The old one took AAs and so now I can’t use my AA rechargeables, which, when too weak for my camera would last for months in my remote.
The owner of Fullworth is West Indian and of East Indian descent, but he seems to be a Christian judging from the framed holographic images of Jesus that are prominently displayed for sale on the wall above the checkout counter.
When I was unlocking my door the plaintive panhandler came up close to me again and implored me to buy her something to eat. I asked her if she knew where the food bank was and she walked away from me quickly, whining, “I don’t have a kitchen!” There are things one can get to eat at the food bank that don’t require cooking. I assume that what she wanted was a sit down meal. I didn’t think of suggesting the St Francis Table to her, which is just a block or two away. I found out that their next meal of the day would have been a couple of hours from then. They ask for a dollar for the meal but they don’t turn anyone away.
That night I chopped and sautéed more onions, added a carton and a half of chicken broth and threw in a cut up rutabaga to make the last soup before my annual fast. I ate a couple of bowls while watching The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. The teleplay starred Robert Redford and Zohra Lampert. Redford put in an excellent performance as a bipolar spoiled rich man named David who is secretly a jewel thief for the thrill of it. He falls in love with the family’s French maid, Marie, who is played by Lampert but when his mother catches them together she fires the maid. When he tells his mother that he is going to marry Marie she disowns him. They get married and now suddenly he has to secretly steal for a living instead of for fun. He sells the jewels to his friend Carl, who is also French. Carl falls in love with Marie and secretly plots against David. David gets shot during one attempted theft though he doesn’t know that Carl tipped them off. When Marie finds him at home with a bullet wound he confesses that he’s been stealing for a living. She makes him quit being a thief but he loses his job because of his mood swings and Carl coaxes him back into crime. He sets him up again and he gets caught stealing jewels from a corpse in a funeral home. The security guard gets beaten to death but maybe Carl did it. David is charged with murder. On the day of his court case Carl tells her David doesn’t want her there and makes her take an extra sleeping pill, then Carl goes and testifies against David. When he comes back he tells Marie that David has been found guilty and that now they should run away together. He confesses that he set David up and tries to rape Marie. She stabs him and rushes to the courthouse, but too late. She goes out on a ledge in the high court building and threatens to jump unless they bring David to her. To get her off the ledge David tells her that he really did beat the man to death. They are embracing at the sad end.
Zohra Lampert was very impressive. I was quite surprised to find out that she really isn’t French but a Jewish girl from Brooklyn.
It was snowing when I went to bed.

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