The leaves here are changing, in that subtle, drab California
way - hardly any color, very understated, nothing too bright.
Have you noticed how we're suddenly awash in Russians? Everywhere I turn
around now, it seems I'm hearing their language spoken in public. In
the supermarket, a hefty babushka was behind me in line, along with Ena,
her young charge - daughter or some close relation. On the conveyor belt
behind my carrots, cookies and kiwi she placed several quarts of cultured
buttermilk, some thick chicken sausages, a quart of non-Clorox house-brand
bleach (whose label she was scrutinizing very carefully), and four
tubs of beef liver - the name alone was triggering my gag
What in the world was to be concocted with these ingredients? I tried
to ignore them, instead observing Ena as she handled all the possible
candy choices. Nothing was satisfactory so she went to another aisle,
searching elsewhere for the good stuff, just as it was my turn to pay.
Depressing - at work today, thinking it'll probably be my last weekend
time alone in the covered plywood hallways of our village of trailers. In
several ways it's the best at-work environment I've ever had. While going
through some stuff in preparation for our move to new quarters I came
across an organization chart dated 1980, the oldest one in a file of
my org charts. It's a souvenir now, of zero value, but I keep a few
snapshots from my career - anyway, it got me thinking - what happened
then? Gone now utterly, like it never existed, but this was a whole year
of my life - what'd I do?
In 1980 I...
- Drove with T up to the summer cottages on his Ontario island,
in his mother's Pinto - as we sat around the fireplace the news
came over the radio that
I rode the Greyhound from there to Chicago (where I stayed at the lakeshore
Hilton) - the only time I've ever toured that city - then flew
back on the new, cheap Midway Airlines via Midway Airport, with a
ticket I bought from L's sister, during the brief interval she was
a travel agent. That was the trip where I didn't take a suitcase - instead,
to avoid looking like a tourist, I operated out of brown grocery bag, which
disintegrated during the final walk home from my sweating in the hot sun.
- Richard Pryor had immolated himself while freebasing cocaine, and
- Marshall Tito had died, which would eventually change the face
- Moved out of that awful "new Greenbelt" apartment, across from GSFC,
when the ceiling collapsed in an August rainstorm. I broke the lease and had
to pay some nominal fee but it was worth it. A month later I was on the tenth
floor of a highrise - a step up in class, though it was smaller - a studio
rather than the one bedroom.
- Began the year in New York City with all L's family, in Times
Square. Many in the packed crowd around us were tooting little tin horns,
and a fat black woman kept hollering "Happy New Year!" into my ear, mashed
up against my side. The year ended with a girl named Ursula kissing me, as she
circulated throughout the suburban party I attended way out in the Bowie
"boonies". The day before I'd bought my first car, a used '71
VW Beetle, and in the light snow that had begun falling that evening, I was
forced to stop too suddenly on the way home and I skidded both into the late
70's land barge ahead of me (no damage to him but my headlight smashed & fender
dented) and sideways into the adjacent curb, bending my front axle which cost
a bundle to fix. Ouch! (But that was technically in 1981, so it doesn't count.)
- Joined my company team in the GSFC soccer league at work, and found out how
well foreigners could play and how out of shape I really was, even though I had
no car and therefore bicycled several miles daily.
- Went through a GI series in an attempt to determine why I had pains on
either side of my lower abdomen - no diagnosis came of this and they eventually
went away. During that period I saw "Xanadu" with K (my sister) and my Dad, and
"Raise The Titanic" with my brother N (enjoying both films).
- Also saw "Chushinguru" with U and "High School Confidential!" with D & G.
- Was talked into buying a television by my co-worker Eddie - I got an
enormous Zenith "portable" (though its screen was only 13 inches) instead
of the superior and more expensive Sony: a patriotic gesture. Memorable
shows I watched: "Prisoner: Cell Block H" (known merely as
"Prisoner" in its native Australia), "Flo" starring
Polly Holliday <2> (not
for her, but despite her - I liked everyone else on the
program), "Galactica 1980", and the premier
screening of the mini-series "Shogun". I sold this appliance to an
acquaintance from a previous job the next year.
- Experienced "A Chorus Line", and it was wonderful. Also
saw a production of "Guys And Dolls" at a dinner theater.
- Returned to New York, driving up with U and L to attend E's wedding - the
one time I've been to a Jewish one, and they went all out, the full deal.