the kindness of strangers

September 22, 2013


bird_in_handI am out —

On my balcony last night having a smoke. It is pretty late, the bars are closing up and things are quieting down.

This girl comes down the path. She is dressed real pretty, in a skirt with sequins on it that flutter under the pale street light. She has long dark hair and bare arms and looks cold and is moving very slow.

I think, uh oh. This path is not really the place to be this late on Saturday night alone incapacitated if you are a girl. As she gets closer I realize it’s not that she’s really drunk. She’s clutching very high heels and walking barefoot, I do not know for how long, but her feet clearly really hurt. And she’s really lost. And she’s also clutching a cell phone whispering into it. And then she sees me.

She hands the phone up to me on the balcony and I talk to her friend and find out where she is supposed to be and take her through the building paths to where she needs to go.

When we can see her friends up ahead she says, Max, you are an angel of mercy.

I laugh and say, No, this is the kindness of strangers. Everyone gets it and the only rule is you pass it on.

And she says, No, you don’t know it, but you are an angel.

Then her friends gather her up into safety and take her away and I go back to my balcony and finish my smoke.

I probably did look like an angel to her. I was in all oversized white and I have almost white blonde hair and the balcony is several feet off the ground so there I was, pale with pale hair all in white hovering off the ground when she was lost in the dark.


cartoon day yay!

July 13, 2009




where i nabbed that cartoon :
i nabbed that cartoon at kitty’s

who created that cartoon :
that is by kate beaton

me and my band

January 25, 2009


je_suis_mortI am —

Standing outside a bar having a smoke. A man who is a total stranger to me walks up to me and tells me I should not smoke. [I do not know why total strangers think it is okay to tell me what to do.] I say, Oh it is a job requirement I am in a band called Black Lung. He perks up. He says, Really? You are in a band? Where do you play?


[People are SO dumb.]


where the art work comes from :
that is from bastatas

the magic fish

January 5, 2009


magic_fishWhen —

I was a kid my parents took me to this fair. It was exciting with lights and rides all over and cotton candy and games with prizes and there was this one game where you threw a ping pong ball at little bowls with goldfish in them and if your ping pong ball went into one of the bowls you won the fish.

My dad got me some ping pong balls and I aimed for those fish bowls but each time the ping pong ball bounced off the rim proving I probably did not have a future career as a center for the Lakers. But then the guy behind the counter who looked like an adult to me but who was probably just a kid himself said, Wait, there is a magic way to do this.

You close your eyes and then you toss it.

So I closed my eyes and I tossed my last ping pong ball and when I opened my eyes it had gone right in one of those fish bowls I won a fish.

She was white with black and red splotches and real pretty and he put her in a plastic bag of water for me and I took her home and named her Scarlett.

I did not know for a long time that was not magic.

And then one day I knew really what happened was the boy behind the counter put my ping pong ball in the fish bowl while my eyes were closed.



where the art work comes from :
that is from telzey


I sat —

With my back to the firemen to make sure I could not accidentally make eye contact.

My friend Adri says I should not do this. Adri says I should smile. Adri is a good friend. She loves me and cannot imagine anyone on the planet not falling for my charms. All my girl friends are like that.

Me? I just hide.


Sometimes I wonder what I am hiding from.


:::my beautiful firefighter : part i:::
:::my beautiful firefighter : part ii:::


where the art work comes from :
that is from kittroid


There is a man —

I see sometimes in my neighborhood. The first time I saw him, he was walking towards me while I was walking towards my building’s steps. He is drop dead gorgeous. He smiled at me. I fled.

A few weeks later I saw him again. I thought, How odd. He must live in the neighborhood.

A week ago I went to meet up with a student for coffee at my favorite coffee shop. It is only blocks away so I can walk to it and they do not make the coffee too strong and they are quiet and have outside tables and the men who work there all recognize me and will pounce anyone who gives me grief. They also mock people who show up late. [That is especially funny to me, the coffee guy chiding someone who made me wait. “We were going to give her free coffee since you loser person were late.”]

The coffee shop is right on the corner by a firehouse. This day all the firemen were outside washing a firetruck. [Wow do not try that at home those firetrucks are huge.] I was walking up to the coffee house and there was the stranger. Wearing a firefighter T-shirt, talking with the firemen washing the truck.


:::my beautiful firefighter : part i:::
:::my beautiful firefighter : part ii:::


where the art work comes from :
that is from kittroid

that crazy angel

January 6, 2007


angelSo this guy —

Came up to me in Hollywood. He was quite possibly insane. But I could not escape. I had to wait where I was. And while he was talking to me, I got all those sympathy looks — you know, guys saying with their eye brows they are so sorry you are talking to that freak instead of them, do you need help?

Real heroes walk in and sweep you up and say, Baby, I am so sorry I am late. [I will tell you that story some other time.] Non-heroes raise their eyebrows a lot like maybe they are better than the person you are talking to and could save you except they are wimps and are limited to eyebrow calesthenics.

This guy was eighty. He walked with a cane. He could sing. He was polite.

And insane.

I did not want to be rude. He was eighty and hell, when I am eighty and crazy, I sure as hell hope people are polite to me.

I stuck it out.

He told me he was in show biz, a singer. He was black and wore dark glasses at night. When he started singing to me I had to tell him to quit it. Listen, I am Episcopalian, someone singing to me in public is FUCKING embarassing —

Oops. We are not supposed to say “FUCKING.” [I am a bad Episcopalian.]

I had to tell him quit it, having someone sing to me in public was embarrassing the hell out of me. And he did. He quit it. And told me he was an angel. And told me he was looking for people to take home. He thought I looked like Sharon Stone. He could tell by looking at me I was deep. [I am still trying to figure out how he could see I was blonde through those glasses forget deep.] Did I want to come home?

Insane, right? Or, an angel?

That is the question.

We pay a lot of lip service to messiahs and angels and powers that be. We have shows about them. We have stories about them. We think we believe in them.

This guy told me he was an angel and he had a job to do and some of that was picking people up. Me, I was not so sure I wanted to be picked up. Also I was sort of suspicious of the pick up criteria since he told me I looked like Sharon Stone and that was good enough for him. But still —

If someone tells you they are from Heaven on a long range pick up mission, what do you think? The guy is crazy? Or the guy is legit?

Me, I always wonder. Maybe all those people we label “crazy” are right and we are wrong.

Or maybe I just have “small pretty and polite” tatooed on my forehead and that is why all the crazies zero in on me.


*editorial note : i so do not look like sharon stone