Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 158 - Old School Joe and WTF?!?!?

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Dear Reader,

[pardon me for a sec while I pay this overdue Comcast bill online. Thanks Sugi and Carter for the three way help on that]


Today at Jack's I met a woman named Gail and a man named Joe. I didn't get to talk to Gail much, but I did speak to Joe.

Joe sat under TV #1, at the foot of the L-shaped bar. I sat between him and one seat over from Gail.

Joe wore faded blue jeans and a durable looking light blue button up long sleeve shirt. He had a hat on, but I don't remember the color or any logo.

What's unique about Joe is his eyes. Why? Because you can't hardly see them! Looking at him, it's hard to tell if his eyes are even open all the way. He seems like someone who has worked outside all his life, without benefit of sunglasses the whole damn time. (I know people who've grown up in the snowy mountains of Colorado who don't squint that tight.) Anyway, I was to find out real soon that this idea of mine about his life was dead on accurate.

And the nice thing was, the more we talked the more his eyes opened up. Eyes open and smiling and that old, wrinkled, tough as leather-looking face became animated and happy.

So, Joe was born in 1947 (or 48?), he's is retired, is drawing on Social Security and lives in a trailer on a ranch up Mount Hamilton way. That ranch covers 40 acres and he looks after all of it. He has to put in a minimum of ten hours a week. Any more time spent and that's "on him" as he says, but he "don't mind doing more."

When Joe was a kid he used to play in the ditches that bordered the farms around Steven's Creek Boulevard where the Cadillac dealership is now located. He spent pretty much his whole life picking crops in the Bay Area.

His uncle (also named Joe) owned Standard Produce of San Jose and his dad used to work there too. Standard Produce was located where the Gordon Biersch brewing facility is currently located, right along the railroad. According to Joe, this whole part of San Jose (Japantown and the surrounding warehouses north of Taylor) was once a centralized hub for shipment of Bay Area-grown produce to all parts of the state along the railroad, with things really humming around 1955.

From time to time you can find Joe cooking up the free barbecue they sometimes have (courtesy of the owner) at C&J's Sports Bar in Santa Clara, just off Lafayette street near the Jack in the Box. C&J's has been showing a lot of the big fights recently and according to Joe it gets pretty packed some nights.

If Measure J goes through for the new stadium, C&J's is the first bar you'd hit on your way out after a game, or so Joe says.

Aimee B. was tending bar today and the bar itself wasn't all that packed. Maybe eight of us total, not including Aimee. I made arrangements with Aimee to contact her later this week so I can make the final payment on the photograph I've had my eye on the last couple of months. Can't wait to hang it above the mantel piece!

See you Tuesday after work at Jack's!


As an aside: WTF? I meet someone cool at Jack's. I hang out with this person a couple weeks ago in Japantown. We have a good time. I discover this person is smart, has led an interesting life, is in a serious relationship with someone else and is perfectly willing to make plans to meet me in Mountain View (today) for some serious book store browsing action after work.

Totally platonic, btw.

But for my own basic inability to keep track of my personal finances (thus precipitating a trip to Gilroy for funds acquisition, which in fact ended up not happening in lieu of alternate last minute arrangements closer to home), the aforementioned trip to Mountain View is exactly what would have happened.

OK so this person got called away by work so we sort of ended up dual canceling on each other for different reasons, but what really got me was that after I suggested we try to communicate in the future this week to find a good time to retry the get together, later today this person notified my by text that they had to stop hanging out with me because their significant other got wind of the fact that we visited (once) and got all upset about it.

I say again: WTF? What am I, a best-friend stealing thief? Has the significant other looked at me lately? I am most certainly not the amorous heart pick pocketing type! A bristly bearded, shaven-headed man of my girth does not naturally ooze the sort of manly confidence (read: charm) that allows one to go around randomly burglaring a love interest away from the love interested.

Travis has that power, I suppose, because as bartenders go he's a Jedi Master (and has a nice head of hair; and his facial hair is entirely under control).

I, however, do not have that power, in the bar or out.

Anyway, I am of the opinion that if you love someone, you do everything in your power to make them the best version of themselves that they can be. Above all, you ought to ensure they are happy.

In this I think my friend from Jack's and I would be in agreement.

But where I think we would disagree is at what point you draw the line betwixt providing for a love's happiness and seeing to your own happiness.

So to review: either I was lied to and the person I was to meet just plain old doesn't want to hang out; or the person I was to hang out with is so immesurably, deeply in love that any possibility of causing discomfit to the significant other in his or her life would be a pure crime; or the significant other is impossibly insecure and so has created a black hole relationship that swallows up any possibility for the bright star that is the new friend I made at Jack's and was to hang out with today of making any new friends.

In closing, I realize I should be careful. After all, I can't exactly judge a relationship for which I'm entirely ignorant of its complexities and particulars. Yet I can't help but wonder: what price, happiness?

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