Street Art

Yesterday afternoon as I walking to the subway station I stopped abruptly in front of a display of toilets.

Yep, toilets.

Only in San Francisco.

And they weren’t the ordinary white porcelain variety either, although even those would have caught my attention, lined up in a neat row on the red brick street.

An art display or what? I thought.

“May I photograph them?” I asked the curator of this odd display. He was jeans and a T-shirt guy.

“Sure,” he said.

I took my pictures. “What’s your statement with these?” I asked when I was done.  photo (4)photo (5)

“This is my way of bringing awareness to the need for more public toilets in San Francisco,” he said.

Come to the think of it, he had a point.

You’re hard pressed to find a bathroom in the city if you’re desperate. Your only alternatives are to duck into a restaurant, coffee shop or hotel lobby.

If you can hold it, always shoot for an upscale department store. Their bathrooms are always a pleasure with clean stalls, piped in music, and perfumed soap. Granted, you might have to purchase that $100 dollar frilly camisole on the way out, but it’s worth it.

Calvin says, “I don’t have these issues. Any ol’ tree will do me, and the smellier the better.” beagle







Dynamite Comes in Small Packages

We had lunch with friends today. A young couple with their two daughters. Alice is 5-years old and brilliant. She showed off her nail polished hands and said, “I had them done by a professional.” Then she pulled out a snowflake from her pocket, unfolded it and announced, “See how symmetrical it is?”

I want to know what they’re feeding this kid to eat.

Her father asked Alf if he’d like to babysit Alice sometime. “She cleans toilets,” he said.

“You do?” Alf said.

“Yes, I do,” Alice said. cropped-img_0446.jpg

“I have six toilets,” Alf said.

Alice’s eyes widened. “You do?”

“Yes, and they’re all around the dining room table.”

Alice pondered that.

“Well, I have two,” she said rather seriously and then broke into a smile. “You’re a lot of fun,” she said to Alf.

This kid isn’t five. She’s twenty-five in kid’s skin.

Alice reads, writes, paints, and carries on a conversation better than some adults I know.

It doesn’t hurt that her parents are brilliant, too.

Calvin says, “If parents would only realize that kids are people, too. Just like us pups. We come out of the chute fully formed. Only our ears need growing.” beagle


How To Do Your Real Work

Every so often I write about resistance. You know, the distractions we give in to that pull us away from our real work.

In my case, it’s writing. In yours it could be designing the next space vehicle.

Whatever your calling is, you’re familiar with the pull to distract.

Distractions allure you. Out of the blue you long to learn Latin. Or free-fall from an airplane. Or take tango lessons in Buenos Aires.

Maybe it’s not such a large vision that compels you to drop what you’re doing. Maybe it’s bull-riding lessons, finger painting, or singing with your canary.

Sometimes the distraction is even closer than that.




Blogging. (Checking your analytics every hour)

Text messages.


Video games.

I could go on, but you catch my drift.

The social media platforms are massive distractions! They will absorb you. Consume you. Smother you.

They  also:

Stall you.

Numb you.

Suck your energy.

They’re only a worthwhile investment when you’re building a posse of fans for your work.

Otherwise it’s death to your creativity!

Go on a diet.

Make a pledge to look at these platforms only after you’ve done your work.

Tell a friend to hold you accountable.

And then notice your productivity and creativity soar.

Calvin says, “Yep, when I get pulled off a scent, I end up in a ditch with thorns up my butt.”





Conversations on the Run9

I’d like a fat-free cheese sandwich on gluten-free bread with soy mayo and a real tomato slice.

I’ve never been to the Genius Bar. I always go to the Greek Squad.

So I was like Wow!

What? Do you think I listen to myself?

May the Fourth be with you.

Paintball: It hurts like art.

I’m turning 25. It’s a real age, not like 24.

You can’t make up the news until it happens.

Calvin says, “You don’t need to be a genius to know these conversations aren’t even in Greek.” 


Conversations on the Run5

Her reaction was a few seconds behind normal.

FBI, Ma’am. You have a stolen stove top.

When I woke up the morning was already there, waiting for me, and without my having to do anything.

I didn’t know pigeons had cheeks.

He had his friend, Wooly help him with the snowflakes.

Life keeps some people up more than others.

In her spare time, she sang arias to the squirrels.

It’s not who, what, when, where or how anymore. It’s, “Does this grip your heart?”

Calvin says, “If the FBI knocked on my house, I’d vomit up the truffles I stole from the candy dish before I’d give up anything else.”

Conversations on the Run2

“A kitchen is the room you walk through on the way to the restaurant,” one wealthy woman said to another in an interior design shop.

“I decided to cook at my mother’s country house and the odor was horrible. I discovered I had baked a mouse in the oven. We had pizza that night. Meatless,” my friend said at the cafe.

“Store all your valuables within easy reach of your pistol,” said the police officer to his partner.

“First rule of marriage: husband always guilty, wife always innocent,” one Asian woman to another in the subway.

“I love your outfit,” one woman said to another. “That’s because I’m from Chicago,” said the other.

Calvin says, “I store all my valuables under your pillow.”


Not all airlines are created equal. Not by a long shot. The best was Virgin Atlantic to England. The worst was American Airlines and their rude gate agents. “You, Mister…yes, you…come here…this carry-on…it’s too big…put it here…see it doesn’t meet regulation standards…Linda, come take this to baggage,” the agent said. It was too early in the morning for this type of treatment.

Eventually we were packed on board, the doors closed, and we taxied for take-off. Except we never got near the runway. We stalled on the tarmac. “This is your Captain speaking. They’re will be a slight delay. Seems our on-board computer isn’t functioning. We’re waiting for I.T.”

My seat companion looked like Monk, the TV character. He had the window. I had the middle seat. My sister, on the aisle, had fallen asleep.

“How do you like the book you’re reading?” I asked him.

“It’s okay. I need some good management tips quickly,” he said.

“Then you must read this,” I said. I reached into my book bag and extracted The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and handed it to him.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“How to stop resisting,” I said.

“Hmm…,” he said.

“It’ll speak to you,” I said.

“How do you know?”

“Because it spoke to me.”

“But you don’t know me.”

“Yes, I do. You’re like me. You’re afraid to go after your genius,” I said.

“I have genius?” he said.

“Yes. You do.”


Monk took the book, sat back, and began reading.

“This is your Captain again. Looks like we’re clear to fly.”

We finally got in the air.

“This is totally fantastic,” Monk said.

“I told you.”

I put my earphones on to watch a movie. Out of the corner of my eye I watched Monk read a chapter, put the book down, lean forward in his seat and talk to himself out loud. He did this repeatedly through every chapter. (The chapters were small.)

“I wish I had read this before accepting my current job,” he said. I unplugged my ear closest to him. “This company is just using me for my contacts. Once they have them, I’ll be let go, I know it. Like my attempts at getting married. I get close and then Poof! The woman leaves me.”

“Keep reading,” I said and plugged my ear again. I had no interest in playing in-flight therapist.

As we continued to cruise, Monk continued to talk to himself. At one point he got louder and more animated. By now my sister had woken up and was watching. Her eyes grew bigger. She stifled a laugh.

“That’s Monk!” she whispered.

“I know,” I said.

“Get his autograph,” she said.

“He’s not the real Monk,” I said.

“Please,” she said.

“He’s not Tony Shalhoub.”

“How do you know?” she asked.

“Because this guy is quirky for real,” I said.

“Maybe he’s rehearsing. We are flying to L.A. you know.”

It took a while but my sister finally agreed that Monk was a facsimile Monk.

As we made our descent into smoggy L.A., Monk finished the last page of the book and handed it back to me.

“Best thing I’ve read all year. Now to put it in practice,” he said.

“Best of luck to you,” I said. “May your genius lead you to inspirational work and a good woman.”

“Thank you,” he said and got up. “By the way, are you married?”

Calvin says, “Never start a conversation with someone named Monk. It won’t go the way you think.”