Upsetting
Friday, June 27, 2003
 
On may home from Carlsbad today, I was like Cole Trickle in the Mello Yello car from “Days of Thunder.” Even though traffic was bumper to bumper through Del Mar, I still made it back downtown in great time, and in no small way was I propelled by the Dinosaur Jr. soundtrack I was listening to – the one with girl smoking on the cover.

Black in the Chevy was riding with me, and he was no slouch himself. We were like Rowdy and Cole, I guess. In and out, slow then fast, signaling like crazy, cutting no one off but making the most of the gaps.

Black continued south on 805 when I peaced and took Hwy. 163 into the city. We gave each other a nod like the brother in the Heineken commercial, and I thought for a minute about getting a party ball and drinking it at home with Renata and the dogs.

But I decided to go lift weights instead.

As I crossed the I-8 and bore into the two-lane blur that is the 163 through the park, I was unceremoniously cut off by a guy with a bunch of Marines stickers on his car. Jackson said to me, “Why the fuck I have to respect someone for being stupid enough to march for another man? That’s not patriotic, fighting a rich man’s war; that’s dumb.”

I handled the Marine by ducking left and flooring up the hill toward Hillcrest.

In the gym, I was nearly done with my workout when a little meat came over to me, got me to take off my headphones and asked me if I wanted to know a better way to work my “traps.” My response was just to look at him, without hostility but with curiosity.

He told me that when I do shrugs I should start with the balls of my shoulders pointed forward, and then slowly roll them up and back before slowly rolling them back to the front. I thanked him for his unsolicited advice, but I didn’t tell him there’s something funny about a man telling another man what to do in a gym setting.

I did tell him that I once asked a Jerkules the proper way to do shrugs and was told that unless I want to be a bodybuilder, which I don’t, going straight up and down is more than fine.

He bailed, I shaved and showered, brushed my teeth and sped out of town still looking for the party ball.

Not at Rite Aid, not at Vons, not at Mujaheddin Mart. All three places told me they didn’t think they made party balls anymore.

When I got home with a suitcase of Bud, Renata told me the same thing.
 
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