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In time you’re gonna pay

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I started the day still thinking about a couple of difficult losses.

Then I drove up to a popular scenic route in the East Bay hills where a guy got fatally shot three years ago after breaking up a fight. His mother and sister were there as police announced a reward for information leading to a suspect.

Then I drove to the office and walked past one of the more reliably happy places and moments I know: the Paramount Theatre on Broadway on one of the monthly Wednesdays that it hosts citizenship ceremonies.

Then I got to learn about a particularly difficult request, presented with the illusion of choice, strictly as a stopgap measure and under color of opportunity.

Then I went home and ate the healthy dinner my wife made and paid some bills and petted my poor sick barely-eating cat.

Then I went to an open-mic night at an Alameda bar, where I didn’t get drink because the bartender couldn’t see me despite ten minutes at the bar, with an older guy perched on a seat insisting on shaking my hand, saying “no offense” and launching into a conversation about race, his father’s war service and bigotry toward the Japanese, and his father’s Japanese-American friend.

Then I got to listen to my bandmate’s lovely set, followed by an acoustic duo, followed by two guys on electric guitars, singing to a girl, who ended their set early when one guy whipped out a ring and proposed (to the girl).

Then, after a few more acts, I got up and sang, missing the fight that broke out next to where I’d been standing.

Then I took myself home, following and then losing the detour signs meant to guide folks safely to the highway.

Some day, all in all. I could be laid off, dead, starting all over in a new country, told what to do at work (like last year) instead of asked nicely, unable to pay bills, divorced, caught up in a conflict, unable to sing or drive or write. But I’m not any of those thing, not yet and not today.

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