Snatch of the Day

Saturday, January 1, 2011


WEDNESDAY, February 2

At the airport cab lot I ask another driver (he and I have noted each other over the years, but have never really conversed) if he is Egyptian:

Twenty-three Arab countries, twenty-three dictators...

I am Arabian, but not Egyptian. I am from Jordan, many, many years now… Yes, there really are twenty-three Arab countries, and with a dictator for each one… This is a verry good thing happening in Egypt, in the Arab world. I am happy to see my people standing up. Nobody has the right to be king forever. Nobody has the right to murder people -- this is what has started happening in the last twenty-four hours… I talk to my family in Jordan almost every day. Now everyone can see what is happening -- it has been happening forever, but nobody can see. Now the whole world is seeing.

We are all human beings. There is this thing called pressure. If you don't let people talk, if you don’t let people express themselves no matter what beliefs they have -- like we do here -- sooner or later, this pressure… There will be an explosion…

My name is Fee-dell… Yes, Fidel. What is your name?
[PHOTO: Civic Center Plaza, Egyptian solidarity rally, 2/5/11]

FRIDAY, February 4

A woman who runs a clinic where lasers “erase” old scars:
People with acne scarring or scars from an injury or from cancer are left with these constant reminders of, “Oh, that’s what I went through…” With the lasers, we mimic an injury underneath the scarred areas, and this triggers the natural healing response of your body. Basically we create hundreds of tiny pinpoint injuries, which create hundreds of micro-scabs -- I say it’s like having braille on your face, but it’s the same color as your face.... This time around, the skin heals from the inside out -- it’s controlled -- and when it heals, it actually resurfaces that top layer… Not really painful -- I’ve had it done twice… I guess I should have it done on my hand so I could show you…

You get three treatments in one month and it’s done, and after three months it’s virtually undetectable... It doesn’t break the bank -- usually it’s between fifteen hundred and thirty-five hundred dollars altogether, and I think that’s pretty reasonable for something that’s going to make a permanent difference in your life.

I am pretty passionate about it... I’ve been here about six months… I hope it sounds like I know what I’m talking about...


5 a.m. My first passenger is standing in front of a Potrero Hill apartment building in the pre-dawn darkness. I ask him, “Are you up early, or out late?”

“Out all night… I met this girl, went back to her place, spent the night. But she didn’t want me to leave just now and she wouldn’t tell me her address. On her desk I found a bunch of mail addressed to 244 Church Street, so I gave that address to the other dispatcher, but when I came out here to wait I realized I’m not on Church... Two miles...? No wonder. When I called back, the dude’s like pissed, says his driver woke up some guy over on Church Street and there’s no way he’s gonna send me another cab… So I called you guys.”
[PHOTO: From Hwy 101, at 50 mph, one hand, no-look, click -- townhouse windows on 26th Street catch the dawn]

WENDESDAY, February 9

[PHOTO: Through front passenger window, Third and Howard]

A flag at Third and Harrison -- a distributor from Las Vegas pulling a cart full of samples. Every few months for twenty-five years he’s come to San Francisco to sell a line of products to the hospitality industry. Me: “Have you developed any particular sales strategies or wisdom you might share?”

Oh, I like this question… Here’s one: When you make a big sale, don’t relax. There’s a temptation to go down to Fisherman’s Wharf and sit in the sun, but don’t let up. Make that next call. When I make a sale, I hit the accelerator, not the brake.

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