Got up too early and rode.

Morning freeway, morning train, morning bike. Frigid and fog shrouded and the sun ain’t even up yet. Dad would know the place but he wouldn’t. Opened papers have turned to laptops in Caltrain windows. 85 is the new 65 on 280. You don’t ride leisurely to the office in your suit, you ride like hell in lycra to your cube.

At the cafe. Early today because have to make. Create. This place, you order your coffee and then you’d better stay at the bar, otherwise the jackals will get your macchiato. I’m serious. They all order macchiati now – after me? – and they stand at the bar, waiting to pounce, stir in sugar and chug. Don’t care who ordered’em. Palo Alto coffee shop jackals. Nice guys, too, each of them. The owner just laughs, shrugs, whatever, if you want your macchiato kid you oughta stand at the bar and fight for it. Reminder of Italy…

“Earthquake? My dad says he didn’t feel a damn thing. He’s in Jersey! I said, dad, they don’t go that far -”

Why is this such a Peninsula thing for him to say?

And why does it conjure such memories of my father’s friends? Jack Martin. Gene Dulek. Jack Lewis. Dutt. These were my dad’s cronies. My tormenters when I was wee… San Francisco men all of them and all of them thought a young man deserved a measure of hard time. Punch him in the shoulder. See how many pushups he can do.

Ride home through a sea of kids. Pally high, back in school. Summer’s over, another endless summer of play and game, done.

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