For the last couple of days I’ve taken BART into the city and have walked about in that perfect breeze that one can only find in San Francisco. No, it can’t be had in Oakland.

Anyway, I keep walking past the same person. She is probably about my age. She must be a mom, but this is no “Soccer Mom” — this is a whole other breed of mommy. Her baby appears to be a little over a year old — not that I’m a great judge of a baby’s age. She carries her baby in one of those wrap-around-front-loading baby holsters so that the little girl is looking at her mom for the whole walk’s journey.

I’ve come to call this lady “Violaine” because something about her reminds me of Cocteau Twins —- beautiful, disturbing and haunting all at once.

I keep thinking that I should feel somehow better about seeing her and her little girl. They both seem quite happy. But, there is an element of worry to be had here. In addition to the baby, “Violaine” wears a child’s tape recorder like a purse. It swings from her shoulder and plays at what must be top volume. It is loud. And, always, the same tuneless harping of a harmonica is playing. But, “Violaine” is singing with the “tune” and the little girl seems to be so enjoy every note.

I’ve seen them five times now.

I always make eye contact with “Violaine” and she smiles. I smile back as they pass me. I turn and watch them walk down Market Street. She is quite thin with long grey/brown hair falling down her back — it almost goes to her waist and is in dire need of a brush. The baby is cute and well-groomed. But, they both wear matching ponchos. The type that vendors sell all over town. The type you normally see either tourist or homeless wearing.

Are “Violaine” and her baby homeless?

And, there is a look in “Violaine’s” eyes that is suspect. Acid? ‘Shrooms? …She does not have that face. You know, the meth face that never fails to creep me out. No. She just seems to happy in a way that unsettles me as much as that harmonica recording with which she sings.

I should add that “Violaine” is not singing words but sort of sounds. Actually, it all feels like some sort of odd art that never made it uptown to Sesame Street. In fact, I would bet money that Electric Company Avenue would have evicted them long ago. Zoom might have made a better setting, but the 70’s are long over.

And, of course, no one seems to notice them but me.

Today, I met up with B. We passed them. When I asked B if he had taken notice he confirmed that he had, but didn’t pay much attention. I turned and “Violaine” and her baby headed down Market Street in a sort of dazed jaunt. Or, maybe we are jaunting in a daze and “Violaine” is in step. Sometimes, it is hard to know.

October 24, 2007. Uncategorized.


  1. ing replied:

    If the baby is happy & looks cared for, if Volaine smiles at you, then I would bet that all is well for the time being.

    Do you have one of those carriers for Bagel, or do you push her around in a pram? Does she respond to your singing? I don’t have to ask if she’s well cared for, because I know she’s the most pampered dog in Oakland.

    Did you get some of that dog perfume for her?

    Just curious.

  2. ginab replied:

    I’m always intrigued by what people outside of a story perceive about that story. Seems as tho something is being made sad when really that something remains unknown…even her name. Could it be Sally?

  3. matty03 replied:

    Ing & Gina! Well, I think my instincts were right. I saw them again today and Violaine was purchasing a little something wrapped in foil from a very suspect looking dude near Van Ness.

    Junkie, anyone?

    Gina! She just reminds me of that vibe I pick up from Cocteau Twins, but her name could be Sally. But, now, I’m certain things are not “healthy” —- makes my stomach turn.

    Ing! No doggie perfume for Miss. Bagel! I worry that B would be allergic and I don’t think Bagel would care for it. She is such a happy little puppy and loves to explore everything. Thus she gets dirty quick but one must not bathe a puppy too often. However, after today, I fear Bagel may be headed toward a bath. We found very gentle puppy shampoo that should not irritate or dry out her sensitive skin. Still, I don’t like bathing her this young too often. Plus, I think it is very scary for her.

    Yes, she is well cared for and loved very very much!!!

    She is sitting by me now. She enjoys watching BART wiz by!

  4. ing replied:

    Well, slap my ass and call me Sally!

  5. matty03 replied:

    Ing – Would it be OK if I called you “Betty” instead?!?! …we all know what “Sally” means to me.

  6. Minge replied:

    I just want to kiss you!

  7. matty03 replied:

    Minge — Awwwww, thank you! I’d kiss you right back! Sending you a cyber hug and kiss now, matty

  8. johnmichael replied:

    Thanks for this post. I enjoyed it and the thought of all the people I pass whenever I take walks.

  9. matty03 replied:

    johnmicheal — it is really interesting when you just take the time to observe. …and, heartbreaking at times. But, not always.

  10. Miss S replied:

    Oh me, me, I have decided that though young, Miss Bagel is already wise and has many answers to life’s great questions. I have heard whispered, she has been spotted at shrines such as Lordes and Medjegore where she has healed the blind and disabled with her puppy tears and the magical aid of The Virgin Mary from whose tender loins she may have sprung. She is no ordinary pup, for she shall not be bathed too soon or exposed to the country air. She is a dear and blessed soul and all who love her, nay, set eyes upon her for even an instant are known to be changed for the better.

    I have not yet had the good fortune to meet the blessed St. Bagel, but one day I shall, and on that glorious day, I will have many questions, such as: 1) What is the meaning of life? 2)What happens on the marriage night? 3) Who should I vote for to be the next president of our glorious nation. 4) Should I go to the Hilton and make sexy time with a man I met over the internet?

    I would ask you, Matty, but I believe it is Bagel who truly possesses the answer(s).

    PS. I ❤ you, Matty. I hope all is well and would like to see you soon!!!!

  11. ing replied:

    Dear Bagel:

    I don’t know if you read this blog, but if you do, I was wondering if I should choose a life of aesthetic purpose or if it would be better to live on the edge, in a cliff house made of stones that I have gathered myself, one by one, in my spare time?

    If you don’t have the inclination to reply, I understand. Just thought I’d shoot for the stars.

    Thank you.

  12. matty03 replied:

    Miss S – Thank you! I’m hanging in — it’s all going to work out OK. …no, it is going to work out great. just have to roll with it. Hope to see you soon, too! And, your new place!!!

    Ing! I’ve thought about it and think that Bagel would enjoy answering a few questions. Plus, it gives an excuse to post some new pictures of her — which she tells me she is want of! So, I shall try to pull that together. She is quite busy, you know. Right now she is curled up into a ball with a toy that squeaks. No one else is to touch this toy but Bagel. Some sort of Bagel-imposed rule.

  13. ing replied:

    Yay, more pics! Puppies grow so fast. . . I’m afraid that I’m missing out on the puppy stage.

    Here’s the news from SF: just put a bike hook in my ceiling, because I realized that unless my bike was easy to get to, I’d never use it. God, I’m so out of shape!

    Off to do some laundry, m’dear. It’s fun to ride my bike! Wish I had an extra day off.

  14. matty03 replied:

    Ing! …Yes, you’re completely missing the puppy stage! I had forgotten how fast they grow! …right before your eyes! …she’s still a puppy, tho! And, I’m sure you will meet her soon!

    Ride your bike! …but, wear your helmet, Missy!

  15. ing replied:

    I did, I wore the helmet. Big ol’ helmet head, that was me. Helmut Kohl at the hardware store.

    Even after I took it off, my hair still looked pretty. I don’t know what it is about my perfect hair, and I can’t explain it. (Okay, I didn’t ride very far or sweat much.)

  16. Old Cheeser replied:

    You’ve been tagged, boyo! Visit my blog…

    OC x

  17. matty03 replied:

    Ing! …Your hair is always perfect! Own it!

    Cool Old Cheeser! Cool! I shall be by soon and find out what it is I’m to do!

  18. Pants replied:

    I’m going to dream about them tonight!

  19. matty03 replied:

    Pants — I hope you didn’t! I’m sorry.

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