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We did it! Carla and I remembered to hold our breaths at 11.11.11.11.11.11. Meaning eleven seconds past eleven minutes past eleven this morning, the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year. It was a magic moment.

It meant...what again?

Of course, today has huge meaning: to mark the end of that slaughter back in 1918 that was supposed to end it all. And every war and how many brave people and victims since.

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Little Italy Association guys put up flags for Veterans' Day

But marking time is like catching a comet going by. You say, "Wow!" A moment has passed. You're the same, but the guy who blinked will kick himself forever.

Like choosing the right dish on the menu. The luscious California burrito instead of the bland veggie burger. Come on, a tiny piece of the pleasure is watching the other guy squirm.

It's like the other night when I was at the El Cajon Brewing Company. I wanted to order one of their cheese-stuffed-patty burgers. And the guy next to me said "They're out. I just tried. You'll have to get the ordinary one."

And I asked anyway, and lo and behold they did have one left.

Guilty satisfaction? You betcha. I mean I offered to rip off a bit, even swap. But you can't ever remedy that situation. Or the secret "Yeah!" satisfaction at beating the odds.

But, time wise, we still have tonight! At 11.11 p.m. And if you miss that, one more chance, on December 12 for the six lineup of the same numbers. Then that's it, for a century. Won't happen again before January 1, 2101.

Does it matter? These dates, if you're, say, Buddhist, don't mean a whole heckuva lot. Guess different dates mean different things in our collective experience, as we all swing around and round Ol' Huey, the sun. Really, the secret is to enjoy moments, look at your watch at 11:11...or forget to, then move on to the next.

No, the most satisfaction in all of this -- and I'm talking as a guy who is always late for everything, just ask Carla -- is to be able to say, "Yeah, I caught it, I felt it...11.11.11.11.11.11. Oh, you didn't?"

Does it matter?

Only if it does.

P.S. Dammit. Just had a beer at the Elephant and Castle (1355 North Harbor Drive, 619-234-9977). Guy named Ricky of the San Diego Penny Farthing Club was trying to give me a lesson on how to ride one of those crazy Victorian bikes on the Embarcadero near HMS Surprise and the Star of India (which, hey, is actually sailing tomorrow).

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Ricky makes it look easy

Man, I'm gonna have to lose 15 pounds so I can jerk myself up on one of those 6-foot-high monstrosities.

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Natch, needed relief. Crossed over to the Elephant and Castle...

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...and ordered up a beer I've never had before. A Bass Ale from England.

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Cost $6.25, but -- and maybe it's just from relief at still being alive -- this is the best, fruitiest ale I can remember.

What I should have done and only thought of afterwards, today being today, was give the waitress a better tip than the $1.75 I gave her, like $4.86. It would have been over the top, but it would have brought the total to $11.11.

Maybe next time...

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