Archive for March, 2005

Shiny black FBI shoes

Posted in Blog on March 30, 2005 by trevorgregg

Not gonna let them catch the midnight rider.

I thought I’d find you here. You’re all just gluttons for punishment, coming back for more in the face of ruthless neglect. Weirdos.

Before I start, a note. There are those amongst you, out there in the Big Dark, that regard this little fiasco as an accurate and thorough picture of one man’s life. Yeah right. This little keyhole you’re peeping through is naught but a warped, exaggerated, desiccated highlights reel; as full of fictions and lies as The Real World Season Three, or major league baseball. I’ve been accused of all manner of sins, misdemeanors, and bigotries by those ignorant few who hold this thing to be The Truth. You poor bastards, you’re the ones who keep fifteen year olds from buying Tupac CD’s, who got that Under God crap pasted into pledge of allegiance. You’re the scum who have feuds with your neighbors, who call cops on parties and fret about shit like coupons and getting enough sleep. Shut up. Find a hobby. Freaking out about The Johnson’s tree dropping plums into your yard over the fence is not a Righteous Cause. Your crusades are crap and I despise you all, stay away from me and stop leaving flaming dog crap on my porch. And to all you molehill mountaineers who are too busy accusing me and mine of alcoholism, misogyny, and (god forbid) laziness… just keep in mind that there’s a reason you don’t read novels about washing dishes, going to lab, or napping, and you do read (you do know how to read…) books about boozing and irresponsibility. Dishes are boring, as are labs and rain and large women. Just because I spare you the indignities of the more mundane aspects of life doesn’t mean I’m a raging beerhound or shiftless layabout. There. I’m glad we cleared that up.

Assholes.

Anyway, where was I.

It strikes me as important that you all obtain an appropriate soundtrack for your reading enjoyment. Open up your Bearshare and illegally download the S&M version of Call of Ktulu and leave it on repeat. Forever. That’s better.

I’ll spare you the details of my “spring break”. Notice the little double lines nailed meaningfully to each end of the phrase; they’re there to show that the word break is used in only the most flimsy and twisted sense. Long, anguished hours were spent by me and my fearless and unstoppable Hardware Specialist, one Mr. Peter Magee, on that cursed robot. Dancing around on the hardwood floor, I can hear its servos squeal gleefully “Haha, you fuckers, haha!”. Aside from one kickass electrical fire, which we celebrated as a sort of eye-watering blue smoke rite of passage, we basically just slaved away at it all week.

The tedium was broken by a visit from an old friend, an important visit at that. Despite being a brutal reminder of my own mortality (when I say old friend, I’m talkin old. Straight preschool and shit.), the weekend was a respectably good time. We discussed many things; our childhood Nintendo addiction, our plans for the future, why we hate people who claim Bay Area that really aren’t, etc. These are important issues in the modern world. The day I turn the other cheek to some Livermore wussbag claiming Bay Area, when in fact they’re practically closer to the Nevada border, is the day I… no, forget it. No literary device will do. Forget it. Just trust me that it is not gonna happen. Also, it warmed my frigid heart to find out that she’s fighting the good fight down in that wretched hive of scum and villainy known as Los Angeles County.

I’ve been around. I’ve seen Europe, Brazil, East Oakland. I’m a reasonably metropolitan person with more than double the FDA’s Daily Recommended Dosage of California pride, and I am still convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that LA is the most loathsome city in all the western world. There’s something there, a dark and infested vibe that gets in your blood and conquers your mind. It creeps up on you like mercury poisoning, seeping in through your pores and tear ducts and soft tissue till one day you worship trend with the zeal of an Islamic militant. Your every word becomes deceit, your every gesture self conscious, your every meal overpriced. For the rest of us, the four horsemen were conquest, famine, war, and death; in LA these are far too common to be the Great Evils that make up an apocalypse. Should those pale horses ever ride south of Oxnard into that pit of despair, they will bear a different set of riders, four forces more equipped to bring about the wrathful destruction of Los Angeles. And behold, their names will be Cellulite, Honesty, Shopping at Ross, and Premature Aging. Beware, denizens of the Foul City, for they ride out for thee!

And yet there are those rare few, my friend included, who reside within the borders of the Polyester Kingdom of their own volition. It takes a strength of character, a moral discipline to withstand the spiritual climate of Los Angeles which not many are capable of. To live behind enemy lines for so long, for the sake of education, well that’s certainly beyond my own meager abilities. I can only imagine the kind of mascara-wearing toothless gypsy mutant sleazebags she must deal with on a daily basis. And yet where I would no doubt be transformed into a snarling, hateful, bearded hermit, she still manages to walk tall and hold it down for old H-town. Hell yeah.

This was not the only interesting insight incited by this weekend. You (collectively) may have gathered that I don’t spend a great deal of time with those members of the fairer sex traditionally classified as “lookers.” Most of my time is spent in the company of those squat, horse-toothed werewolves you’d meet at McCarthy’s; the kind of girl whose shrieking, obnoxious laugh could shatter a pint glass at fifty yards. Who can blame me for spending all my time with my buddies instead. I’m not sure if I’m purely a victim of circumstance, or if my own strange behaviors act as a sort of repellant… either way, the end result is the same. Anyway, back to the point. Hanging out downtown was a very different experience, given the different company. At some point during the night, my vision warped by strong drink, a sort of understanding came to me. It hit me in the midst of wondering whether or not San Luis Obispo superior court would classify a Heineken as a deadly weapon, given that it was shattered over some tool’s skull while he was chatting up a girl who is essentially my sister, minus the DNA. Biting back my snarling, sibling-ish urge to wreck some shop and ruin some nights, I thought: no wonder. No wonder. From a lady’s perspective, you aren’t some nice fellow who has worked up the courage to come talk to her, you’re just another face in a long, long line of potential suitors on a given night. I had little to no idea what a common thing it is for a girl to be approached. Somebody I don’t know comes up to me in a bar and starts talking? Shiet. Something no good is afoot. She’s either hammered, very confused, or needs her computer fixed. But guys? Dudes in the presence of a girl of merit are shameless, each more willing than the last to sacrifice himself on the altar of No Dignity. I guess it wasn’t until I’d seen it in action that I truly recognized the phenomenon. Even the word, approached… That’s got an unmistakably horrific ring to it. People get approached in unlit parking lots. People get approached in dark alleys lined with mangled shopping carts and sleeping winos. Ain’t that a trip. No wonder, huh.

No wonder.

Much more to write, but like Bastian in the Neverending Story, I must save some for later.

Late.
-T.

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Straight up, now tell me

Posted in Blog on March 13, 2005 by trevorgregg

Four A.M.

A fine time to be alive.

Our fair city is a beautiful place at this hour, though few are those who know it. How do I know, you ask, when intimacy with its quiet glory before sunrise is such a rare thing? Because I just walked across the fucker, Madonna to Grand in one glorious, marching swatch.

The world is different, when the sky is so black it starts to get bright. No one’s around, and I mean no one. Just me, the streetlights flashing for non-existent cars, and the night. It’s been a long while since I’ve witnessed it; I remember darker times, when twisting and cracking under the torture of various events I wandered the streets at this hour almost every night. Those were different times, I suppose… wandering stealthily with a girl on my mind and a sag in my shoulders through the silent hours. Now, now I almost revel in it. To walk from one end of the city to the other, without sighting another person, is a strange and foreign happiness. I don’t know if it’s the isolation that does it, though it certainly helps. The details all seem to rise to the surface, when you can walk down the center of a three lane street with your arms in the air. Shopping carts and junipers, porch lights and iron gates… What better company for a night like this.

101 hums in the distance; strange to think of people leading very different lives than my own. That’s the danger of a college town, when all other life becomes fictitious or outdated. That truck speeding by beneath the overpass, I wonder where he’s going. A high speed burn from SF to LA at this hour, who knows. I wonder if he thinks the same thing, pondering the erratic, inebriated steps of the man up there leaning on the guard rail. I wish I could slow things down, ask him to stop, listen to his story. He’d tell me what he had to say, before the sun came up, and I’d explain “Hey, I’m just a drunk collegiate walking home from an 80’s party. Good luck to you and yours.” That’s the kind of shit that makes sense at this hour… but he burns by off into the dark, towards Santa Barbara, Oxnard, and parts unknown.

Looking in the lit windows (and you’d be suprised how many leave their living room lights on at night), you see flickerings of daylight life. Soccer pictures on the mantlepiece, a suit jacket hung over a dinner table chair, a blinking red alarm light on a car…

I don’t know.

Hard to say why I like shit like this. Maybe, in this gap between the last drunkards stumbling home (myself not included; I stumble home at ungodly times) and those first hateful splinters of sunlight sneaking over the hills is just the time I was designed for. Now, right now, now is when my voodoo is strongest.

The rest of the night is a blur, like too many Saturdays. Dancing to Smooth Criminal, dodging stray Beirut pingpong balls and seriously aggravating some greek girl who can never remember my name. There were others, friends, who made the night infinitely better. Phone calls, dirty jokes, Henry’s ruthless red juice drink shit, a concoction which got ahold of me like a priest on a second grader…Oh, and a tall girl, blonde with her hair dyed brown. Katie maybe? Cathy? Anne? Tall and pretty. Said she was from down south, Laguna. Smiled at my jokes, smiled wider at my dance moves… Who knows who she left with. Not me, obviously. Some grinning fuck with arrogant posture and a liar’s tongue, no doubt. No, it’s just me and the endless driveways, the oak trees and the malibu lights. I walk home with those first impetuous birds chirping away, running my hand along the picket fences and marching diligently along the railroad tracks.

Thank the gods for warm nights in the winter, for poor fucks like me. A windless quiet and complete complete solitude, there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half.

Christ, now it’s five fifteen. The rest of the bullshit will be awake real soon. I can hear the hounds baying in the distance, and soon I’ll have to be conscious and running. I’d better sleep while I can.

Yours, in the world of lamp posts and bud light,
-T.

Get up, get out, get somethin

Posted in Blog on March 12, 2005 by trevorgregg

Another Friday night in the time of our lives.

I’d like to say that, since last time, I’ve discovered something profound. Alas, insight into my own human condition, let alone the human condition remains as evasive as ever. Sitting on our neighbor’s roof, looming down upon the unsuspecting pedestrians from our plastic lawnchair thrones, hurling cat calls and empty Keystones at the world below… I guess this friday wasn’t a complete waste. It might not be earth shattering, but if you’re gonna be average, at least be average on a roof.

I don’t know what the deal is. I’m off my game tonight… I can feel the weasels closing in and, crouching with a knife in my teeth and a greedy hate in my eyes, I wait for them eagerly. At least that’s the way it usually runs, when all is right with the world. Now it feels like the fuckers kicked in my window in the middle of the night, and my dream becomes a storm of broken glass and soap bars wrapped in towels. They’ve outflanked me somehow, suddenly the bastards are coming at me from all sides. Stay cool. Control. Knees bent and hands up, eyes on your opponent.

Maybe I’ll pack a bag… Boots, tarot cards, sunglasses, and a book of matches. I’ll join a carnival, tell fortunes to overweight, superstitious housewives named Margaret, taking their cash and their secrets before we move to the next town. Yes, honey, you were right to spend four grand on that grilled-cheese sandwich with the unmistakable image of the Virgin Mary on it. A great investment; I’m sure the Lord looks favorably upon all your eBay purchases. I’ll wear a black suit and dark glasses, pretend I’m blind and tell them I can see their dead uncles. He says he’s sorry, Betty, and he never meant any of the hateful things he said about your cats. Back alley seances and bullshit voodoo charms, now that’s the life for me. Tell the people what they want to hear, look as Eastern and omniscient as possible, light some candles and take their twenty bucks.

I went downtown, but that fizzled fast. Long lines, loud drunks, that same Snoop song over and over… Damn.

I’ll bet it’s because I fell on my neck. My shit hurts, and while I retain a high degree of motor control, I may have severed some core spiritual nerve unknown to modern medicine. Damn you, backflips, damn you to hell.

The right thing to do for the next few days is to bury myself in books, to try and salvage the remains of this quarter.
Fuck. Buy the ticket, take the ride. I’ll take a box of poptarts and a walkman to the library, and emerge in a week with a beard like a mental patient and a tan like the undead. I’ll stumble into the light, shielding my eyes from the sun, my atrophied knees shaking. C will become my native tongue, and I’ll have the cryptic runes of Fourier series equations tattooed up my arms. Like a beautiful butterfly…a beautiful butterfly with scurvy, and a nervous tic. How did it come to this?

Sometimes things are askew and you don’t know what to do to right it.
I can hear the rattling, the metal grinding on metal, but I got no idea where to look for the break. All you can do is turn up Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik and try and drown out the wrongness of it all.

Sometimes there’s just nothing else to do.

-T.