Bugs all in my meal and deities all in my reception

Posted in Blog on April 21, 2009 by trevorgregg

Music – R.L. Burnside – Shake’m On Down

We are lately stricken with what certain pussies and whiners have referred to as a heat wave.  Pale and fallow from a life of drinking Racer 5 and smoking cheap cigarettes indoors, the hipsters remove their Humphrey Bogart hats and their Clark Kent glasses to wipe their brows with their tattooed forearms, moaning that they “just can’t take it.”  88 degrees in the sun is not a hellish inferno, wussbags.  You’ve just developed Stockholm syndrome with our unpleasant, endlessly shitty weather.

It might be a little more bearable if you took off your undersized leather jacket or that Siouxsie and the Banshees sweatshirt with the safety pins.

God I fucking hate hipsters.

——

We hit the beach early on Saturday, Ellie carrying our stuff and me followed by a little army of sandy children who were fascinated by the ugly colors of my wrecked leg.  It’s purple and yellow and, in some places, a wretched shade of green.  A total mishmash of disgusting hues and decidedly unfleshy tones.  The sort of monstrous camouflage pattern you’d want on your uniform if you were going to fight the reanimated dead in the underworld.  I move slowly, limping along even more pathetically in the deep sand.  Unable to outpace them, I was forced to curse and intimidate the children.

“Why is it that color?”
“Can I touch it?”
“Why is it purple?”

“Get the fuck out of here, kids.  Don’t your parents teach you not to talk to strangers?”

“How come your leg looks puffy?”
“Where’s your ankle?”

“BEGONE! I have mace!”

They reluctantly dispersed, and we found the rest of the capoeira folks amongst the throngs of beachgoers.

——-

“I can’t believe how hot it is.”
“Nice.”
“What?”
“You mean ‘nice’.”
“It’s hot as hell out!” Lindsey said.  I peered at her over my sunglasses.
“It’s fucking perfect out.  You’re at Ocean Beach without a drysuit and a snow parka, for christ sake! That is the very definition of nice weather.”
“That’s true.  I’ve never been here when there weren’t forty mile an hour winds.”

Ocean Beach, on the three days a year you can go there without earmuffs and a scarf, is an amazing cross section of San Franciscan life.  Most of the rich drive their Audis up north to Baker, or up to Pt. Reyes.  The crackheads don’t go to the beach, because they’re crackheads.  That leaves the Rest of Us which, on a 90 degree day in April, amounts to a god damn lot of people.  Thousands and thousands.

Families, high school kids smoking weed and stealing beers from their neighbors coolers, twenty-somethings playing volleyball, creepy isolated middle-aged dudes with binoculars and wolfish grins… all in all, a great scene.  I watched two ghetto kids, sweating like pigs in their oversized jeans and Giants jerseys, dragging their wheelchair-bound friend through the dunes and up to the water’s edge. I saw a guy on a twenty-thousand dollar ultralight road bike almost crash into a couple Harley-riding lesbians when he was distracted by a passing bikini.  Far up the slope from us, near the parking lot, several overdressed Mission kids sat in clumps or alone.

“What the hell do they do up there?”
“Smoke.  Complain about the heat.  If they’re alone, they write in their journals.”
“Why?”
“They think if they look off meaningfully into the distance and the great blue Pacific, it’ll make their drivel better. Cuz that’s what writers do in the movies.”
“Huh.”
“Maybe if they look mournful and serious enough, God or The Fates or a publisher will recognize what a Serious Artiste they are, and their blog will be optioned and they’ll Really Make It.  Assholes.”

We drank for a few minutes, quietly enjoying the crowds and the sun.

“Wait Trevor… don’t you have a blog?”
“Who the fuck told you that?” I asked derisively.

I got up and hobbled off to play catch with Herbert.

——-

It was too hot to sleep on Friday, so after class we went out to drink and play pool.  Ellie and Molly both had friends staying the weekend, making our apartment a sort of overcrowded youth hostel.  Rather than wait in line for my own bathroom or make smalltalk with the random people hanging out in my kitchen, I stayed out with the AAC crowd despite my aching leg.

“I’m not saying I’d change my vote, I’m just saying he’s doing like a C, maybe C+ job of getting our country out of our current downward fail spiral.”

“He’s got a lot to handle…”

“No excuse.  We wouldn’t give a Republican that kind of leeway, we shouldn’t give it to Obama either.”  I said.  I was two beers past Indignant, approaching Outraged, but still about four short of Jovial Apathy.  “He hasn’t done shit to fix the underlying problems with our economy, he’s royally screwing the pooch with these DoJ appointments, and he’s straight-up 180ed on this illegal wiretapping shit.  We aren’t talking about the fucking vague intricacies of treaty negotiations or public policy here, these are serious and clear cut fuckups.”

“Oh whatever.”

San Franciscans don’t do well when confronted with the shortcomings of Our Guy, St. Barack the Wise and Multiracial.  They stop short of cussing at you, saying you hate Amurrica and Jesus which is more than you can say for the neocons, but they still get defensive quick.

“Certainly he’s an improvement over our last nightmarish ruler, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold him to some kind of standard.  He’s got the chance to do something more than uphold the Fuck The Citizenry status quo, I expect him to go for it.  And he’s not.”

“He hasn’t been in office that long…” I sighed, and waited to take my shot.  I’m an erratic, totally inconsistent pool player, often terrible and occasionally brilliant.  Alex, my teammate, was thankfully more reliable and we were beating a couple biker dudes handily.

“I realize you can’t put it all on him.” I said, sinking the nine decisively.  “I realize that in reality the government is a gargantuan fucked-up hydra of a thing, and that he can only exert a modicum of influence over certain parts of it. But…”

“But what?”

I scratched, missing the five completely.

“But god dammit, fucking Barack should know better.”

“You should write a letter.”

“Right.”

“Really!”

“Yeah I’ll do that as soon as I get home.  I’ll print out a couple of NY Times articles, take a sharpie and just write ‘WTF bro’ across the top and send it to the Whitehouse. I’ll be America’s catalyst for change.”

“Yep.”

“That’s fucking democracy in action right there.”

“Whose shot is it?”

——

Depressing political shit:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/watch.html

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/obama-doj-worse-than-bush
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/04/obama-taps-fift.html

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Must be the season of the witch

Posted in Blog with tags , , , , on April 17, 2009 by trevorgregg

Music – 13th Floor Elevators – You’re Going to Miss Me

Bennett’s place is one of those rare Nob Hill apartments with a halfway decent backyard.  Big enough for a barbecue, at least.  The building itself, much like my own apartment, was built about half an hour after the 1906 earthquake and hasn’t seen a lick of maintenance since.  Maybe a paint job half-completed before the painters were drafted for WW2, a fresh lightbulb here and there in the 80s, a wireless router duct-taped to the kitchen ceiling, but not shit else.  It’s obviously been inhabited by ten generations of callous, post-collegiate bachelors who’ve treated it like a fifty-peso hooker.  Layers upon layers of flyers, posters, and stolen roadsigns have accumulated on the walls.  The stacks of Maxims and old New Yorkers have become structural, becoming impromptu reinforcements for the bowed walls and taking the place of various long-snapped table legs and chair backs.  Scraps of rug or possibly old clothes barely cover the naked wood floor.  The interior smells like a Phish tour bus crashed into a Budweiser factory, and there’s a hole the size of a cannonball in the dry-rotted back stairs. The cracked toilets run and a hissing wind blows endlessly through the gaps in the windows. I love apartments like this.  Decades of abuse and neglect give them a wonderful, unique character.  You could cut a cross section of the wall out and, assuming the whole shit didn’t collapse around you and kill you instantly, you could study the layers on it like the rings on an ancient redwood tree.

I tell Bennett I like his place, and start asking him about it.  I’ve only lived here a while, he tells me.  You should talk to that dude Phil, he’s been here the longest, I think.

That’s how these places work.  Leases, if they exist at all, are administered irregularly by somebody named That Dude Phil, who proceeds to collect rent in various forms of specie, drugs and bartered goods before getting arrested or moving away or just disappearing, thus passing the lease on to the next longest term inhabitant, usually The Other Dude Phil who becomes the de-facto house leader.  The current Phil looks like Philip Seymour Hoffman, if Philip Seymour Hoffman were to scalp a rockstar and tape their ratty unwashed hair to his balding head.  He’s too old to be living in a place like this and no doubt owns way too many XXL black tshirts.  He has the uncanny ability to make any female between the ages of 8 and 80 feel creeped out just by being in the room.

We’re sitting around a patio table with a cracked glass top drinking some expensive brownbottle beer Eric brought.  I’ve got my disgusting, swollen cankle propped up on an overturned garbage can and my crutches leaned up against the table.

“Your leg looks fucking gross dude.” Matt the musician says.  He’s right.  I kicked a guy at capoeira on Friday so hard I thought I’d broken my shin.  Now it’s swollen and full of blood, looking like a mottled honeybaked ham jammed in a black sock.  It hurts like a fuck but I’m drinking through the pain.

“Yep.  Glad it’s not broken though.”

“Hope the other guy was wrecked.”

“No such luck,” I tell them, “fucker was fine.  He was a bigass Swede though, all meat, where as I’m basically a skeleton with hair.  I don’t take hard impact well.”

It feels great to be out of the house.  Being immobile somehow increases my sensitivity to cabin fever a billion percent, so when Alcorn invited me I eagerly crutched myself up the two steep and inconvenient blocks to Bennett’s.

We drink and talk for about an hour, talking about music and unemployment and that girl they found dead in a suitcase in Tracy.

“Half of my office has already been laid off.” Matt the lawyer says.  “I know I’m next.”  This is his paranoia speaking.  He just got done telling us he has self-diagnosed MS and Parkinson’s since he has lost feeling in his pinkie finger.

“You know it’s not that bad.” says Matt the musician, who’s unemployed.  “I’m on unemployment…I get to play a fucking lot of golf… I can go drinking on Tuesdays…”

“My buddy got laid off in January, and his family’s got a cabin in Tahoe. That asshole has been on the slopes every weekday for three months.  Unbelievable.”

“Yeah.”

“I went up and saw him on the weekend, and he wouldn’t stop talking about how shitty and crowded it was.”

“There’s no skiing like Wednesday skiing.” says Alcorn.  It’s true.

“Paul Shandi, you remember that guy?” I say “He’s furloughed two days a week and he spends his free time hustling rich people at the driving range a la White Men Can’t Jump.  Which is uncharacteristically awesome for him.  Funemployment’s doing wonders for that dude.”

Matt the lawyer tells us everyone in his office gets nervous whenever a staff meeting is called.  People are getting desperate, and crazy.

“It’s lean fucking times when lawyers start getting laid off.  You’d think you guys would be in demand right now, helping all these white-collar assholes fight for the scraps.”

“Now you got me worrying.  Laywers getting fired is like vultures dying during a drought.”

We drink some more.  None of the girls have shown up yet, so we talk with the casual offensiveness and black humor we’re forced to hide in polite company.  Eric threatens idly to plan a camping trip.  The Matts and I talk about how much the Pixies rock.  At one point Bennett has to hop the fence and climb his neighbor’s rickety fire escape after realizing the door shut behind him and locked us all out.

I realize, about halfway through beer five, that I’m having a great time in spite of my mangled leg.  I don’t mention it, afraid of spoiling the mood.

We discuss the feasibility of turning to piracy like the Somalis, should things get truly desperate.  Eric and Alcorn have both driven houseboats before, and I’ve shot a gun, and Bennett’s got a skull and crossbones flag, so we decide the capture of an oil tanker en route to the Bay is a feasible and realistic Plan B.

I explain to them my theory that our current economic woes were pre-ordained by Fate, that our generation is particularly well-equipped to handle a severe financial crisis.  Our non-existent work ethic and willingness to waste endless hours drinking and playing videogames makes us perfectly suited to prolonged periods of unemployment.   This is our Vietnam, I say.  We can rise to the challenge, we can all do our part by playing Halo and shooting pool and screwing around on the internet til the situation resolves itself.  Yes we can.

The clouds roll in and it gets bitterly cold by 4pm, because that’s just how things go in San Francisco.
Bennett’s girlfriend shows up, rushing into the back yard to avoid “Sketchy Phil”.

I ask why the two director’s chairs set up around the barbecue have MONASTERY printed on them in big official letters.  Nobody knows, but Bennett pulls out another one that says POISON OAK.  I love your fucking house, I tell him, but I didn’t bring a jacket and it’s time for me to take my leave. I scramble down his front stairs and head home before I get too drunk to work my crutches.

They can put a man on the moon quite easy

Posted in Blog with tags , , , on April 4, 2009 by trevorgregg

Music – The Clash – London Calling

There’s a lost continent in the Pacific.  I read about it a couple of years ago in the paper.  About the size of Rhode Island, the article said.  Far from major shipping lanes.  A solitary oasis of sorts in the world’s largest, bluest desert.

It’s really there.  Look it up.

It’s the kind of thing you hear about and forget almost immediately.  It’s an aberration, a thing that seems so untrue your brain refuses to spend resources remembering it.  No way, says your subconscious.  I call bullshit.  For both our sakes, let’s pretend we never heard anything about this obvious fiction. This obvious myth.

Sometimes the truth runs so perfectly perpendicular to one’s understanding of reality that disbelief is only natural.

Reality has little regard for one’s beliefs, however.  And the place is there.

I met someone who’s been there.  Stood on its improbable shores.  My friend Henry’s ex-girlfriend has seen it with her own two eyes.

She mentioned something about it while we were all eating yellow curry at Kennedy’s late one night.  No finer curry to be found at 4 AM on a Thursday, by the way.

I’ve heard of that place, I said. Referring to the lost continent. Not Kennedy’s.

Oh yeah?

Yeah I read an article about it.  I heard it’s the size of Rhode Island.  She laughed, unimpressed.

Try again.

Bigger?

Much.

How big is it?

About twice the size of Texas, depending on the time of year, the weather conditions.

Bullshit, Henry said.  They’d been broken up only a short time at this point, and he tended to disagree with her on principle.  I can’t remember why we were all hanging out that night, but they were still at each other’s throats pretty much constantly.

No bullshit.  I’ve been there.

How come nobody talks about it? Or sees it on satellite photos? I asked.

They do.  In certain circles, it’s a big deal.  Most people don’t care, though.  It’s not exactly hidden, she said.

Henry shook his head, sneering, mumbling something about Google Earth and the space shuttle.  He left to join the others at the pool table.

What’s it like, I asked.

——

She was an oceanography grad student.  Not a lot of opportunity for field work, she told me.  You fight tooth and nail for grants, cheating and threatening your way onto research ships, commercial shipping vessels, rich people’s private yachts.  Anything that will float you where you need to go.

After a year in Hawaii studying climate change, she managed to bribe her way onto a marine biology research ship studying humpback migration patterns in the Pacific.  Most of the crew were grad students were from South America, but the vessel actually belonged to a firm in Mexico City.

I spoke no Spanish, she told me, but I managed to trade the biologists a case of stolen champagne and a bag of crappy weed to take me with them back towards the west coast of North America.  The captain was a grizzled old prospector-looking Mexican who was sick to death of following whales around.  I think he brought me along just to have somebody onboard who didn’t talk about cetacean breeding habits day and night.  Either that or he just wanted to practice his English, which was surprisingly good.

We sighted it about eight days out from Honolulu.  We were zigzagging along some vague route decided moment to moment by the endlessly arguing biologists.  From a distance, it’s very hard to spot.  It’s huge but it’s not particularly tall, and if the sun hadn’t been just right that afternoon, we would have blown right by it.

I convinced the captain to head for it.  I think he and I were the only ones who suspected what it was.  The grad students would never have agreed to turn south, as the sun began to set, had they known what lie ahead.  It is a biologist’s blackest nightmare, after all.  A dead, poisoned place.  Empty and bleak.

That night the Captain and I stayed up late working diligently on the case of champagne, joking and saluting each other as brave explorers of a new land, conquistadors fearless in the face of all danger.

Our new world needs a name, I said.

Indeed! He raised his bottle. Basuraland?

Craplantis?

Montez?

You sure you want a place like that bearing your name for all eternity, Captain?

No, no you’re right, senorita.  Better stay away from that.

I’ve got it, I told him.  New New Jersey.

The Captain laughed so hard he spit up half his champagne.

Haha, Captain! I see you’ve been to New Jersey!  You didn’t tell me you’d braved such hostile shores before.

The shrieking biologists woke us up the next morning.  I had a brutal, brick-to-the-head hangover and was in no mood for howling, hair-pulling Latin hysterics.

POR FAVOR SHUT THE FUCK UP I yelled, to no effect.

The Captain dragged me out on deck a few minutes later despite my protests.  The view quieted me.

——-

So it was big? I asked her.

Endless.  Endless.  It stretched to every horizon, even behind us.  It looks more like a prairie than an ocean, apart from the swell.  The only place you could tell that it was made up of individual pieces is where the hull of the ship cut through it.  It was like very soft ice.  Sickly yellowish ice.

Really?

Yes.  The image you have of it in your head, of this big mishmash of colors and logos… it’s not that.  The sea and the sun turn everything the same soft, ugly yellow.  Like old people’s teeth.  And it’s very uniform.  Not like a landfill.  From more than thirty, forty feet away, you can’t even tell that it’s all garbage, all plastic.

Wow.

Yeah.  Much more like a prairie.  An endless, dead, yellow prairie.

——–

Once the Captain calmed the biologists down, assuring them that the ship was in no danger and explaining what a valuable experience this could be for the ecologically minded, we headed onward.

We traveled slowly, at less than a quarter speed.  I think the Captain was concerned about getting stuff caught in the prop, or hitting some unseen obstacle below all the junk.

For the first day or two, though, we cut through the waste like butter.  The stuff parted around the prow and, except for a small wake, just sealed up behind us.  Out on the edge is mostly bottles.  Two-liters, waterbottles, stuff like that.

On the third day we got into the thick of it.

——-

I can’t believe your captain would drive into it, I said.

I think he wasn’t planning on it, originally, but when we got there it seemed stupid to turn back.  It’s sick, awful in one sense, but really amazing in another.  Very otherworldly, alien almost.

Just the scale of it… I can imagine.

You can’t, really.  Neither could I.  It is beyond immense.  It boggles your fucking mind.  And I think the Captain, and probably even the biologists to some degree, wanted to see what it was like in the center.

——

That second night we could all hear it grinding against the hull.  The scrape got louder, more high-pitched.  From on deck you couldn’t really tell it was getting thicker, but we definitely started slowing down.

Larger chunks started showing up, too.  Huge pieces of styrofoam-ish stuff like they use for docks.  Plastic sheeting, corrugated.  Tarps.  Building materials.

One of the biologists saw an airplane wing.

We were basically dead in the water at the end of the third day.

——

I can’t believe you actually went out on it.  Talk about unsafe.

You’re telling me, she said.  You hear about those people falling into glacial chasms and stuff in the arctic, starving to death at the bottom of a ravine.  I didn’t want to go out like that.  But we were in the heart of it now.  Hundreds of miles from the nearest open water.  I had to try it.

——

We had about one and a half people worth of camping gear.  I had nothing of my own, since oceanography grad students typically don’t plan for backpacking trips, but between the others’ luggage and the boat’s emergency kits we scrounged together enough stuff for three of us to hike in a few miles.

One of the whalewatchers, Manuel, offered to come along.  I was worried the Captain would refuse to leave the safety of his ship, but he seemed eager.  After an hour of threatening the remaining crew with painful, torturous deaths should they touch anything they weren’t supposed to, we dropped ropes over the side.  The students cowered in their cabins, cursing each other, fate, God, and the Captain for bringing them to such a hell on earth.

The Captain touched down first, tentatively probing the “ground” with a long metal rod.

As I let go of the rope, I fully expected the garbage to swallow me whole.  I expected to die out there.

—–

It was sort of a stupid idea.

Yeah, she agreed.  Idiotic.  Probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.  I was young.  Looking back, it was easily the most foolish, reckless thing we could have done under the circumstances.

You made it back, though.

Yeah.  The ground crunched and squealed and twisted, but I didn’t fall through into the abyss.  So we kept going.

——

That first day of hiking, we saw some strange, strange shit.  A full-sized metal cargo container, the kind they put on the back of semi-trucks.  A tool-shed.  A six-pack of unopened Budweiser with pull-tab tops.  Endless, endless packs of Korean cigarettes.  A high-heeled shoe.  A Fiat.  A life-sized plastic T-Rex.  McDonald’s happy meal wrappers with Tagalog writing on them.

And plastic bags.  Holy shit.  The outer hundred miles was mostly bottles, but the interior was where all the bags accumulated.  They’d snag on your feet, grabbing your legs like roots and vines.

Manuel cut his leg when a mound of stuff he was standing on collapsed, and we must have poured a half bottle of rubbing alcohol on him.

It’s silly, in retrospect.  The defining characteristic of the place is its lack of life.  No birds.  No plants.  Nothing.  Probably the most sanitary pile of garbage on Earth.  Manuel was safer cutting himself there than in his own shower.

The stuff doesn’t decay, per se.  It just sort of melts, fusing with stuff around it.  The harshness of the elements kind of bonds things together, like a bag of M&M’s you’ve left in the sun.

We made it far inland enough that night that the “land” was dense enough to mask the swell of the ocean.  It wasn’t like standing on an inflatable raft anymore. It felt like real ground we were sleeping on.  Uncomfortable.  Stable.  Real.  I slept on top of a washing machine that night.

——-

We had enough water and food for about a week, but we didn’t want to push it.  No more than two days in, we agreed.

That was the plan.

——-

On the evening of the second day, we saw mountains.  Or what we thought were mountains.  Topography of some kind.

My God, I said.

Hills.  Valleys.  Plateaus.  Depressions.

Three days in and it started to look like a real place.  A real world.  An undiscovered country of corroded plastic.

A continent born not of stone and erosion and tectonic disturbance, but of consumption and waste and the folly of progress.  Six billion people’s trash thrown down six billion stormdrains, and it all ends up here, out in the Pacific at the end of the world.  A trillion tons of shit Frankensteined together by the sun and the sea into a new world.

It was unbelievable.

—–

The Captain broke his leg on the fourth morning, climbing a hill to plant a little Mexican flag he’d brought along.  Mount Montez! He shouted.  I claim this land in the name of the Mexican Empire.  All it needs now is a soccer team.

He poked the little flag into a bottle, started climbing back down the slope, and promptly busted his femur falling into a partially-covered dumpster.

It took Manuel and I a good forty five minutes to get him out.  We piled junk in around him to stand on while we eased him up, but we were clumsy, and caused him much pain.

I put on my calm, independent, American-girl voice when I talked to him.

Again I was sure we were going to die.

——-

Manuel built a little sled out of corrugated siding and some mangled rebar he found.  The sled was as heavy as the Captain himself, but at least we could drag it rather than fireman carry the old man.

The Captain moaned while we moved him, and passed out at one point.

He might be bleeding internally, I thought.

I didn’t mention this to Manuel.  Neither one of us could do anything about it if he was.  So we just dragged him, following our GPS directions back the way we had come.

It rained hard on us that day.

At least we can refill our bottles, I said.

Manuel shrugged.  He didn’t speak any English.

——-

I worried constantly while we dragged him along, slowly working our way around obstacles.  Tires.  Computer cases.  Stuffed bears.  Little, lifeless bogs and pools of rain water.

What if the ship leaves us.  What if the Captain dies and we can’t get ourselves out when we get back.  What if Manuel’s cut gets infected.  What if there’s a storm.

I’m a pessimist by nature, and from the moment I heard the Captain shout, I began mentally preparing myself for the craziest, most Donner Party death scenario my twisted mind could come up with.

It helped to pass the time.

Without birds, or plants, or life, the island is pretty boring.  It’s just sky and plastic.  Forever.

——–

We made it back to the boat.  Manuel and I hadn’t eaten for two days.  The remaining crew, apparently having overcome their terror and anger, had set up a makeshift volleyball net on the “shore” next to the boat.

Great, I thought.  I’m preparing myself for cannibalism and death and these guys are playing volleyball.

They helped us get the now-delirious Captain aboard.  One of the students had some medical training, and did what she could for his leg.

Manuel and I worked on turning the ship around.

——

There are a surprising amount of controls on a boat.  And it is very much unlike a car.  It took the two of us an hour just to get the engines started; and we were terrified to ever shut them down lest we be unable to repeat the arcane and arbitrary set of steps we went through to start them the first time.

We figured out how to reverse, and with a horrible grnding sound, we pulled backwards through the waste.

And we didn’t die.

——-

Were there any other people out there?

Not that we saw.  I’ve heard rumors of people skirting the edges, studying its size or just coming near it to marvel at its hideousness like rubberneckers at a car wreck.  Some eco-hippy wanted to go live there, some kind of misguided protest or whatever.  Even started a website to try and get sponsors and media coverage.  But he got arrested in Tempe the week before he was supposed to leave, got busted buying booze for some high school girls.

Fuckin hippies.

Yeah.

That’s an amazing story, I told her.  She nodded.  I think I’d like to see it some day.

You don’t, she said, suddenly serious.

No?

No.  It’s a blight.  A shame.  It does terrible things to your mind, going to a place like that.  Better to never experience it at all.

I thought about it a while.  She left to go get another pitcher of beer.  They serve late at Kennedy’s, as long as the cops aren’t around and nobody asks too many questions.

—–

Your ex just told me some crazy shit, I told Henry.  She’s been to some strange places.

Whatever. Fuck that.

No, really.

Did she tell you she slept with some dude named Manuel while she was on that boat?  Dude didn’t even speak English?

No, but that wasn’t really the point of the story.

Fuck it, Henry said.  This a fucked up world when your girlfriend cheats on you with some Mexican dude she met on the world’s biggest pile of garbage.

Which is true, I suppose.

Empty pop bottles is all we would kill

Posted in Blog with tags , , on March 31, 2009 by trevorgregg

Music – The Breeders – Cannonball

Jolene and I got back into the city around 11, and Claire was already too wasted to give us proper directions to the house party.  Apparently they started early.

A half block past Delirium, by the red oaks, she said.  The second unmarked door.

Look for the Vespa with the antlers, she said.

Knock twice and ask for Titus.

We ended up wandering around 16th for a the better part of an hour, amidst the throngs of hipsters, vendors, homeless, and humans.  The first warm weather of the season quintupled the evening population.  Crowds of people excited to be out on a Saturday night without a raincoat or a wool beanie.

“You guys know Titus?”

“You guys know where Titus lives? No?”

“You guys seen a Vespa with antlers?”

We never found the Vespa with the antlers, but we eventually climbed the right fire escape and found Claire dancing on a roof.

She cut her way through the crowd and took us down into the party proper.

The stairwell was full of people in sunglasses and tight jeans, smoking and having very involved, furrow-browed discussions.  They had a record player set up on the landing.  Not a turn-table, an honest to god record player, manned by a dude with an Amish beard wearing a Me First and the Gimme Gimmes tanktop.  Inside the apartment, they had two huge speakers hooked up to someone’s phone.

Record players and ipods.  People wearing used tshirts and paying $1600 to share a room in a raggedy shithole of a building that should have been condemned twenty years ago.

Behold, the Mission.

Claire scattered some hipsters off the couch and, digging between the cushions, nonchalantly came up with a half empty bottle of Jack and a two-liter of Diet Squirt.  I laughed, impressed.

“You have to hide it from these greedy people.” she told me, drunk and earnest.  “They are greedy and will take your whiskey.  We must be careful.”

The three of us found some clean-ish looking coffee cups and drank the rest of it, the other partygoers watching us with eagle eyes, as though Claire were some amazing party magician who might conjure another bottle of booze out of a piece of furniture at any moment.

Introductions were made to various people whose names and faces I will never remember.  To people who will never remember me.

I traded somebody a pack of gum for a beer.  We moved down to the backyard, out into the dirt backyard.

——

“So… you know what I’ve started watching?  That’s really good?” Jo asked.

We were sitting on a broken plastic table underneath the balcony.  People were dancing to James Brown in near darkness.  All the lights were out; they’d unplugged the tangled mess of Christmas lights and lamps and bare bulbs for the Save the Earth Power Hour or whatever shit and couldn’t seem to get them back together.

We were good and drunk.  Claire had wandered off with her boyfriend in search of a missing bag of barbecue chips.

“What?”

“You’re going to mock me.”

“Yes. What is it?”

“It’s really good.”

“What is it?”

“…….”

“…….”

“Battlestar Galactica.” She said.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” I shouted.  I spent several minutes making strange noises, half coughing, half laughing, so shocked by Jo’s drunken admission that my throat and lungs were in frank revolt.  My brain did acrobatics.  I felt the world shift beneath me.  I thought I was having a stroke, or an aneurysm.

“It’s really good!”

Jolene does not have a nerdy bone in her body, and to hear her tell me she was thoroughly enjoying some dorky ass show about robots and space blew my fucking mind. Blew the hell out of it.

It was all I could do to shake my head, incredulous.

“You have to watch it.”

I continued to shake my head.

We sat in silence a few minutes, watching the people flail and shake to that Taking Me Higher song, the one from Ghostbusters that makes the Statue of Liberty dance.

“Stop judging me.” She said.

“You know… my mental list of things you could have said that would have surprised me less than “Battlestar Galactica” is fucking immense.”

“Don’t hate.”

“Immense.”

We sat for a minute.

“… Well what did you think I was going to say?”

I laughed.  “I have no idea! Not fucking Battlestar Galactica! Not robots and space fighters and shit!…Lost, maybe? Monty Python with Spanish subtitles?”

“Hahaha.”

“A blank screen?  Wild on E?  Snuff porn?  Fox News?  Nothing, no answer could have surprised me more than fucking Battlestar Galactica. Nothing. I can’t believe you.”

“I know, I know. But give robots a chance.  Trust me.”

——-

We sat out back til somebody named Murph came up to us and started talking about his new gallery showing, at which point rather than stab him or myself in the face, I fled to the restroom.

I got lost and, wandering down a hallway behind the garage lit by a strobe light, I found a sub-basement room with eight guys huddled over their laptops sitting around an immense brass hookah.

Upset by my intrusion, they glared at me so angrily that for a moment I feared for my life.  Then I came to my senses, recalling that I was at a party full of hipster wussbags in some backalley slum, and glared right back.

“What the fuck is your deal?” I asked, gesturing ambiguously to the laptops, the towering metal hookah-monster, and the generally weird situation.  They all had horn-rimmed glasses, and were wearing plaid shortsleeved shirts buttoned all the way up.

I’ve spent enough time in labs and server rooms and parents’ basements full of nerds to recognize a group of geeks, even if they’re geeks with Mission pretensions.

“We’re working.” One answered.

“Do you know Titus?” Another asked.

“And what the hell do you do in a basement at 1AM on a Saturday that you’re ‘working’?”

They looked reticent. I crossed my arms and used my Voice of Authority.

“Well?”

“We’re writing reviews.” One of them said.  His neighbor snickered.

“Bad reviews, because it’s Saturday!” He said with a dorky, Mr. Burns-ish evil grin.

“You’re fucking weird.” I said, pointing to Mr. Burns.  I turned back to the first. “Reviews of what?”

“Restaurants mostly.  Mission-area businesses.”

“You guys work for Zagat or Yelp or something?”

He smiled.

“Not exactly.  More often we get paid for the reviews we don’t do.  A new restaurant opens, let’s say.  Maybe a Tapas bar on Guerrero.  Very shabby chic.  We, as a group of… concerned citizens… approach the owner and offer to protect him from critical and disparaging Yelp reviews, for a fee.”

It took a minute for the whiskey-rusted wheels of my mind to crank. Then I understood.

“Oh, shit.”

The guy nodded.

“That…Wow.” I shook my head.  These nerds were the hipster mob.  The fucking Yelp mafia.

San Francisco, the trendier areas especially, is a city that lives and dies by Yelp and Citysearch.  Every San Franciscan with money to spend and an appetite to spend it on checks reviews of a potential eatery first, whipping out their iphone to find the best vegetarian Thai pastry bakery in a ten block radius.  Online reputation is make or break for restaurants here.

And these clever assholes had reinvented the world’s second-oldest profession, the protection racket.  Build up a bunch of established, ‘trustworthy’ Yelp-reviewer accounts, then threaten restauranteurs with an instantly bad reputation if they don’t pay up.

I was stunned.

“First of all,” I said after a few moments, “that’s fucking awesome. Good on you.”

They smiled as one.

“Second of all, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this first.”

One of them handed me a beer from a minifridge built into the innards of the brass hookah thing.  I sat down, enthralled, and spent an hour discussing the particulars of their system, making suggestions, applauding clever tricks they’d used to cover their trail and maintain their credibility.

We drank some more and had a good old time.  I learned their names, and I apologized for calling the weird one weird.  We traded cards, and when Jolene called, furious that I’d left her alone to listen to Murph talk about his latest interpretive piece and its relevance in the post-Bush pre-Obama cultural paradigm, I promised I’d keep in touch.

“I gotta jet, but it was great to meet you kids.  You keep up the good work, Yelp Mafia.”

I’ll bet those little bastards are making a killing.  And will continue to do so, until some 250 lb Persian pizzeria owner figures out who they really are works them over with a tire-iron.

But until that day comes, best of luck guys.

——-

We found Claire passed out, clutching her missing bag of chips.  I stuffed a note into her purse explaining that a bunch of us were going to see a live action theatrical interpretation of the Twilight Zone on Sunday, then carried her out to a cab where her boyfriend waited.

We barged our way back through the stumbling crowds out on Valencia, and amidst SF’s social elite I stage-whispered questions to Jolene about her obsession with space robots and her love of Battlestar Galactica.

She politely told me to go fuck myself.

A homeless guy tried to sell me a copy of the Book of Mormon with the covers ripped off while we waited in line for a dangerdog.

——

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

“Everyguddy I know hav a Thoniccare”

“What?”

Jolene spat into the sink, back at my apartment.

“Everybody I know has a Sonicare.”

“This is why I hate and could never live in LA, Jo.  Because everyone you know has an eighty dollar toothbrush.”

“Yeah.”

First time I lose I drink whiskey, next time I lose I drink gin

Posted in Blog with tags , , , on March 26, 2009 by trevorgregg

Music – The Pixies – Here Comes Your Man

“Imagine life is a bridge.”

“Ok.”

“In crossing the bridge of life, he made it about half way, tied a lead brick to his belt, and jumped off. The lead brick is his wife.”

“Hmm.”

I was explaining to Sapo the tragedy of Matt R.’s marriage. With imagery, for effect.  His wife sucks, and has ruined him utterly.

“I’ve seen it with other people too.  My friend Rebecca, from Poly. Out of nowhere she married some 37 year old Air Force engineer, some pudgy fuck from Oceanside with a lisp and pit stains on all his shirts.  No idea why.  Now she lives on some base in Egypt for god’s sake, and can’t go to the grocery store without an armed guard.  Because of The Terrorists.”

“Yeah.”

“I am utterly at a loss to understand that shit. Must be some kind of deep-seated self-loathing…”

Sapo finished his beer.

“We should go, it’s almost time.”

We left the bar and headed to the theatre.  Neither of us makes a habit of Sunday night drinking, but with fifteen of his roommate’s annoying friends visiting, Sapo was a refugee from his own home, and I am not one to let a buddy drink alone. Especially on the Lord’s day.  We were going to see <i> I Love You, Man, a movie about a guy who contantly flakes out on his girlfriend to go hang out with his last remaining single buddy.

The ham-handed irony that our other friends who flaked on the movie were two married couples, leaving Sapo and I alone on an accidental man date, was not lost on us.

I assured Sapo that even though the majority of our friends are married or mired in serious LTRs, I will always be down to neglect my girlfriend and go drinking on a Sunday. Sapo didn’t seem particularly reassured or impressed by this, though I was quite sincere.

The movie was mediocre, by the way.

Wait for the rental.

——–

“Religion is the opiate of dumbasses.”

“What?”

“Religion is the opiate of dumbasses.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“Haven’t you heard that?”

“Heard what?”

“Religion is the opiate of the masses? Karl Marx?”

“…”

“He said that.”

“…”

“And I changed it. To dumbasses.”

“…”

“That’s good.” I said, proud.

“…Sure.”

“Now you see motherfucker this is the problem.”

“What?”

“I spend all this time hanging out with you lowbrow assholes who can’t sustain the kind elevated educated dialogue a person like me needs on a regular basis. You drag me down with your provincial uninspired jabbering. You’re dulling my wit by the second.”

“‘Opium for dumbasses’ does not sound particularly brilliant or enlightened, Trevor.”

“The Opiate of Dumbasses.  And screw you, that’s clever as shit.”

“And I can guarantee you aren’t the first person to have thought of that little idiot play on words.”

“So what?”

“So what? That means that not only is it stupid, it’s unoriginal.”

“Fucker I came up with it.  Even if somebody else came up with it first, I came up with it independently, so it’s original. And clever.”

“And who talks about religion anyway? Who cares?”

“Who cares?!”

“Yes, who cares?”

“Aren’t you Jewish?”

“On paper, yeah.  That just means I don’t eat hot dogs.  Doesn’t mean I want to discuss religion or opium or whatever other random crap floats around in your weird head all day, dude.”

I sighed, exasperated.

“God I fucking hate you.”

“You want another beer?”

“Yeah.”

We drank a bit of our fresh beers before I continued.

“First of all, it’s an inspired comment, whether you can appreciate it or not.  Besides, after what you said yesterday, I’m forced to take everything you say with the tiniest, most pathetic grain of salt imagineable.”

“Remind me what I said yesterday again?”

“That you like Rush.”

“What the hell does that have to do with anything? Lots of people like Rush.”

“NO. No. Rush is so unforgiveably fucking terrible that I’m now forced to question everything you say.  I have to treat your every statement as suspect.”

“Listen asshole, it’s just a matter of personal taste…”

“Fuck that…”

“Don’t interrupt.  The fact that I like Rush has no bearing on anything else.”

“Wrong.  This is so far beyond the boundaries of ‘opinion’ or ‘personal taste’.  Liking the Eagles is just poor taste.  Liking Rush is like enjoying the taste of human flesh.  Yes, one could argue that it’s just a matter of personal preference.  But in reality it’s so fucked up that it’s almost certainly a sign of deep-seated, fucked up psychological issues.”

“Please do not compare liking Rush to cannibalism.”

“I will.  They are that fucking terrible.”

“Shut up.”

“I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just that, since you like Rush, I’m forced to assume that you’re deaf, retarded and crazy.”

“Asshole.”

———

It takes a certain amount of bravado to make a life in a modern metropolis.  A certain adaptability, some small measure of fortitude.

It is not for the faint of heart.  You learn to much about yourself and your fellows in a cramped, oppressive place like this.

You get a sharper, more substantive perspective on humanity in all its folly and vileness.  One cannot help it.  Proximity to criminals and junkies and psychos and generally aberrant weirdos forces a certain understanding of the human animal upon you.  Some find this a terrible burden, and retreat to the relative safety of the suburbs, surrounding themselves with manicured lawns and Decent Folk.  Far removed from the city’s savage and ugly denizens, it’s easy to forget that such people exist, that the lesser and crazier walk the same world as the rest of us.

I go outside sometimes and see the past.  I see new clothes, I see nylon and plastic and aluminum, but underneath it the people are the same, completely interchangeable with any other person in history from medieval peasants to bronze age primitives.

All that distinguishes the average crackhead from a Norman Invasion-era village drunk is a pair of filthy Nikes and a stolen Orlando Magic parka.

And who’s to say the same doesn’t apply to the rest of us, in all well-groomed technologically-inclined contact-lensed glory?  I walk the streets.  I see the men in ties and blazers trudging along behind lumbering oxen in some muddy field.  I see the women in cafes adorned with feathers and wooden beads rather than overpriced makeup and little white headphones, discussing trivialities over a rock for grinding cornmeal rather than a cup of French Roast.  I see Bill O’Reilly dressed in heavy black, burning an old woman alive for her knowledge of herbs and folk medicine, his eyes red with the wrath of a puritan god.  I see Mandy Moore dead of tuberculosis.  I see Serena Williams slapping her husband in front of the entire tribe for bringing back a sickly and disappointing antelope.  I see the heads of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in loinclothes dancing under an uncaring sun, praying for rain and respite.  As if they could dance their way back to prosperity.

I see people unchanged by the progress of their world.  Sucking as they have always sucked, consumed with their own petty triumphs and tribulations, pretentious savages with impressive toys.  Killers and beggars and slaves, smart enough to imagine a utopia but stupid and self-serving enough to keep it endlessly out of reach.

It makes me think less of us, though it should probably beget forgiveness as readily as contempt.

Fuck it.

It’s just the shit-kickin’ speed-takin’ truck-drivin’ neighbors downstairs.

Posted in Blog with tags , , , on March 19, 2009 by trevorgregg

Music – The Clash – I Fought The Law

There exists an unspoken code between men in their twenties.  It’s an expansive, often uncompromising set of rules that we all know and abide by, often without realizing it. It’s a Bushido-like combination of law, etiquette and convention that permeates our lives and decisions.

Few can articulate its particulars, fewer still speculate on its origins.  Perhaps it formed naturally, a product of societal and cultural norms and expectations.  Perhaps it was carved in hieroglyphs on some basalt obelisk in ancient times by those who tired of having their bros hit on their girlfriends or take the last cup of mead without making a run to the liquor store.

The important thing is that the code exists, and must be obeyed.

Thus when Alcorn texted me late Friday in need of a wingman, though exhausted and bleeding from a particularly rough night of capoeira, I accepted.  Of course.

The wingman’s duties are sacrosanct.  To shirk my duty would mean (rightful) disgrace.  Being asked to wingman is like being asked to be a pallbearer, or best man.  Though trying and difficult, one must remember it’s as much an honor as an obligation.

I washed the blood off my hands, and called Ellie and told her not to wait up.

——–

I headed for Pac Heights, praying for parking, steeling myself for the task ahead.  One never knows what to expect when entering a situation like this, blind and ill-informed.

I often wingmanned in college, and have been asked to jump on some serious fucking grenades.  When you befriend people like Couevas, Peter, even Paul, that’s the risk you take.  I’ve charmed and distracted ghastly, snaggle-toothed hambeasts for hours, monstrous troll-women with personalities like angry boars and voices like chainsmoking banshees.

I threw my back out once on Halloween wingmanning for Quint, trying to boost his girl’s friend (we called her the Green Machine, ala Scoobie Doo’s van) up through a window at the Establishment.  Felt like a midget trying to lift a dumpster, she was goddamn huge.

I once danced with a girl that was a dead ringer for Kevin from The Office, but with less hair, so Mark could talk to her friend in peace at Carissa’s wedding.

At a house party in the Grand St Casa, I listened to some chick talk about how great her Campus Crusade for Christ retreat was.  Even blackout drunk as I was, it was the longest fifteen minutes of my life.

Come to think of it, Shak you still owes me a beer for that shit.

I have done my duty, unflinching.

A consummate brofessional.

I found the bar and pushed my way into the noisy dark, expecting the worst.

——-

Her name was not Betty, though that’s how she was introduced.  Her name was undoubtedly some unpronounceable polysyllabic trainwreck she’d given up after finding Americans totally unable to master its Eastern European strangeness.  So she was Betty.

In the crowded haze of the bar, I pounded two beers to put that extra polish on my charming personality and chatted her up for twenty minutes before her friend Annette, Alcorn’s target and the object of this evening’s work, leaned in and told me she didn’t speak much English.

I smiled and thanked her graciously, adding inaudibly amidst the bar’s din “Thanks for the fucking heads up.  Regular-looking fucking brownhaired girl named Betty and I’m supposed to know she doesn’t speak English, thanks, great, I’m a tool. Appreciate it.”

Annette nodded and smiled.

“So you don’t speak English, Betty?”

She nodded, unsmiling, and said “Yes, thanks.”

Awesome.

“Do you want another drink?” I asked, noticing her glass of whatever girly pink shit was fairly untouched.

“No.”

No. Sweet.

“Ok.”

“I don’t like ze taste of drinks.”

Great.  Doesn’t drink or speak English.  And I have to entertain her indefinitely so Alcorn can work his game uninterrupted.

Gonna be a long night.

I ordered another beer and put on my friendliest smile.

She looked at her watch again. Always a good sign. Not.

“So how do you like San Francisco?”

“Vhat?”

“HOW DO YOU LIKE SAN FRANCISCO?!”

———

We talked about her job as a nanny.  She and Annette (a French-Canadian) were both live-in nannies, hired from abroad essentially as servants for obscenely rich families here in Pac Heights.

We talked about what she did for fun, which as far as I could tell was nothing.

She told me she liked San Francisco because of the nice weather.

“What vile fucking backwater hellhole are you from that you think San Francisco has nice weather?  Unless you grew up riding behind huskies and eating raw seal for breakfast, you must understand how shitty our weather is?”

“Vhat?”

“I said WHAT’S SUMMER LIKE IN LATVIA?”

“Is ok. Is like spring here.”

I smiled genially and nodded, saying “Well that fucking sucks for you guys!”

She nodded.  “Yes, thanks.”

I looked over to Alcorn and gave him a thumbs up, giving him the “she totally digs me” nod.

“So I guess you guys have a lot of vampire problems out there? In Budapest and shit?”  I asked.

“Vhat?”

———

I am a good wingman.  Not to toot my own horn.

I am employed, informed about current events, not fat, and can when required use my powers of evil wit for good.

I am pessimistic, and have a general contempt and disdain for my fellow man that members of the opposite sex often mistake for confidence and maturity, much like imaginitive children think every mossy log they see floating in a lake is the fucking Loch Ness Monster.

I am an accomplished liar and a moral vacuum, and can be endlessly politely attentive.

I have what it takes.

But holy shit, Betty was a challenge.

——–

Rule number one: when in doubt, ask questions.  Not to generalize or be sexist, but all chicks love to talk a lot.

I asked about everything from fashion to her family to her views on the European Union.

My own responses, mostly unintelligible to her anyway, were in a sincere and friendly tone.  Whether I said “Wow, that’s really interesting!” or “One time I ran over a homeless guy and didn’t stop to call the police” didn’t really matter as long as I said it with a kind, amicable inflection.

———-

We ended up at Annette’s house, or at least the house she lived in with her employer family.

I spend so much time in the back alleys and filthy downtown streets of SF that I often forget that such breathtaking opulence exists within the confines of our city.  The family was out of town, kids and all, off to their second home in Tahoe for a week of fresh powder and steam baths.

The house was warm; not eye-drying lip-chapping 1950’s central heating warm, but the kind of welcoming, storybook warmth one can only get with heated floors and the Very Best in Climate Control Systems.

The paintings were authentic, not prints.  The sinks were gilded Romanesque basins.  The dinner table was an ancient oak door from China, solid and heavy despite being old before my great-grandparents were born.

The view from their roof, where we sat drinking their fancy beer, was like a mural.  The entirety of the Golden Gate Bridge.

“What, no hot tub up here?” Alcorn asked, laughing.

“They haven’t been able to get a permit for it yet.” Annette answered.

“Such trials those poor people must face.” I said, sneering.

I asked Annette what the parents did that they could afford imported furniture and heated floors and live-in nannies in spite of the economic apocalypse.

She wasn’t sure exactly, or wouldn’t say, but said not to feel guilty about drinking their beer as my tax dollars had probably paid for it via government bailouts.

Motherfuckers.  I drank up and took two more just on principle.

——-

We insisted on dropping Betty off at her place rather than letting her walk home.

She was going home, but had stayed out long enough for Annette to let her go without feeling guilty or abandoned.

Mission accomplished, bitches.

“Is not dangerous up here, I am not a child, I can walk.”

“I know, but this way Trevor can show off his car to you.” Alcorn said.

Right.

I laughed as the girls walked up to the BMW stationwagon parked behind my dented, rusty truck.

“Nope, this one’s mine.”

Emptying my back seat to make room, I threw the football, shorted-out car stereo, first-aid kit, hammer, empty box of wine, dirty laundry and bag of Ellie’s knitting supplies into the truckbed.

“Your chariot awaits, ladies.”

——–

My obligations fulfilled, I left Alcorn and his girl at a bar on Washington, ostensibly heading off to meet up with Matt and them at that place on Taylor, whatever the fuck that means.

Instead I went home, collapsed in bed, waking Ellie up long enough to inform her that “her man still got it, can still pimp strong” and that I am “charming as a mother.”

She took a half-hearted, eyes-closed swing at me and told me to shut the hell up and go to sleep, which I did.

Got a head-on collision, smashing in my guts man

Posted in Blog with tags , , on February 26, 2009 by trevorgregg

Music – ZZ Top – Cheap Sunglasses

I turned 27 and, with little fanfare, I find myself old.

Growing up, I had the impression that I’d come upon the different stages of life as distinct, visible occurrences, approaching them as one does a city along a highway, forewarned by signposts and markers and lights on the horizon.

It is not so.

I have not so much come to adulthood as adulthood has come to me, showing up on my doorstep without warning or invitation like an annoying cousin needing a place to stay.  Adulthood has taken up residence and seems in no hurry to leave.  He sleeps on the couch and eats all the Frosted Flakes and never refills the fucking icecube trays.  I am afraid to invite friends over lest they come upon him wandering my apartment in his ragged tighty-whities.

I’m undoubtedly not the first to have felt this way.  I encounter people daily who are essentially fat, gray-haired teenagers; people who got old and ugly without ever managing to outgrow their petty and pathetic youthful motives and habits.  They have the same blundering self-absorption and suffocating sentimentalism they had in junior high, but these tacky affectations, almost forgivable in the young, are made exponentially more unbearable by their advanced age. Like your grandmother wearing a sequined tubetop.

These people are legion.  Many of them work in offices.  Many of them are named Carol and Burt and Isabelle, and stumble awkwardly through life, breathing and excreting and breeding, watching Survivor and going to the Olive Garden for their birthday.

It’s a bitter revelation.  To realize, as an adult, that the vast majority of other adults in the world are pretty fucking worthless.  They’re bad drivers, buck-passers,  and can’t spell.  They watch cable news and love funny cat videos on youtube.  They like Oprah. They pollute.

One cannot dwell on this, though.  It is too dangerous.  Sit too long on the edge of the abyss, dangling your legs, marveling at the endless suck of it all, and you risk falling in yourself.   You risk becoming entranced and slipping off into the dark in a moment of weakness or confusion.

Amidst this, the possibility of leading a life of consequence seems a nearly unattainable goal.

And time is short, so terribly short.  27 already.

That bitch snuck right up on me.

There is nothing for it but to keep on.  Resist the siren’s song of ignorance and domesticity and kids and minivans and company picnics and half-hearted smiles and properly filled out forms and the myth of simple pleasures and a comfortable routine.

Leave that shit for the squares.