I moved back to California last April. It was Very Good Indeed, because I had previously been living in obscurity and relative poverty in a creaky submarine-shaped probably-black-mold-infested house on Hawthorne Avenue in Portland, Oregon for one godawful rotation around the sun. The first thing I did when I got back was get a house on the Oakland-Berkeley border—a secret fortified compound canopied by trees and flowers that are in bloom year-round. I felt pretty good about everything just then. I decided, in that fleeting moment of OKness, to drive down to Los Angeles with my sister-friends, world-famous French Canadian multimedia artist Laura Rokas-Bérubé and world-famous Chicagoan painter Gayle Walsworth!
Anyway: Laura finally got some old-ass film developed, and lo, there were pictures from our trip. I took a bunch of pictures myself but for some reason never put them up here. I will do that when I get home! But for now here are some of the pictures Laura took of me and good ol Gayle~
Whoa!! That Hollywood one is so good. Yeah.
As I MEDITATE upon it NOW, I realize that one of the reasons I had to break up with this person I was dating many years ago was because of the frequency with which she used the non-word “meh”. I get chills down my spine just thinking about it. She mostly used it as a thoughtless perfunctory response, and occasionally to review movies we had just seen, and honestly I don’t know which is worse.
Baby, listen: If you somehow think you ever need to use that godawful internetspeak, then just do us all a favor and burp instead. It will have the same effect, and at the very least you will have done something honest with your mouth.
One time a guy in a “meh.” (lowercase) T-shirt came into a movie 20 minutes late and sat down next to me in an otherwise completely empty theater and asked me what he’d missed, and I nearly had a heart attack because I assumed someone had hired him to kill me. Of course my own personal angel of death would be wearing that fucking T-shirt with that fucking word on it (thought I!). In the end this Forrest Gump-haircut’d adult man slurped on gummy worms and gargled soda all the livelong day, and while he may not have stabbed me in the neck with a screwdriver, I sure could not unforget the three letters scrawled across his chest, which may as well announce to us all the way he comes at the world!
Anyway: She was a great person otherwise. Just, for god’s sake, a black shriek of terror exploded inside my skull every time she dared to sum up her feelings in one doughy noncommittal mealy-mouthed syllable!!
Yesterday I went to see my new doctor, because my old doctor is apparently having a baby, and has gone away on maternity leave. This new dude’s name is Jess and he’s real cool. He asked me about my FAMILY HISTORY, and my medications, and how my vasectomy went, since I guess it was right there in my online chart. I told him I had got snipped right good, and had healed, and so on, but still had a weak-to-nonexistent sperm count that required one more follow-up test later this month. After that, I said, the door will be forever slammed shut on any possible Starsailor spawn. His face seemed to brighten when I said this for reasons I have decided not to wonder about too deeply.
He had me take my shirt off (oh baby~) and he checked my ears (eee!!) and took my blood pressure (yessss) and listened to my heart (ooo!!) and felt my lymph nodes (n i c e). The good doctor reported that despite all my efforts to destroy myself, I am in “excellent health”— with no end in sight! I said some dark thing, some thing about wanting death, I can’t remember what exactly, and we both laughed. You’ve got to laugh at things like that. If we, as PEOPLE, can’t share darkness, then what hope is there, really, for any of us. . . ??
My bloodwork was OK too. He said all my levels were “within normal range”. Hell, even my vitamins and all that shit were good. I’m not lacking!
Anyway: I put my shirt back on and shook his hand and split. I was a-walkin down Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley, California listening to SUNCHOKES about as loud as my little pink headphones would go, feeling as good as I ever feel about anything—was strutting hard, even, strutting like it was the last time they would let me get away with it! It was as Bay Area as you can get: 60 degrees, chilly, with a lil’ bit-a warm sun up above. My body was on autopilot, knowing its way home, as I daydreamed and time-traveled inside my head. Yes, it was a fine day to be mentally deranged but otherwise healthy where it mattered, which for me was in my blood and my bones and my flesh and my godforsaken organs, and on and on. And sure: there were still some swimmers in my semen, maybe, who clung to some foolish hope of utility . . . but so what! They would be gone soon, flushed out from me and forgotten, and then finally my lifelong dream of truly being a useless mammal would be realized. ‘CLEAN JEANS’ came on, I’ll tell you what, as I passed the downtown BART station, and I thought, hell, if this ain’t all right, then I don’t know what is.
I walked for miles and miles through the neighborhoods west of campus to get to my own own home on the Oakland-Berkeley border. I could hardly believe how nice everything was . . . there were flowers everywhere, and everyone I passed was in a good mood. As JAMES DEAN says to NATALIE WOOD in ‘REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE’:
“LIFE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL”
I will conclude my story thusly: As I stepped into the alleyway leading to my front door, I received several text messages from my friends all over the Bay informing me that, at that very moment, a psychopath with a gun was shooting up YouTube headquarters 20 miles south in San Bruno.
Well. . . .
rei harakami was a cool dude. too bad the guy died in 2011 . . . . man. i’ve had most of his albums on my computer for years and years, but i just realized he also has a bandcamp. here it is
if you ever want to have a real good time by yourself, just hang out with colors of the dark. i’m doing so as we speak~
Some time ago now, years ago!, I was communicating with A Girl From The Internet Who Lived In Los Angeles. Maybe I was in LA when this was happening, or maybe it was a little while after, when I got back to Oakland. I don’t know! Her name was just “K” and god knows she sure did never tell me what they stood for, if anything! At any rate, yes, she lived in LA, and I lived in Oakland. We lived almost 400 miles away from each other. We talked for months, maybe half a year. Somehow, somehow, her best friends were my neighbors on Mead Avenue in Ghosttown. We wouldn’t know that until much later though—wouldn’t know that until the day I accidentally met her.
AS IT HAPPENS: My neighbors came into Donut Farm one morning. They were there to eat breakfast. They said hello to me and I sat them by the window. They were with a girl—were with K! She and I were both “uhhhhhhhhhh”ing in real time, right there in Donut Farm, because we recognized each other in that vague sort of way!
“You know who I am, yeah?” I said.
“Yes,” she said. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“I work here, man.”
She’d come from LA, she said, to visit her friends, who also happened to be my nextdoor neighbors, and who were nice people. I went to their bonfires every now and then.
When they were leaving, K asked me to take a picture of everyone standing by the big pink donut outside. She handed me a disposable camera and I took this:
She sent me this picture a month later. That’s her on the far right. I never saw her again.
(P.S. I know there are a few of you fools out there in the dark thinking to yourself, that this is such a Ryan story, and yeah OK, I know you’re thinking it, because you’ve said that exact sentence to me before! Well! Love y’all~~)
i wonder what ever happened to lucia. for all i know she still lives three blocks away from me in a little room with christmas lights and a sewing machine
my friend sent me this yesterday. i did not know it existed
that’s me in the back of a truck in brooklyn on christmas day
it was something like 9 degrees out