I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth—pagans and all included—can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship—to do the will of God? that is worship. And what is the will of God?—to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me—that is the will of God.

Now, as I before hinted, I have no objection to any person’s religion, be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or insult any other person, because that other person don’t believe it also. But when a man’s religion becomes really frantic; when it is a positive torment to him; and, in fine, makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in; then I think it high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.

I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody’s religious obligations, never mind how comical, and could not find it in my heart to undervalue even a congregation of ants worshipping a toad-stool; or those other creatures in certain parts of our earth, who with a degree of footmanism quite unprecedented in other planets, bow down before the torso of a deceased landed proprietor merely on account of the inordinate possessions yet owned and rented in his name.

I say, we good Presbyterian Christians should be charitable in these things, and not fancy ourselves so vastly superior to other mortals, pagans and what not, because of their half-crazy conceits on these subjects. There was Queequeg, now, certainly entertaining the most absurd notions about Yojo and his Ramadan;— but what of that? Queequeg thought he knew what he was about, I suppose; he seemed to be content; and there let him rest. All our arguing with him would not avail; let him be, I say: and Heaven have mercy on us all—Presbyterians and Pagans alike— for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.

Moby-Dick of course!

I had a dream someone kissed me

Hell if I know who it was, but it was nice just the same

CURRENTLY: Driving to Los Angeles at about 100 mph!

MONDAY: Driving to Portland probably much slower because Oregon highways have low speed limits!

Aw man . . . don’t tell anyone, but I love Oakland, California. So many beautiful people have hugged me and kissed me in the last week. And I have been offered five different jobs. I think I am going to take three of them. Man. Yeah. I love this place. Yeah. Don’t tell anyone but I do~~

We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free and easy were we; when, at last, by reason of our confabulations, what little nappishness remained in us altogether departed, and we felt like getting up again, though day-break was yet some way down the future.

Yes, we became very wakeful; so much so that our recumbent position began to grow wearisome, and by little and little we found ourselves sitting up; the clothes well tucked around us, leaning against the headboard with our four knees drawn up close together, and our two noses bending over them, as if our knee-pans were warming-pans. We felt very nice and snug, the more so since it was so chilly out of doors; indeed out of bed-clothes too, seeing that there was no fire in the room. The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm. For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich. For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blankets between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal.

We had been sitting in this crouching manner for some time, when all at once I thought I would open my eyes; for when between sheets, whether by day or by night, and whether asleep or awake, I have a way of always keeping my eyes shut, in order the more to concentrate the snugness of being in bed. Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if, darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part. Upon opening my eyes then, and coming out of my own pleasant and self-created darkness into the imposed and coarse outer gloom of the unilluminated twelve-o’clock-at-night, I experienced a disagreeable revulsion. Nor did I at all object to the hint from Queequeg that perhaps it were best to strike a light, seeing that we were so wide awake; and besides he felt a strong desire to have a few quiet puffs from his Tomahawk. Be it said, that though I had felt such a strong repugnance to his smoking in the bed the night before, yet see how elastic our stiff prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them. For now I liked nothing better than to have Queequeg smoking by me, even in bed, because he seemed to be full of such serene household joy then. I no more felt unduly concerned for the landlord’s policy of insurance. I was only alive to the condensed confidential comfortableness of sharing a pipe and a blanket with a real friend. With our shaggy jackets drawn about our shoulders, we now passed the Tomahawk from one to the other, till slowly there grew over us a blue hanging tester of smoke, illuminated by the flame of the new-lit lamp.

y’all realize this book is really really good, right

FRIENDS IN LOS ANGELES: I will be in LA tomorrow evening. I am accompanying some of my close friends as we go to Some Event and do Some Things that will apparently be on the main page of Youtube for 90 whole god-hating minutes. That’s it. Otherwise we’re going to drive around and eat delicious food and not sleep.

Where are you? Do you want to hang out?

I’ll be around till Sunday! Let’s kick it baby!!

There is of course a possibility that I will die before this happens, because I could die 30 seconds from now. Death is the only promise there is, son. It’s a path we’re all on.

BUT IF I LIVE: I have imagined many times that I will die in a back alley in Tokyo wearing my old beat-up denim jacket and bleeding out from four or five gunshot wounds.

Oakland is weird, man. I definitely don’t hate it. It is like a spaceport for pirates and smugglers. It is Mos Eisley. People stay for a while, work a little, go somewhere else, come back.

I went into Donut Farm the other day and dudes who worked there a year ago are back in the kitchen. These people had moved to other states, for crying out loud! And now they’re back. How did this happen? I guess I’m back too. Everyone is back. None of us are actually from Oakland but we are trapped in its gravitational pull. They asked me to come back and work. I could probably ask for more money. But no, I really have to go! I have to go north, I think. That’s what I think. I really have to do it.

Though, in the meanwhile, I’ve been having me a good old time walking around and showing up in places I used to go. Last night I went to the bar where I worked and the bartender, who is a good friend of mine, made me drinks all night. A bunch of people I know just happened to show up and we had a good old time together. I look different now—my head is shaved and I wear a little wool knit cap since it’s cold having a shaved head—and so I’m sort of in disguise! And when people figure out who I am it’s like I’ve come back from the dead. It’s actually really interesting. You know what, I like this place.

But I really have to go! I think . . . I don’t know. I’m going. If I start to miss it that much I can always get on a plane. It’s an hour flight, for God’s sake. That’s nothing. It’s like $70. I know a million people who would put me up for a weekend. I don’t know.

When I was inches away from going back to Texas, I got sort of creeped out. You only think of time passing for you where you are. You forget it is passing for everyone everywhere else. And so when I talked to the few people I still knew in Austin, it felt like it was too late. That time had passed. I would be trying to jump back into something that is no longer there . . . I may as well have never lived there, or have known anywhere there as well, when you think about going back, because it is all ghostly and gone. To return would mean to learn a city again, and to be alone until you weren’t. And then what? Who the heck knows, man.

Which is why, after being away from Oakland for three months and returning to it, I feel strange leaving it again. Because in a few years all of this will go away and I’ll never get it back. Though I reckon that’s everything you ever do for the rest of your life. I can’t help but think, you know, that all these people are still here, and I am leaving them. It will all break away, and become something else, and it will be unrecognizable to me and I will be unrecognizable to it . . . but that hasn’t happened yet! Is it wise to leave while there is still life in something? I don’t know. I don’t know anything. Oakland is still dirty, still dangerous, and still extremely overpriced. I can’t take any of that shit anymore. But at least the place has balls. Balls the size of Jupiter, even. Say what you will, you can just kind of do anything here, which is beautiful. My friends and I used to call Oakland the “Whatever, Man” capital of the world. Hell, there are so many different kinds of people here, and it’s always weird and heavy. I love that. It makes me sad to walk away from that.

I don’t know. I’m going to poke around up north. I’ll see how it looks. I think it will be fine. But then I don’t know.