My friend SAHAR wrote to me yesterday, and she asked me if I wanted to do something “cool” soon. To which I responded: Um, yeah! She’s a dental hygienist, don’t you know, a little ways north of El Cerrito. Or anyway she’s studying to be one. I asked her if I could volunteer to come in and have her class clean my teeth, and she said yes. I mean, listen: that gold tooth has got to be professionally polished every now and then, lest it lose its luster. So why not. They’ll do it for free and everything, and maybe we’ll all learn something together.

Anyway: We have decided we’re going to go to Santa Cruz and get a cabin or something, and then eat a bag of mushrooms and walk around all night. Alayna has told me we should start at the UC campus and make our way into the botanical gardens, and then into the nearby state park. Doesn’t that sound nice? Eventually we head back and hang out in the cabin. And, by god, the place I’m looking at has a hot tub, which is just the sort of thing you want to do on the big comedown from that stuff. First time I ever tried mushrooms, we all got in the hot tub afterwards and stayed there until like four in the morning. At some point I watched my hand melt and become tree roots growing on the inside of the tub. It ruled. And now, exactly thirteen years later, I hope to end a TRIP in the same sort of way, having wanted to do so for a long long time.

Sahar is cool. She’s a solid person. That’s the sort of person you want with you on a night like that, and don’t I know it.

Here are some pictures I took last year when she and I went to Albany Bulb and Indian Rock one foggy night:

Oh hey, that’s Sahar in the first picture:

Aw!

I gotta go back there soon . . . lord knows I love Albany Bulb. When I first moved to Oakland, my cousin Jack and our neighbor Nathan and I would drive the DOOMSMOBILE over there round sunset, and we’d walk all the way to the end of the jetty, where there used to be a wooden bench, and we’d sit down and share a joint and drink coffee from my thermos. And I took Laura and Hali there when Laura first got to the Bay, and Hali took her shirt and bra off and ran around and I wrapped myself in a blanket I kept in my trunk and screamed at the top of my lungs at San Francisco (lol) while Laura took pictures. And, uh, I brought Anna there, back when the world was still beautiful. . . !!!

Well: Sahar, let’s god darn do it. If this world be a scourge upon the universe, THEN LET US BE RID OF IT FOR A WHILE. We have the keys to the Other World, after all, where our warped shared reality can fractal into something stranger. And maybe once again this can all feel like those nights on the jetty, if only briefly. Either way, I won’t be disappointed. After A YEAR OF DARKNESS, I suppose anything is better than this. Hey man . . . I’ll take it!!