. . . I reckon I got lost in time there for a little while. It’s just that not much ever changes, and what with it being so cold and dark all the time, I hardly notice when a stretch of days pass. Sometimes I’ll think it’s only been two or three days when really a week and a half have gone by. I am still in self-exile in the East Coast, in the part of it where I spent almost two decades, and there are not many people to talk to. It does something to you! It has done something to me. Unless I make a point to drive somewhere and talk to a cashier I have befriended, there is little else you can do other than read or write or watch movies or nap or drive around. A few times I have gone on long walks . . . but it’s just not as fun when you’re freezing your god darn bag off out there! What else is there? Well, I write a lot of letters . . . write until my hand hurts, even. Then it’s back to the handful of things I cycle through to keep me from going completely insane. . . .
And so it was that after weeks and then months of mostly being isolated, and going on in this way, I have lost any sense of time, and have let it get away from me. The way I tell time anymore is to look at my hair in the mirror, which is getting increasingly annoying to comb, what with it being so long. The more annoying it is, the more time has passed. The lady who cuts my hair in Berkeley texted me the other say, and sheepishly let me know she was available again. They’ve lifted restrictions in the San Francisco Bay Area, you see. I told her I desperately needed her help getting this fucking helmet off my head. And she was the last person to cut it, now that I think about it, way back in the summer. Lord! It must have been in July, just before I left for Utah, where I got trapped in the Utah Salt Flats on the first night of my trip!
Hah! So a little over six months ago. Since then I have flown and driven many thousands of miles all over the country to do whatever it is I do, and shampooing and conditioning my hail with argan oil all the while. Now, imprisoned in an endless sea of ice, and having sung all the told all the tales, real and imaginative, I wile away the remaining days I have left until I go back to California where I ought to be, crippled though it is! That’s what they say, anyway—that California, after leading the country as a sort of guiding light of smart science early in the pandemic, is now ground zero for mass deaths and infections. But what can I do? I can’t stay here any longer. I am living a non-life here in a way that feels more poisonous to me than it did when I was quarantined in the East Bay for the first half of quarantine. I chalk it up to losing the good weather, the good trails and sidewalks, and friendly action from a distance. Here I am in a tomb, and not just any tomb . . . it is a place where I spent nearly two-thirds of my life with everyone I ever knew, and now the whole thing is hollowed out, and everyone is gone. Nothing new can happen to me here. I’m not going to launch into yet another lonely diatribe about how being here feels like being locked inside an abandoned amusement park, though there it is. It’s just that it’s eating my brain to keep driving by all the dead places here, now emptied of all meaning and significance to me. I have this childish compulsion to revisit certain places here, as if, by simply being in proximity, I can absorb some ancient memory from them. I mean, that’s at least a little pathetic. And anyway it never works. I have tried it a thousand times and it does nothing but deepen the well of sadness. There is nothing mystical in the dark woods waiting to be discovered by me. It cannot be got back. So again I have to leave it, and probably for good this time.
I may have more to say about that later. But maybe also it would be better for everyone if I left it at that. Hmmm. . . .
Thing is, I have a plan for What Comes Next, which is this: My friends Mitch and Leyla are preparing a place for me in their house in the Oakland Hills. I’ve always wanted to live up there. Why not? They have a sort of standalone basement unit with its own private entrance, and so they are going to let me take it over. I tell you what: I can’t wait to get my stuff out of that storage unit in Berkeley and drive it up into the hills and just chill. All I want to do is put some books on some bookshelves. OK? And I’m going to get a gigantic TV and a bed and everything. I haven’t had my own bed since Berlin. It’s been almost a solid of year of sleeping on people’s floors and couches. Enough!! I will have a bed again. All I gotta do is have IKEA deliver a mattress to the Oakland Hills and pick up my comforter from Laura’s apartment in San Francisco, and hey presto, maybe I won’t have excruciating neck and back pain anymore. Oh, my god . . . and I’m going to buy a car too. I gotta. Hell, I may even do it the very day I get back into town, which is not long from now. We shall seeeeeee~!
WELL: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my good friend / spirit-sister Monty and our friend / her roommate Natasha came down from New York City this past weekend to see me before I leave this place forever. We got stoned and drank gas station coffee and drove around, as you do in such places and during times like these. And we visited Washington, DC, presently a sort of disaster war zone, and putzed around town seeing whatever it is there is to see, which is not much these days . . . miles of iron fencing tipped with barbed wire and armed guards staring hatefully at you from the other side. But we made the best of it, I guess . . . and when it all got to feel too oppressive, we drove back down to my hometown ripped out of our skulls and made udon and drank hot chocolate and watched the X-Files while it snowed outside, effectively trapping us in, and delaying Monty and Natasha’s Sunday departure by one whole day.
Here are some cute pictures we took:
How nice is it that they drove all that way just to hang out my podunk hometown, where people walk around with holstered guns on their hips and drive monster trucks festooned with racist bumper stickers? Those are true friends, OK. I miss them! It has been lonely as hell since they left.
I really ought to sleep . . . I’ll have more to say in the early afternoon, when I eventually wake up. In fact I mean to say it now, except I want to fit in one more episode of the X-Files before I go to sleep. . . .