. . . it would quickly become clear that 2019 was the “best” one. What would be the criteria? I guess that means things like: 1) my house, 2) my car, 3) my job, 4) my friends, 5) my g-g-girlfriend(s), 6) things I did, 7) places I went, 8) people I met, 9) number of books I read, 10) number of movies I watched, and so on.

In which case: In 2019 I had a cool house and a cool car and a cool girlfriend. I had good friends who lived closed by and who came over often, and had good friends from far away who stayed with me. I did a lot of new stuff and went on several trips and met a lot of cool people. I read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies. Yes, it was a good year, and probably the most amount of quote-unquote stability I’ve ever experienced. Nothing has ever really come close to it again.

During the summer of 2019, my friend Tombo from Spain wrote to me from Austin, Texas, where I had once lived, and asked me what he should do there. He was visiting the US for the first time on account of a girl he loved, whom he had met during some sort of language program he did while in Vietnam (or Thailand? I think I got that right . . .). Anyway, at the end of the program, they both went back to the respective countries, and her being American, she went back to Texas. Meanwhile Tombo went home to Spain, many thousands of miles and an ocean away from this girl, and realized he still had a thing for her and needed to see it through, for good or ill. I told him that at that time: it’ll probably hurt bad, but just go there and see her and find out. You’ve got to. I mean, I’d have done the same thing. (I almost wish I had something like that going on now . . . it sounds romantic (lol)).

So Tombo went to Texas to see this girl. It didn’t go so well. He’d figured as much, but now he knew for sure. The guy was heartbroken and had no place to go. I told him to go get a cup of coffee at Bennu, where I used to hang out stoned at 2 am whenever my girlfriend was mad at me, which was several times a week. And then I said: “Get on a train and come stay with me in California.” Because Tombo is a Real Dude, he did just that.

Tombo rolled into town a few nights later. The Pink-Haired Girl was in town for a party that was gonna take place a few days later—one where my friends and I planned to resurrect Kermit the Frog from the dead in my backyard. The PHG and I hopped into my Datsun and floored it in the direction of Emeryville station. Tombo was on foot and we intercepted him on San Pablo Avenue with his bag slung over his shoulder. I pulled over and offered him a ride, but having no back seat, and him being 6’3″, there was no way he was going to fit in the open trunk area. So we took his bag for him and he walked to my beloved fortified compound on the Oakland / Berkeley border. When he got there, we embraced like brothers, and he stayed with Jackson and me for the next month or so.

During that time, Tombo documented the Kermit party in my backyard, Slaughtermelon at Mitch and Leyla’s, and a bunch of blissful days and nights with my friends and me that were so nice it is almost painful to think about now. Which is to say, he just so happened to be there during the best summer of the best year of my life. Wow!

Last night I asked him if he’d send me the pictures he took back then, to which he replied:

And so here’s some of the good stuff he sent me, which includes pictures of my cool car and cool girlfriend and cool cat and cool friends, and on and on. Also, we did manage to fit Monty in the back of my car, and I’m sure it was extremely dangerous. Oops!

Thanks Tombo! I miss my life so much. To be sure, many of the elements of it still exist, but that’s the last time it was a sort of cohesive whole. Maybe I’ll never get it all back. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted~