As the sun was setting, I walked from my house to downtown Berkeley to see a movie. I left early so that I could get a cup of coffee and walk around Shattuck until McCune got there. It was nice out. There were a lot of people milling around the square and I remembered it was the day before Halloween.
I walked to the California Theatre and got a ticket from the woman working the box office outside. I had come to see THE LIGHTHOUSE:
Most everyone else was there for PARASITE. I realized this when I walked into a completely empty theater. I was the only one there to see the movie about two weird guys hanging out in a lighthouse. This was theater 3 upstairs, which is usually where I end up, so I walked to the end of the first row and sat down. I like this row because you can put your feet on the wall and there’s no one in front of you. McCune walked in a few minutes later and sat down next to me and we spent the next two hours having ourselves a good old time with this thing. After it ended, and the credits rolled and the automated curtain went down over the screen, I thought to myself: “Well, I guess there really are still a few people out there making anything that’s worth a damn.” What McCune and I had bore witness to there in the dark was a truly bizarre film and, let’s face it, the thing is total box office poison . . . and yet somehow they went ahead and got it made anyway. This imbued with me confidence for a few reasons that probably don’t matter anyway since the whole world is ending. But at any rate, this was a hell of a thing to see exhibited.
MCCUNE AND I PARTED WAYS, and alone I walked north to University Avenue, then cut west to take the long way home. I thought I might do some walking.
Yes, and as I got further away from everyone there, I thought about these dreams I keep having that I am maybe too embarrassed to write down here or say to anyone I know. I dream and then I wake up and childishly carry these delusions around with me because I don’t want to let go of them even though that is the only true path. I spoke to myself because I needed to order my own past out loud. I went through the many years I had spent in Oakland chronologically so as to connect it to the present moment. I saw the deep significance of this city branded upon my very soul! There is a diverging timeline out of Oakland somewhere in the timeline that ruined everything beyond it, and I’m obsessed with thinking about it . . . I reckon I keep circling these thoughts because I hate myself. It is this one thing I see in the center of my dreams, and I see it shining plain, and I can’t change it. And then to torture myself even more, I did a thing I always do, which is to imagine an alternate timeline in which I had not left Oakland in November 2015. I feel something in my body twist up when I do this. I thought, you know, jesus lord . . . all I’ve done in the last ten years is waste a bunch of money and get older. Think of the people I could have met if I had not left! And, perhaps more importantly, think of the people I wish I could have not met in the other places between. . . .
Having seen this film with my old friend, and having drunk coffee, and it being the night before Halloween, and so on, I decided I felt pretty good otherwise, and so I closed the door in my mind where I keep these things and made myself think only about walking. I saw the four palm trees high above all the dark houses and I knew I was only a few blocks from home. But of course I always know I’m close to home when I pass the seashell house:
That god damn thing!
It’s cold in my house . . . I have turned on the radiator Kerwin left in his room when he went back to the East Coast. I don’t know why I didn’t use it last winter, because this thing is great. I ought to sleep but I am afraid to. I have to try anyway.