An open topped ATV style bus full of fresh high school graduates in party hats drive up the street blaring loud ’80’s butt rock. The partying youngsters looked deflated, and I don’t blame them: it was total humiliation. Such enforced fun is always hokey, an embarrassment to be tolerated, withstood through gritted teeth and overcome. The only way to get through something like this is to fix yourself on the point in time when it is all over, and you can go home and try and forget it ever happened, like any other unjustified punishment.
I always steered clear of the bus tours in cities, loud music, enforced good times, organized dance moves, people determined to have fun while their sad-faced children wonder when it is all going to be over and they can go to In and Out Burger and drown themselves in soda and transfats to try and ease the pain of existing in a world where fun is prescribed and defined in ways that not many of us enjoy. Not to say that people don’t like singing along to Abba doing a duckie dance, while a bus that might be able to go into water in some kinda James Bond style move, winds it’s way through the city streets pointing out places of interest where you could probably actually have some sort of enjoyment.
I watched these buses in years past as I dragged my kids into Ripley’s Believe it or Not to look at various strange things, or on our way to watch people throw sandwiches to sealions, or as we exited museums and art galleries. I like to think they were glad that I am not someone who enjoys ‘fun’ and instead prefer to find other things to do which are at least interesting. I also used to be quite fond of skipping the interest and instead taking them for ice cream. I used to be a fun mother. Now me and the boy tut at the price of Van Gogh exhibitions and instead go and watch the boats from the dock. Everything is a little less bright. I loved being a mother of little children. I’m not saying every day was a party, but it wasn’t a party-bus scenario either.
A man walks down the street carrying two large drums, and enters the apartment building opposite. It does not bode well for his neighbors sleep. I am a big defender of the right to sleep. I have got used to the sirens and the shouts from outside, but I defend my right to sleep over other’s right to party. Why can’t other’s have fun without forcing other’s to stay awake and listen to it. A party isn’t a party for all.
I got off the phone to Billy a short while ago. Mr Mumbles, the local kingpin and him have been shooting a little meth together. I’ve never met the infamous Mumbles, but he is apparently a fearsome soul, with one leg, various cancers which cause him to piss pure red, but never seem to take him out. Too mean to die, some might say. Too fucked up to live, perhaps. In some wild hillbilly senior delinquent meth party, Mumbles got down and dirty with someone else’s woman…and meth being the drug of perv, decided he wanted her to step on his balls. She got a little too enthusiastic treading on him and popped that little sucker open. Blammo. Gone. Flat. Deceased. Bye bye. He waited until morning to decide to take himself off to the ER. Billy was devastated: there would be no meth for him today. He wondered how long I thought Mumbles would be kept in the hospital. A quick and amusing investigating into testicular explosions and the fact that Billy could confirm it was actually totally flat and deflated, I thought at least surgery and a few days. A party is definitely not a party for all. All tomorrow’s parties squashed underfoot.
Focusing in on Billy, I didn’t know whether to be impressed or horrified. He has dropped from stout but not fat, to slender, and now to skeletal. The speed doesn’t let him cease and exist. He has to be perpetually fussing and moving. The dog barks in the background, as he tells me the good old boy talks to him. A friend I enquire? “No, the dog,” he returns without a hint of amusement. “Yeah, if he drops a dookie on the floor (my heart sinks, the poor old camper), or eats my sandwich he says sorry. He also says ‘I love you.’ I have some damn fine conversations with that canine.” I can’t help but smile. “That sounds like some good shit you’ve got there, sweetie.” I offer in return. All irony bounces off the speed shaped carapace like water off a duck’s back. “What? Yeah, it’s alright. Why?” “Well, you are hearing the dog talk to you.” The dog woofs energetically. “Gotta go, Shep says there’s something good on tv.” I give up, but the fact he is now watching TV when he banned television from the RV for years, infuriates me.
“Watching TV, now, huh? I guess you have plenty of time to fill.” He stretches out his arms, which are pocked, bloodied and bruised. He has veins like ropes, but the sight capabilities of a mole in bright sunlight. I ask him if he is being careful, to which I am treated to reassurances that Mumbles and his buddies are ‘clean’ and that he is fine. I look up clinics, send him details for harm reduction programs, where he can get clean rigs, and just about give up on him. Nothing will kill him. He will be there with the cockroaches and the radioactive rats long after anyone reading this has departed from this planet, and he will still find ways of being a pain in the ass.
But the line is dead. Billy’s clearly gone to find a replacement connection for his various speed needs, and it ain’t really my problem.
Walking down to the market today a homeless man in his thirties, sitting on his bed roll on the corner of California and Van Ness, calls out to me, “Show me your tits!” I looked around: no one else was there. Oh, I see, I thought, as I saw my son tense his fists in response. I put my pepper spray in my right hand, and stare at the offender. He looks more like he is going to puke than party. I really should carry around fliers for that party bus, perhaps they could show him a good time. This mother is bored to death of the fuckers.
Party on, party people. Peace.