Halloween came and went in a wave of its usual destruction. There is something about the ancient pagan festival of Samhain which involves mischief and destruction, yet there is something positive about this: a razing to the ground of that which is growing crooked and twisted. A veritable Kali-fire of helpful immolation of all that is wrong and that will cause misery, loss and problems down the line….it just doesn’t feel like it at the time. Yeah, I’ve got those post-Halloween blues. Actually, sitting down and realizing that sometimes wolves hide in neurotic sheep’s clothing, that my boundaries are firmly intact, and that in the end things are better this way, and I will survive like I always do, and the Boy is growing up to be a fine young man, strong and decent and kind, and that he loves me dearly is kinda empowering. I feel the sacred urge to hex some bitches, or at least hope they cease to be able to cause problems for those around them.
I was once accused of wanting to be the kinda grrrrl that preferred Ivory Towers of solitude, but instead was a gregarious, sociable type, longing for that Lady in the Lake energy which I failed to materialize. She was entirely correct, my accuser, but she is dead 28 years now. Cancer got her. So I suppose I don’t get to show her that I have finally got my deepest desire, my hard won goal has been reached: I am now that thing that I always wanted to be – alone, and willingly isolated from all but my Boy. A few might visit the Ivory Tower in San Francisco, either digitally or physically. In fact the only physical visitor I have ever had to suffer was the woman from the subsidy provider. She will be back again soon enough, sitting in my chair, drinking my tea and making me uncomfortable. I have decided that enough is enough. No more trust. No more unnecessary risk. No more trying to find a human connection that matters. It is just not safe enough to do so.
Yesterday I went for a walk. I didn’t go to Russian Hill. I didn’t go to the Park. Golden Gate has been taken over by some festival anyhow, I suppose they might be done now, but it is utter chaos and wall to wall trap (melodic new skool fake-ass rap) out there. Makes me shudder. I didn’t go to Nihonmachi, nor to Anza Vista, nor the Presidio, not even to the Embarcadero. I went for a walk around my ‘hood. I went for a walk around the Tenderloin. I actually decided to head to have a gander at the Bohemian Club, that exclusive club in the worst part of town, that has provided respite from the cares of the world to everyone from journos, to musicians, artists to politicians and military commanders, and in later years, the movers and shakers of this materialistic care worn planet – the businessmen and entrepreneurs.
They also own a huge 2700 acre campground in Monte Rio, California, where they hold an annual two week long camp every year, do some fake hokey pagan ‘burning of the cares’ ceremony, and presumably get down and dirty like the rich and privileged are wont to do. Yes, it is all high jinx by the lake, under the shadow of a gigantic concrete owl. Lilith, the Screech Owl Goddess, would not be amused. A group of rich bastards playing dress up, and having fun. Sounds dire. That said, it intrigued me that this club was still operating in this city of the summer of love, and that they would choose to stay in a Tenderloin/Union Square adjacent building! I was just going to take a few photos of the outside, and be nosy. I didn’t make it down there.
It was pouring with rain, which was all well and good because I had my hat – a lovely Panama number in tan with a swish faux leather hat band. Except my hat blew off and landed on the Tenderloin sidewalk. It was gone. The Boy bought it for me for my birthday. I was devastated. As I mourned the loss of my lovely hat – I should have bought a hat pin, I was approached by a homeless guy wearing a black plastic trash bag as rain wear. He didn’t seem too drunk, nor too high. “Careful! Don’t slip!” he cautioned me, looking for an opening to try and hustle me, or sell me drugs. I don’t know why I did, but I decided to talk with him a while.
“How are you today?” I asked him. After a little small talk he started to tell me how he lost everything. Crack. Women. Booze. He was older, and to be frank in your fifties, there is not much time left to get your shit together, before it is all far far too late to do so, and you end up victimized and in an earlyish grave. In that world you either have something to sell, your body, drugs….your soul…or else you end up owned, beaten and destroyed. In short, having fists of fury and the ability to protect yourself is one thing. Being useless is another pitfall entirely. He knew this. He told he he was planning on going to rehab. “Women and crack are like…”, he moved his hands in a sensuous spread as if spreading butter or else some poor crack ho’s legs, “peanut butter and jelly. I just can’t help it.” he declared hopelessly.
He was not too far gone, not by half. There was still light in his eyes, he was coherent and decent, as far as anyone is in this world. We spoke about the state of the world, the fact that some shelters here were pretty good really – he gave me an excellent report of the shelter he uses, how the rain is bad, and even worse, the hotels for the homeless are closing down. This is a source of great fear for those who have come to rely on them. Rather these buildings sit empty waiting for tourists who mostly do not come, and that people die on the streets, than they are filled with bodies still currently alive, who desperately need shelter. It makes me sick. It made our friend here, Mr Peanutbutterandjelly, absolutely helpless, hopeless, and desolate. Not angry. Just resigned. He will go to rehab. Sign up for a year. Better than the other option. My ruined hat. The rain drenched streets. The soaked blankets. The tents stolen by the City. The shit and the piss and the shattered crack pipes. The Bohemian Club sitting inviolate on Taylor amidst the suffering with their 2700 acres of annual fun that sits empty the rest of the year, while the homeless sleep amongst the trash in the gutter, dying of cold and the wet and the winter.
I held out my hand and gave him a fist bump. “I’m sorry, Big Brother,” I told him quietly. And I meant it. I am sorry. I am sorry that pits are made for people to fall into. Don’t tell me that the powers that be don’t flood our cities with crack and meth and the rest of the gory pantheon of pharmaceutical comfort, in an effort to bring the demise of those they do not desire to live, on faster. The holes they dig for men and women to fall into. We are not just disposable. We are hunted down, and tempted by the crack-carrot, and hit with the stick of the Law and the rule of the concrete jungle.
Then something quite curious happened. He told the truth. “Listen, I was gonna hustle you, but I don’t wanna do that now. No one gonna fuck with you out here, not while I am around. Look, the left side of the street is the market. Don’t walk down the left side. I don’t want them to hassle you for talking with me.” He paused and took a breath. I said nothing. He could not see I was smiling under my mask. The rain came down so hard on my now hatless head that my hair, now soaked, was plastered to my forehead, and the water ran in disturbing rivulets down my face. I had given up on my spectacles. They were useless, powerless in the deluge. Of course, he had to try and give me his email address, making sure not to ask for mine. I declined politely. He accepted that fact stoically. I told him I didn’t fuck men anyhow, not anymore. He smiled goofily, and for a moment the crack won out: “Ohhh I like that! Nice! Nice!” He caught himself and stopped, almost ashamed. Definitely desiring to do things better.
“You go to bad places for your walks, girly!” he told me laughing. I laughed back. “I live round here,” I replied. There was a little ego massaging talk about my being tough – not true; about my being cool, partially true; about my being ‘alright’ – absolutely subjective, but glad he thought so. He tried to chitter chatter about fanciful vast sums of money he once possessed, about the cars he owned in his dreams and wanted me to know he had driven. He wanted to be that man. I understood, but I didn’t have time for it.
All of a sudden, he looked down at himself, and sighed. “I am sorry, I look like shit, don’t I!” I considered the most appropriate answer to give him. He could look a million dollars and I wouldn’t fuck him or any other man. I am done. I am out. I am finished. He didn’t really want to screw me. He wanted a friend. Someone simpatico. Someone who could summon up a modicum of decency. “Go to rehab, sweetie. Rehab. You can do it. Get off that treadmill. You are not the drugs. You are ok. You are not a bad man. Just go do it. Do it for you. Maybe that sister of yours will forgive you if you are clean.” He shook his head sadly. “Nah. She won’t.”
He turned to go up the road, I turned to head away from the bad block I was going to walk through, thinking twice about it all. Fuck the Bohemian club bronze relief I wanted a photo of. Fuck the little story I was going to write about their machinations and interesting denizens. Fuck all of it. I lost my hat. I was sad. I lost my damn hat, lost my damn everything. Lost my damn hope and my damn way. Somehow I had found myself in a nice apartment, but it was an an illusion, all a dream, all a flight of fancy. An impossibility. I am not a winner, nor was meant to be. I will never get justice. The most I can hope for is to somehow work out a way to stay in my apartment with the Boy.
I am meant to die alone and broke in a gutter somewhere. I am meant to fail. No deals with the devil for me. No IOU to Lucifer engraved on my soul. no bohemian rhapsodies. “I see a little silhouetto of man! Scaramouche…scaramouche…do you do the fandango! Thunderbolt and lightening…” Nah…Beelzebub has no devil put aside for me….I have sympathy for the old Bald Cheater, the Morning Star, the Shining One, God’s own favorite son, turned freedom fighter with daddy issues. Heck, could he really do a worse job than the current sad state of affairs! I am joking. The devil is in the details. The devil is in the crack pipe. The devil is on the board of directors shutting the door of the hotels to the unhoused and keeping the corner boys fully stocked with that hamster wheel freebase.
I might have to go another direction on my next walk. Or maybe not…..