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Doing our Best

I suppose there is a dirty little secret I do not much care to admit: that most of us are doing our best and that I did my best. The flip side of that coin is that sometimes people’s best isn’t good enough. What constitutes ‘good enough’? For other people, does it really matter? Turning around in circles, unsatisfied and demanding more that people just don’t have to give, is hardly a decent way to live a life. For me, ‘good enough’ for others, and acceptable to myself are two different things. Events that were non negotiable for me, happened anyway. My best was not quite enough to achieve a result that I was satisfied with, and that saved everybody I loved. For me, that is going to be an eternal sadness. If anyone else has an opinion they wish to express that I could have done better, they can go off, walk a while in my shoes, and then take those shoes for a long walk off a short pier.

I am willing to accept that others mostly do their best – even if that is doing their best to hurt, maim, destroy and let down; and in return hope that my adult life’s work of survival and self sacrifice has been enough to earn me a place in the heart of those I love.

Love comes and goes, but the core of it remains as long as no one presses the last space button and goes for ultra-destructo-mode. Those things about that person that we once adored, remain, past death, past their mistakes, past time and through the sad longing of separation, at least for the most part. My love gets tempered by sadness, anger, disappointment, betrayals. Sometimes it is just as well to do an about face, do whatever it takes to survive, and say that love doesn’t solve everything. Love isn’t always enough, no matter if it is the best a person can manage.

I used to tell Billy that ten days was better than no days at all. He was always bargaining for forever. I didn’t think either of us had that long. In the end I offered more and more permanence than he could ever handle. I offered ‘for as long as we have’, and a small dream of a safer, better life, and he threw it back in my face in exchange for some fucked up fat-boy bloated bottle dreams, a U100 of the finest bathtub crank he could lay his grubby mitts on, and a handful of DMT illusion dreams. To offer love and semi permanence, and to get back an eight ball and a bathtub of delusions has to be one of the most shitty exchanges in history.

In my mind the pine trees, snow scenes, desert highways, truck stops, mountain passes, Shata campgrounds, Minnesota lakes and Oregon swamps pass by in a glorious procession of happier times. That dead man was my soul mate. That idiot was my best friend. That let down was my protector. That junkie speed freak drunk was my muse. No one longs for me to sit and play a new song I have written for them. No one sits entranced and lets me try words out against the soundboard of their psyche. Now no one reaches for my hand. Now I am on two feet, not six wheels. Now the road is an annoying hum, not an old friend. It runs past my window still, but my window stays still and the road moves instead. I am not sure I like it. I mean I love my home, and I need it, but those years, for the most part exist through rose tinted glasses.

After all, we were just people doing our best to survive. He did his best, and I am alive, after all. I did my best until there was no more to be done. I feel like tattooing ‘not malicious’ on my arm to remind me when I get too sad, of how it all came tumbling down.

I have been in San Francisco long enough to consider it my home, and for all it’s problems, I love it here. It does it best. OK, so it might not be enough. There might still be suffering, sweeps of homeless people. A vast number of it’s residents seem to struggle with the infantile concept of object permanence – i.e. things you can’t see still exist when you can’t see ’em. Moving people on doesn’t mean that that person, that tent, that human being doesn’t exist within San Francisco, or the USA, or the world. It just means that that person doesn’t currently exist on that particular street for the time being. I used to end up screaming at Billy, “just where the FUCK do they want us to go! We have to go somewhere. We can’t just stop existing!” The answer on the part of those people, cops, security guards and shop workers, tended to be that they didn’t care where we went, nor how we would get there, all they wanted for us not to exist there. Or there. Or there. Or there. Not the walmart parking lot. Not the campgrounds. Not the rest areas. Not the national forests. Nowhere. I wish they would just be honest and tell us to drop dead, because, let’s face it, that is what they want after all.

Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe people don’t do their best after all. That might suggest that there is compassion, kindness, decency, and the understanding of the impossible amongst the general housed population, and I just don’t think there is. Perhaps people need a lesson in permanence, and compassion.

I am an optimist beneath my shattered disappointed heart. I want to believe in the essential goodness of people. I want to believe that most people, given half the chance, want to do their best, put their best foot forwards, and leave a memory of something good and loving in this world after they exit.

The family used to have an award – the “Dee Dee Award”, named after Dee Dee Ramone, who thanked himself profusely when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which might possibly be the most punk act ever committed to video. “Thank you Dee Dee…you are very wonderful….I love you”….Dee Dee intones deadpan. It is so punk because it is so distasteful! Self recognition that we have done our best, that we are the best, that we love ourselves is beyond the pale, when really should it be?

The Paltry Family “Dee Dee Award” might be given for finding a discounted ready cooked $1.50 Walmart’s pizza when we barely had any money to feed ourselves. It might be finding somewhere safe to camp up for the night, or for services to the overarching mission of ‘low profile’, which I always suspected was just another way not to defend me or care for me and allow others to treat me like shit.

So here I am, wondering if the world is doing its best to kill all of us who are not the rich, the elite, the compliant. Whether the rebel, the outcast and the exiled might have a place in this post covid, inflation-ridden depressive world, or if we are all expected to simply disappear. Are those who have the power trying to protect us from the smallpox that Gates warned us might be used against a populus as a bioweapon, or are they wielding it against us in their efforts to reduce the world’s population in order to make scare resources go further. Are we all just ‘eaters’ and ‘consumers’ to them? Do we mean anything?

Every human life is precious…after all….we are all just trying to do are best…at least for the most part.

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