The Other End of Sunset

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What I have got to do...

Another day, another posting. Nothing about cities this time, just stuff. Once again, I don’t know what to talk about, but I'd rather talk, more, and try to find something funny, and interesting, and not about death.

That discovery requires search. We must, together, search for humor and enlightenment. If you will, we must wander through the verbal wilderness for a time. How long? I don’t know. But I am confident that we shall see a vision or two, and perhaps have our Faith tested, or perhaps see a seagull that will tell us that land is near.

My, that’s quite a mixed metaphor, eh? From desert to sea, both adrift and lost, both flotsam and jetsam, but one is somewhat more moist than the other.

Moist – now THERE’S a gross feeling word. Try saying it. Moist. Go ahead, really. Doesn’t it feel weird inside your head? It’s just not a nice word.

Why are some words nice, and others so not?

Let’s try a few out – slinky. There’s a nice word, don’t you think? A word that is fun for a girl and a boy.

Argumentative. An ok sounding word.

Oncology. A remarkably nice sounding word, with good mouth feel, for a really yucky field.

I got the opportunity to spend some time on South Mountain this week. I sat under an old Saguaro cactus, looking out at Phoenix over the Valley. I watched a lizard of some sort scurry about, and I chatted with the birds that live in the Saguaro that was providing my shade. I don’t know if that means it is dead, but I choose to believe that the birds live in happy coexistence with the ancient cactus, with the old life form sheltering the new life forms.

I don’t really like birds. They make a lot of noise. But others like them. And it is hard not to feel happy when you are sitting in the shade, seeing a bird stick its little head out of a cactus and chatter at you.

I wonder what the birdie was saying? I don’t even know if it was a boy birdie or a girl birdie. Regardless, it was chattering at me. It really wanted my attention for a few seconds. So I sat there and chattered back at it.

It’s possible it was telling me that she’d like the view. Or telling me that the cactus is alive, and well, and looking forward to shielding her from the sun.

Or perhaps it was just telling me to shut up so the birdies could go back to sleep.

God only knows.

And he rarely talks about it. At least not to me.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop. It’s a cute little family owned one near my pal’s house. It has wireless networking, which is mostly de rigueur these days. The walls are textured, and are painted a rich deep orange color. The music is some sort of weird electronic world music. Not annoying, but not exactly Pink Floyd either.

The coffee is good, but good lord hot coffee isn’t exactly what I need right now – it’s like 105 outside and I have more than enough caffeine in my body, thank you very much.

I'm wearing a purple short-sleeved cotton shirt I bought the other day. It is VERY soft, like the touch of a familiar lover or the smell of a clove cigarette far in the distance. I don’t match the walls. But I really like the way the shirt feels, so I am managing my anxiety about clashing with the ambient color of the shop…

There is a table of 3 people studying for some kind of medical test just across the coffee shop from me. They are currently talking about Viagra. I feel like I'm stuck in some sort of open-loop spam-a-thon.

I had to fix my Saxon. Again. This time was a first for me. I’ve never had this problem before. Ready? I went to start it yesterday morning, and smoke poured out from under the seat. Generally a bad sign. So I hurriedly pulled the seat off, to reveal the battery and the source of the smoke. The battery leads had melted, and the molten metal had poured onto the wiring and was making it smoke.

Yes, you read that right – the battery melted. I don’t think it’s the heat here, but I don’t really know. I think it was because the leads had come partially unscrewed on both sides and were arcing between the wires and the battery posts. At any rate, most unusual.

So we went to a motorcycle shop today, bought a new battery, and I replaced the battery. And cleaned a bunch of previously-molten-now-solidified goop out of the battery compartment. Bike now starts. And doesn’t smoke. Well, doesn’t smoke THERE, who knows what happens next. It’s possible this wasn’t the smartest purchase ever. Anyway.

I think I'll try to go on a ride tomorrow – maybe up to a lake in the hills east of here that is supposed to be lovely. Because, really, what makes more sense in 100+ degree heat than sitting on a motorcycle, in dark colored riding gear, in the sun? Yeah, I'm a smart one, I am.

One of my friends asked me what I have been doing on my vacation so far. Well, I’ve been dancing a couple of times. I’ve drunk a fair amount of champagne. And I have been watching a lot of movies this week – just got done watching Se7en, with Brad Pitt. Watched Bordello of Blood last night, with Dennis Miller. All in all, been a regular Hollyweird Holiday. Think tonight is for Saw, and perhaps the original Halloween.

Because horror movies really (really) make you feel alive. Every fiber of one’s being vibrates. Every noise is a threat, even the illusory noises. Well, now that I think of it, the illusory ones are especially threatening. The trick is knowing that they are illusory.

Remember, the water isn’t really blue, either. It’s an illusion. Like the lights that you see when you close your eyes, or compassionate conservatism.

Oops, that just slipped out. Sorry.

I find myself liking the new Dixie Chicks album. I bought it as a protest action – Not Ready to Make Nice is a great modern protest song – but I find that there are a couple of other songs that I like. Again, mostly those that are about rebelling against common ethos and southern life, but nonetheless, I like them.

I'm relatively disappointed in myself for that, but c’est la vie, I guess.

No head butts allowed here though.

This posting is a bit random, I know. But it feels more lifelike, and there is the start of my sense of humor in it again. I'm starting to find me. Thanks for walking through the desert with me. I'll keep an eye out for visions, you look for the gulls, and we will find our way together. What do you say?

She thinks she's the passionate one...

Another day, another posting. Still nothing to say…

I'm watching Lords of Dogtown. I love this movie. It reminds me of some of my favorite times in LA. I lived in Venice, the neighborhood that was called Dogtown. However, the Venice I lived in was much cleaner than Dogtown in the movie, but far more interesting than the Venice of today.

Why is that cities have to clean themselves up and lose all their character? San Jose did it, moved out all the bad elements – which were pretty gross, I must say – and the result? A dull, middle-of-the-road uninteresting city that could be Anywhereville, USA.

Was NY more fun when Times Square was seedy? Or was it just dirtier?

I think San Francisco is too far gone to clean itself up. The tenderloin is still, well, gross. The strip cubs are horrible, and sleazy, by and large. You still get stopped on Market Street and offered drugs by random folks. The city tries to clean itself sometimes, in a fairly desultory way. But fundamentally, like an aging porn star/dancer, there comes a point where you have to be that which you are, sag and all. Thank god for SF and sag.

Phoenix is busily cleaning itself up too. I think it’s probably for the best, but me? I still morn the dark side.

This movie makes me sad. It makes me miss LA, a lot. It makes me remember a time when I had fewer responsibilities and fewer demands, and more freedom. Although, as the poet said, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

So perhaps I am more free now than I was then, given that I have lost most of that which actually matters.

Additionally, I was never really as free, or as seemingly easy, as the kids in Dogtown. I was always the one who showed up on time – well, actually 5 minutes early – and had my homework done in the right color of ink. Dull, dull, dull.

But not in my head. I was something else in my head.

When I first moved to the Bay Area, I lived in the city itself. I lived in a newly moniker-ed neighborhood called Hayes Valley. I used to walk around the city alone at night, wandering through the Tenderloin, through SOMA, and through the Mission. I liked being alone, and feeling alone, and yet being surprised by all the night crawlers. I never had any trouble, although partly that must be because God looks out for fools and drunks.

There is so much to say about what you learn alone, at night, watching the city. You can hear things you never hear. If you pay attention, you can meet, and make friends with, homeless people and folks that are so different from you that you’d never see them in the “real world”. You can discover, actually, what remains of the day. It’s odd.

I once gave some money to a pair of homeless kids – a boy and a girl – to get them off the streets for a night. The girl thought I was trying to swap sex for her room. She seriously thought that I wanted her to do something in exchange for the $. Dude, I just wanted them to sleep off the street. They were so young, and so cute, and they were sitting on the street. Market Street, to be exact, around 9th or so, but I can’t remember precisely. They were cuddled together, on the corner, in the lee of a building, hugging. But really, they were very young. It was stupid, really, I know I couldn’t fix their situation. But for a night I wanted them to be safe, and warm.

I think little girls should always be safe and warm.

Ok, that’s enough for this chat. I'm going to go walk around, smell the desert, and wonder if the dark side is anywhere nearby.