Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hometown Errands

The impeccable purgatory that is the Silicon Valley. In this current incarnation: hairy eyeballs, mermaid repellant, cyberpunk insects, free bourgeois s'mores, my first taste of mulled wine. Monologuing through miles of walking through San Francisco twilight along the shore of a twinkling underpass. The usual running-into-people-I-haven't-seen-in-five-or-six-years-en-route-to-the-dentist.

Forgive me, I may be riddled with nostalgia. This region has that effect on me. In particular, I can never hang around the South Bay too long for fear of getting cavities in my sentiment.

Or something: words.

Insomnia, again. Currently on my buddy's couch in Oakland with work tomorrow morning as, thankfully, I've scored a few zero-notice gigs practicing massage, modeling, editing, and so on.

The last time I visited this apartment I left it with a jar of coffee beans I'd roasted* myself after he'd taught me how, a volume of Hunter S. Thompson's letters [which I've just recently begun reading], a decorative stuffed dog for my sister, and a Colombian machete [which has chaperoned me during some of my more questionable excursions]. I've come away from other visits here with green tasseled-and-sequined nipple pasties I was gifted at a vendor booth when I went to see my first burlesque show, Hello Kitty temporary tattoos, and handfuls out of my Dominican cigar collection [a gift sent from Alaska by a one-day acquaintance], which he's been keeping safe for me for almost a year now. I'm down to my last eight-to-ten of them.

People are really good to me, a lot of the time, and I can't help but think there's not much reason for it. Not that I'm particularly undeserving, but I'm not particularly deserving, either.

It's gotten me thinking about the value of maintaining friendships. When you live in a particular town, when you've got a job or are otherwise part of some regular assembly of people, friends are a no-brainer. But running around plan-free, often leaving town as soon as anyone knows I've shown up, with diverse and inconsistent gets wonky, trying to figure out how other people fit in, or how they should fit in.

This year I've been so project-oriented, and alternately solitary and lovebird-ified. For months I basically forgot I had friends to begin with, and it was making me start to feel like a hermit/sociopath/ghost/asshole/etc.

So, I've been doling myself out for the standard social engagements, like introducing Alex to my high school paramour and his current ladymajigg over donuts at 3:00 a.m., running up and down the concrete slabs of a muddy reservoir with people I've known since middle school but only recently recognized as kindred spirits, that kind of thing.

Oh, and showing old friends and short-term strangers around an underground suburban gem I discovered with a couple of my homies-of-the-era when we were twelve.

In high school, whenever I was interested in a boy but didn't know him too well, I'd try to bring him exploring through these tunnels with me, as a test. If they were weenies about walking a quarter mile in the dark through a couple inches of water, I moved on. By definition, all high school girls have to be fickle and, in some small and often superficial way, unyielding. No?

A. Actual appearance of the end of the tunnel...
B. ...and the same photo, with flash
Anyway. Over the years [at least since I figured out the truth about Santa Claus**], I've gotten to know December as that pesky month that besieges me from one side with drifting malaise and from the other with an irrational survival anxiety. Fortunately, I'm often [though not always] more articulate when I have to fight for my peace of mind--and often more compelled to make sense of things by writing, for "just as some people turn to religion to find meaning, the writer turns to his craft and tries to impose meaning, or to lift the meaning out of chaos and put it in order", or so wrote the preeminent Hunter S.

Why did I just write this? Thought Catalog just published this rambley doodad of mine, but why did I write that? Why do I write anything? Maybe if I write for long enough, I'll figure it out.

*when I originally posted this I'd written "ground", because my brain doesn't work anymore.
**that he's a Communist! Or have your parents not told you yet?

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