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That's a wrap

Wednesday —

Relaxing in bed with a good book, I had to go baffwoom. Here's how that works, at a residential hotel: You can pee in the sink if you're a man, and I usually do and usually am, but for doody duty the toilets are down the hall, shared by everyone on your floor.

Both stalls were occupied, so I went up to the next floor, the book in one hand and a roll of TP in the other.

As I was grunting and groaning, music was in the air — fabulous piano boogie, jumping into my ears. There's never been musical accompaniment before, so when I'd finished and flushed I followed the sound of music toward an open window at the other end of the hall.

I couldn't see where the sound was coming from, so I stuck my head out the window, stretched my neck off my shoulders like Elastic Lad, and in a tiny window in the next building down the street, I saw the back of a piano, moving just barely with every downbeat. Couldn't see the pianist's face or fingers, so man or woman, black or white, I'll never know.

The soundtrack at a slum hotel is usually people screaming at each other, or the neighbor's too-loud TV, so this beebopping music was a treat. I didn't watch for long because it hurt my neck, but I stood at the window and listened for a while, tapping my toes, reading my book, and wondering how anyone gets a piano into a residential hotel room.

Among the drunks and winos and unemployed and me in this hotel, culture doesn't happen often, and I didn't want it to end. Was anyone else enjoying this, I wondered? An old, almost bald black man in a tee-shirt and boxer shorts stepped out of his room, carrying TP. He walked past me without eye contact, and into the john.

The music continued, and after a rousing version of the theme from Perry Mason, I applauded alone out the window. Then the old black guy walked past wordlessly in the other direction, and into his room.

I stayed at the window, reading and occasionally clapping, until the piano player stopped. Waited for more music, but the show was apparently over. I poked my head out the window again and shouted, "You play good piano, whoever you are."

Silence was the only response.

Then a guy with too many tattoos and an unlit cigar in his lips walked by without a word and without looking at me. No eye contact and minimal talking is the unwritten rule, here at the hotel.

Thursday —

After a boring day at work, I came home and started proofing and editing the month of June. I'll type a few more paragraphs, hit the 'print' button, and then the typewriter will type by itself, taking about two minutes per page. While it clacks, I'll make some sandwich spread sandwiches on white bread and watch In Living Color.

And that's a wrap. Pathetic Life #1 has come to its pathetic conclusion. Was it good for you?

I thought about mailing a copy to Margaret, but now that she and I seem to be finished, that would be mean, wouldn't it? I'm not mean to people that I like.

So there's no-one on the mailing list except a few zinesters, and of course, Factsheet 5, the zine that reviews zines. If they give Pathetic Life a good review, someone somewhere might send for a copy. Tomorrow morning I'll sneak into work early, and run off twenty copies.

Whether Pathetic Life is a hit or a flop, I've already decided that there will be second issue. Expect more monotony just like the first issue, because c'est la vie (such is life). Writing about it sort of deadens the dullness, and gives me something to do besides endless old movies and masturbation. Maybe the zine is another, less sticky way to masturbate.

If you want to see my #2, send $3 or the usual to the address below, and get your head examined.

From Pathetic Life #1
Wednesday, June 29 - Thursday, June 30, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

 

Addendum, 2021: As filler for half a page at the back of the zine, I listed twenty upcoming movies off the calendars from the local repertory cinemas, from A Woman Under the Influence at the Red Victorian on 7/10/1994, to Drunken Master and Drunken Master II at the UC Theater on 9/8/1994. Yeah, I was into old movies (still am).

And under my list of movies, here's a paragraph I'd forgotten entirely:

I'll probably go to most of these movies, and you're invited too, so long as you don't eat all my popcorn, and don't talk after the lights go down. If you'd rather dine in splendor, meet me at the Sincere Cafe, on 16th Street near Valencia. Call for reservations, or just show up and look for the fat ugly white guy picking his nose.

The address was a drop box I'd rented to handle zine-related mail, and after the address, my telephone number. Wow. I hadn't remembered being that open, or that desperate. In 1994, I was not only photocopying my diary and mailing it to strangers, I was inviting people I didn't know to meet me for a meal or a movie — or call me, any time.

If you're wondering, that offer has expired.

 

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