That's what freedom is.

Man, this is the life. Saturday alone. I do not understand people who’d prefer to spend their Saturday with … people.

Sure, there were people in the background today, on Haight Street and at the movie theater. Thousands of 'em, probably, but they weren’t people I needed to talk to, or worse, listen to.

Started the day by lazing in bed all morning, reading zines and eating beans. Refried beans, from a can. Two cans, actually. Went for the mail at noonish, then came home and lazed in bed most of the afternoon, reading more zines and eating a big bowl of generic macaroni & cheese. Then another.

Took a bus to the Haight, walked around the neighborhood, loitered and bought a few zines at Bound Together Books, and saw Easy Rider (1969) at the Red Victorian. It’s one of those movies I’ve always heard about but never seen, supposedly a classic, but I’ll decide for myself, thanks.

It’s the story of two drifters/stoners riding their motorcycles from L.A. to New Orleans, and I’ve decided it’s a classic. It is certainly not the feel good movie of the ‘60s, but there’s rock’n’roll, an ambiance of freedom and stick-it-to-the-man, and a line that seems truer today than it could have been 25 years ago: “It’s hard to be free when you’re bought and sold in the marketplace.” Right on, and don’t bogart that joint.

I was barely there in the '60s (just a kid), so I can’t say whether it’s honest or just earnest about the era, but it’s honest about the drugs. There's a hilariously cosmic conversation under reefer magic, and an LSD sequence that’s realistic, for a medium limited to only visuals and sound.

The protagonists, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, buy and sell and snort cocaine in the opening scene, and it occurs to me that I’ve never seen that in any other movie. Maybe the Hays Code is over, but there are still “movie rules” that are almost never broken, and one of the rules is that if anyone in a movie is involved with hard drugs, it defines that character as the bad guy.

♦ ♦ ♦

On the ride home, three pretty girls got on the bus at Masonic. They were maybe 15 years old and maybe not even that, and a man on the bus who was older than all three of them combined started his spiel … “You girls from out of town?” … “What’s your name?” … “Do you want to go to a party?” … “Could I buy you a drink some time?” … 

Half of me wanted to tell him to shut the hell up, and the math is accurate — I'm only half a man. Before I could muster the courage, someone else yelled at Mr Pick-Up Line, and he mellowed. I’m sure the girls have heard it a thousand times before, in worse versions than that guy’s putrid patter. And they’ll hear it again tomorrow.

Out in public, all I want to do is blend into the crowd and mind my own damned business without being bothered. The ability to do my thing is what keeps me borderline sane. That's what freedom is.

A pretty woman isn’t allowed that freedom, the ability to come and go as she pleases. She can’t simply be in any public place without being pestered by men who want to ‘talk’ but really, of course, want to fuck.

Possibly, possibly, the attention might be flattering once in a while, but for a woman who’s cursed with a clear complexion or breasts (or heaven forbid, both), it never ends. Everywhere she goes, she’s interrupted by another man with a glib line, or louts and losers who leer or whistle, and of course, she always needs to be on the watch for men who’d take what they want.

If I believed in God I would whisper a prayer of thanks that I’m not an attractive woman. If I couldn’t walk the streets or browse in a bookstore without strangers trying to sweet talk me everywhere, I’d become Ms 45.

From Pathetic Life #5
Saturday, October 15, 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.

Pathetic Life 

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  1. It's nice it at least occured to you to defend the girls.


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