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No kissing, please.

There were already some Christmas decorations in the office, but to my surprise, Darla hung mistletoe over the department’s main door this morning. 

I hate Christmas, but like the Christmas spirit. Mistletoe in the workplace, though, seems like a bad idea. I’m mildly opposed to kissing co-workers, at least on company time.

Sure, kissing Kallie or Carlotta or the Mexican babe who works on the other side of our floor is something I’d love to do, but I don’t want a slightly-racy-at-the-workplace peck on the cheek. I want long-lasting suckage with tongues. 

And as for the rest of the people I work with — Jennifer, Peter, Darla, Babs — that’s all they are to me: people I work with. Please, let’s leave our lips out of it, even in December.

♦ ♦ ♦

Got a nice message on my machine from Seth Friedman of Factsheet Five, telling me he enjoys the zine, and that a good review is forthcoming in his next issue. He wanted to make sure I have enough back issues on hand to meet the demand, before writing a hot plug.

I was sort of speechless, both at the kind words and because that’s my natural state. “Yeah, long as there’s a free copier at work, my zine won’t be sold out,” I said when I called him back.

It’s flattering to hear that someone gets something out of this pathetic zine, especially someone like Seth, who must see twenty incoming zines in his box every day. I therefore and hereby recant all the times I’ve taken Seth's name in vain, after sending for something Factsheet Five made sound interesting, which I subsequently thought blew chunks.

Hey, now I get to be the zine people send for that blows chunks.

♦ ♦ ♦

I spent the evening with Kallie, but we're still just friends, so cool your jets, dear reader. Our eventual objective was watching the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge Tour tape at her place, but first we N’d out to the Haight for a cup of java and to meet her friend, J B.

She’s mentioned him several times, but I was surprised that he isn’t in our age bracket (mid-30s). He looks about twice that, and I told him he’s the first person I think I’ve ever met who goes by initials instead of a name. He said he tells no-one his legal name, and I respect that and said so.

Then the three of us took a crosstown bus to 27th & Church, which wasn’t where we were going, but Kallie and J B were headed for a restaurant they thought was worth the trip, and they got lost. From where we got off the bus, it was a long overlapping walk (three blocks this way, oops, six blocks the other way) before they found the Palace Family Steak House at 30th & Army Street.

It was fine, but for me, not worth the walk. I had a fish sandwich and fries, perfectly tasty and edible, but for six bucks it was nothing you couldn’t find in any of a dozen restaurants we’d walked past to get to that one. Kallie and J B’s meals smelled better than mine tasted, though, so don't judge the place by my fish sammich.

For an hour or so, the three of us had light conversation of exactly the kind I can’t do very well and don’t enjoy. It wasn’t J B’s fault, and he’s an easy, likable sort; I simply have no knack with strangers. I’m utterly introverted, til I know you and you know me. Gotta know somebody before I can really talk with them, but how do you get to know somebody without talking to them? Curse of the shy.

I apologized to J B for having almost nothing to say, and like I told Kallie beforehand, I am not socially skilled. Heck, she and I worked in the same office, fifteen feet apart for six months, before I said anything to her that wasn’t “good morning” or “good night.”

J B is a professional musician, so he had to leave after dinner to get to his gig for the night, and — sigh — I like the guy fine, but him leaving was a relief. After that, Kallie and I BARTed to her house, and our two-way conversation was easier, funnier, more personal, less generic, and just a pleasure, not a challenge.

When we got to her place, her flatmate, Janey or Jilly or something like that, said hello, but thankfully didn’t want to hang out with us. Interactions with yet another stranger — no, thanks.

Then Kallie popped the tape into the VCR, ostensibly the reason for the whole evening. It’s the Rolling Stones, on the same tour we saw a month ago in Oakland, only this performance was somewhere in New Jersey a week or two earlier.

I like the Stones but don’t worship them like Kallie does. It was good listening, just not much to look at. Here’s an excellent band on what’s perhaps their final tour, and it’s been turned into a slick, professional video, edited in the same nauseating quick-cut style as every concert video shot in the past ten years. You get two seconds of Jagger jumping around, three seconds of the drummer banging, one second of crowd reaction, a few seconds filmed from way in the back of the crowd, half a second of a man scratching his nuts, another one second of crowd reaction, and then an odd-angle shot of some woman holding a baby or a longhair dancing by himself or something equally irrelevant to the music, and the cuts continue. I expected the credits to say, Edited by an egg beater.

It was like watching MTV, and like MTV it made me seasick. Song after song for the entire concert, there was never a shot filmed by one stable camera that lasted as long as five seconds. Wearing my film critic’s jock strap, may I briefly (continue to) rant about how weary I am of all this? I’d like to linger on one image for long enough to actually see it — ten seconds would be nice, and ten minutes would be better. It’s a Rolling Stones concert. Point a camera at the stage and press "record'. That’s what I want to see. 

Several of the songs the band performed in Oakland were omitted, either edited out or maybe not played that night in New Jersey. The crowd didn’t seem as into it as our Coliseum crowd had been, Jagger somehow managed to muff the words to “Satisfaction” (which you’d think he'd have memorized by now), and most surprisingly, the seven-story inflatable Elvis we’d had in Oakland was nowhere to be seen.

A more urgent problem was that I had gas attacks all evening, and especially during the video. I held ‘em in when possible, and when I couldn’t inhale it back up my ass I tried hiding my farts behind Charlie Watts on drums. Eventually, though, I punctuated “Brown Sugar” with a few long, loud ripplers and pungent after-effects. Kallie said nothing about it, kept bopping her head, softly singing along, thankfully all ears and no nose.

It was a nice evening, and I think Kallie and I are coming together slowly. We’re friends. I haven’t had many of those, and none since moving to San Francisco.

Haven’t yet gotten the hang of this platonic thing, though. During the video, we sat on the couch about two feet apart, and when she reached toward me I know what I wanted, but she was just adjusting the lights — the switch was directly above my shoulder.

 From Pathetic Life #7
Friday, December 9, 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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