A long talk without talking

As I finished writing yesterday’s entry, a cockroach tickled me, crawling up my leg. I smashed it to smithereens on my kneecap, and injured myself in the process. After that I didn’t feel much like writing, so I didn’t write much. Just read, walked, and ate. Mostly ate.

Breakfast was a cheese omelet at Bon Ami, at Jones & O’Farrell. Everything was fine, and the potatoes were something special, fried in onions and cinnamon. The total was five bucks, including tip. Not bad. Better than the O'Farrell Cafe, so I might be switching loyalties.

Checked my mail, and stuffed it all into my backpack. Then I danced all the way home, asking strangers in the rain, “Have you seen Bradford Dillman?” “Do you know where Bradford Dillman is?”

I’ve been worrying about the guy. He used to be so ubiquitous in the movies and on TV, and I liked his slightly pompous persona, but I haven’t seen him in years. Here he is, under “noted personalities” on page 359 of my World Almanac. Says here, Mr Dillman is still alive. Nobody on the street had a clue, though — they all looked at me like I was nuts!

Lunch was two cheese sandwiches, and so were both dinners. Been doing cheese sandwiches at home for weeks now, almost exclusively. Part of my bachelor methodology is, if something tastes good, I’ll eat it again and again until the mere thought of it makes me want to vomit. Me and the cheese sandwiches haven’t reached that point yet.

I’m the same way with music. If a pop single gets my ear’s attention, I’ll play it until the grooves wear out of the vinyl. Or I did, when there was vinyl.

♦ ♦ ♦

In the mail was a long letter from Tim Ereneta, whose signature is sloppy so I might be misspelling his name. Sorry about that, Tim. Spent a lot of time reading and answering his letter, and I like that he's responding to various daily entries. It's like having Rex Reed review my life, like each day's a shitty movie that gets its own shitty review.

Anyway, with my remarks inserted after Tim's, it looks almost like a conversation. Not an interesting conversation, perhaps, for you, but it was interesting for me, so here it comes:

November 8. Election Day. I spent it as a precinct officer in my local polling station. That is, I crossed off addresses on a printout from 7 in the morning to 8 at night at a neighborhood fire station. Yes, and I volunteered to do it — well sort of. You get $53, less than minimum wage, but I knew the job would be a no-brainer. 

Coolest thing about it: I got to find out who my neighbors are, match names with faces, with the nice houses and cruddy apartments, and I got to see everyone’s political affiliation. My particular precinct in Oakland is roughly 5:1:1 Democrats to Republicans to Green / Peace & Freedom / Independent. My neighborhood voted 80% against Proposition 187, which so skewed my idea of how things were going (“Look at how many Democrats are voting!”) that the actual election results not only depressed me for a month, but made me feel that working the polls, rather than being a job of civil pride, made me an accomplice to crimes against humanity.

So anyway, I understand your sentiment of trying to avoid thinking about this country. But — I disagree with you. There are reasons to spend ten minutes at the polls. Prop 186 [single-payer health care; failed —DH] was one — Damn, I was looking forward to being insured. Prop 187 [deny health care and education to illegal immigrants; passed] is another. Although I suppose it’s inevitable California will become a police state. 

And yes, there was not a dime’s worth of difference between [Republican Pete] Wilson and [Democrat Kathleen] Brown, so I didn’t vote for ‘em. But some of the third party candidates are worth ten minutes of my time, and this year they got equal statements in the election pamphlet. Yes, I know that they have no money, no TV commercials, and zero chance of ever getting elected, but I vote for them anyway. I’d like our participatory democracy to work some day. Fat chance. But I keep up my end by participating. I’m not trying to convince you to vote, Doug… well, actually, yes I am.

But I’m me, you’re you. I’m not going to change your mind. I just wanted you to hear my perspective on it.

Fair enough, and I’m not trying to convince you not to vote. I’m a personal decision. Let me ask just one question about what you wrote, though: Why is it any of your business, let alone the state of California’s, what your neighbors’ political affiliations are? Where I’m from, Washington, voters just register as voters, not as Republicans or Democrats. Seems weird.

I’ll agree and expound on one thing you said: You’re an accomplice to crimes against humanity. Nothing personal, though. Consider that ghastly Prop 187, which says liberty and justice isn’t for all, but only for people born in the USA — even though you voted against it, the act of voting at all seems to imply that such insanity is open to rational discussion. “Do all humans deserve human rights?” is a question I wouldn’t dignify with an answer, so I didn’t vote. 

November 15. My friend Anna works for Planned Parenthood, and she brought out a female condom to show us. The best thing about them: The brand name is ‘Reality’. The instructions are hilarious: “If Reality is uncomfortable, try using more lubrication.”

November 29 & December 4. You know how much a cheese omelet would cost if you made it yourself, at home? Not anywhere near six dollars, I can tell you. I can’t get more specific because I stopped buying eggs years ago. Although, Mr Cheese Omelet, while your hemorrhoids might have cleared up (Have they? You haven’t written about them lately) I fear for your cholesterol levels! Do you ever eat any vegetables?

“If Reality is uncomfortable, try using more lubrication.” Words to live by.

I make half-assed omelets at home sometimes, which involves emptying a can of mixed veggies into a plastic bowl of eggs and cheese and microwaving it all. It’s OK, but the microwave is all I have for cooking, and even that’s against the building rules. Can’t do the hash browns at all, and everything’s better at a good diner.

The ‘roids hardly ever bleed these days. Still itch now and then, but that can be cured with genuine Merrill’s brand suppositories.

December 15. What, do you tell the UC Theater that you’re coming, so they intentionally bring in a bad projectionist? I’ve never had a problem there, but then, I usually go to weekday matinees. 

Maybe I’m just a picky bastard, Tim. The UC projection isn’t any worse than you’d find at a mall multiplex, where each projectionist tends eight screens and each screen is almost focused, almost framed, and the movie is Police Academy 12 so who cares anyway? That's why I don't go to the mall multiplexes, though.

When I'm at the movies, I want the focus sharp enough to count the sweat glands on Bogart’s nose, and I can never do that at the UC. I can count ‘em at the Roxie, Castro, Red Vic, Stanford, PFA, and any of the other rep or art houses I often attend. 

December 26. You are a mean sonovabitch. I hate Barney, too, but still, you’re a mean sonovabitch.

Yup, I am. I could’ve just walked into the adjoining car and found an empty seat, in quiet Barney-free bliss. In my defense, two things: First, that kid sang her song a hundred times, non-stop and no exaggeration, so give her mother some of the blame, for allowing it and endangering everyone’s sanity. And second, I just don’t give a damn — I’m a mean sonovabitch.

Tim’s letter was twice as long as the above, and he also had plenty of kind things to say, but I hate reading letters in other people’s zines that say, “Your zine is great, blah blah blah,” so such sentiments get snipped away. Enjoyed all of it, though, Tim. Thanks for writing half my diary today.

From Pathetic Life #8
Saturday, January 21, 1995

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: My perspective on voting has evolved since 1995. I still believe one vote makes no difference, but now I view it as entertainment, so I'm a registered and reliable voter.

Also, minor movie star Bradford Dillman exited stage left, but not until 2018.

Pathetic Life 

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