A walk in the Mission

WEDNESDAY — Gave a few hours of my life to Black Sheets, and came home with about seven hours of consciousness left in me. That's a luxurious amount of time and awakeitude for typing.

It was a hottish day, so I pulled up the blinds, opened the window, then wrote the second half of yesterday's entry, and started laying out the zine's May issue.

After several hours at the typewriter and sometimes pacing the floor, it occurred to me that with the window wide open and no curtains, perhaps I ought to wear more than socks.

♦ ♦ ♦

THURSDAY — Today was a day off from everything but me, and sadly there's no escape from that. Worked more on the May issue, then decided on a lackadaisical stroll through the north Mission slums, because nothing brightens the spirits like stepping past broken glass and human feces on the sidewalks.

Live in the city long enough and you'll get used to the dirtiness, the hint of danger. There's a promise of crime and cruelty in every evil shadow, and it keeps the adrenaline pumping. Don't tell anyone, but pssst — the promise of danger is usually false, like most promises.

Earthshaking is an unwelcome adjective in Frisco, but that was the volume from a passing Barracuda, tricked up all shiny and coasting an inch off the asphalt. "Hey, fatso!" a teenager screamed with a Hispanic accent out the back window, which wasn't there — just air, no glass. I happened to be wearing a hat (Oakland A's) so I tipped it toward their passing car, and think I heard someone laugh.

Across the street, six black boys in gangster colors leaned on a bankrupt storefront, talking too loud, too profane, their mothers being fucked twice per angry sentence. Some say it's racist to be afraid of them, but by their dress and demeanor it seems obvious that they want people to be afraid. It would be rude not to be afraid, but I whistled and kept walking.

At the corner, three pretty high school babes were giggling together like girls do, each with a babe of her own in her arms. Condoms are too much trouble, too messy and unromantic, while babies are no trouble at all, and what could be more romantic than wringing out a diaper?

Or maybe I'm mistaken, and they were young, but not that young. Maybe they were babysitting, or big sisters, not moms. Maybe, but I never argue with my snap judgments.

Always rubbers for me. Sex is unlikely for a fat, late-30s hermit who doesn't even talk to women, but no babies, please. Seeing those women with their output inspired me to put a condom back into my wallet. When I was younger and fancied myself in circulation, one was always tucked in behind the dollar bills, but I lost it (never used it) years ago.

I stepped into a bigger bodega and bought a box of a dozen, then paused on my way out to glance at the afternoon's headlines. Nothing much in the 'news' part of the news, so I thumbed back to the movie section, and as I followed an article from one page to another, a voice from behind the counter said something in Farsi that translated itself as, "Buy the paper, or leave." I left.

Trash and old news blew down the street, and I followed, becoming part of the trash myself. Or am I the old news?

After a while my ankle started hurting, so the walk brought me back to my apartment, up the vomity stairs, past Pike and Terry both screaming that the other won't do the dishes, and into my room, where I closed the door too loudly and clicked the typewriter on.

"You never do the dishes," Terry bellowed at Pike. "You've never washed a damned dish in your fucking life!" On and on they argued beyond the wall as I typed all the above, and as usual she won on volume but he won on vocabulary and insults.

Now I'll click the typewriter off and go into the kitchen, and wash the dishes myself.

From Pathetic Life #13
Wednesday & Thursday, June 7 & 8, 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.

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