A few blocks of
walking poetry and jazz

Waiting for Sarah-Katherine at the same airport, the same gate where I waited for Maggie thirteen months ago, a few comparisons flashed through my mind. Sarah-Katherine is twice as nutty but three times as sane as Margaret, immeasurably more fun to be around, and I'm certain that even if our weekend goes disastrously. Sarah-Katherine won't beat me and bruise me.

And then Sarah-Katherine's plane landed, people came out the walkway, there she was, she kissed me hello, and — why had I even been thinking about an old flame? The new flame is afire.

At the bus stop, we were talking about death, mortuaries, and Sarah-Katherine's dream career as an embalmer, until some guy overheard and stepped into our conversation. "Sounds morbid," he said.

"Exactly" and "Yes indeed," we said together, and the three of us chatted for a few minutes, but he turned out to be an utterly normal sort. Sarah-Katherine had brought copies of her zine to leave on the plane, sell to bookstores, give to strangers, etc, so she offered him a copy, but as soon as he saw the cover (Pasty: The hatred issue) he shook his head no.

"Life is too short to spend it hating things," he said, and prattled off a list of things he claimed made life worth living.

Well, that's normal, and stupid, and life's too shitty to go a day without hating something, someone, or everything, everyone. We laughed about that guy later, or hell, maybe we laughed about him soon as he said it. It was the start of a long, busy day, and it's hard to remember. All I remember about that guy is that he wasn't memorable, and that he said no to taking Sarah-Katherine's marvelous zine — what an idiot, but what the hell. Ordinary people like ordinary things, and neither Pasty nor its author are ordinary.

I don't love Sarah-Katherine — I'm stingy with that word — but I love that she's not ordinary. She's beautiful, book-smart and street-smart, funny, she likes me, she's here, and you know what? Life is worth living.

♦ ♦ ♦

After dropping her luggage at my place, we went to San Francisco's Chinatown, where Sarah-Katherine left a copy of her zine in a Bible book store. We explored an old church, and then did the FAO Schwartz thing, where she subversively left a copy of her zine in the Barbie section. And all day we talked about whatever was on either of our minds, the words coming easy and occasionally punctuated with a kiss.

Marvelous for me, and I hope it wasn't awful for her. My breath is notoriously bad from years of dental neglect, and I wasn't popping the mints from my pocket as often as the kisses.

♦ ♦ ♦

Sarah-Katherine barely slept yesterday, so she's taking a nap as I type this, resting up to see more of San Francisco's beautiful sights. Sarah-Katherine herself is the most beautiful site in Berkeley, stretched across my bed. She's a sight I'd like to see more often… and might.

She told me she's thinking of leaving Seattle permanently, and moving to New Orleans, or New York, or San Francisco. That last option sounds good to me, of course. There's more to the story — she has a guy in Seattle, a decision to make which probably has nothing to do with me — and until that situation is resolved I won't invite her quite as enthusiastically as I'd like.

Without repeating some of the things she said — hey, she was talking to me, not to you — my impression is that she's happier being her than I am being me. What she does without hesitation, without regrets, I would hesitate to do, and then later regret not doing. Sarah-Katherine does whatever she wants, and I admire that. Seems fair to say that though I'm years older than her, she's lived more than me. Maybe I can catch up if I try.

I do what I want to do too, of course, but on big decisions it's only after months or longer thinking things through. It took me three years to leave Seattle, after knowing I needed to. Sarah-Katherine has decided she's leaving Seattle, and wherever she's going, she expects to be there within a month or three.

♦ ♦ ♦

After her mid-day nap, we BARTed back into the city, and walked Upper Grant, one of my favorite neighborhoods. It's what's left of the beat era, a few blocks of walking poetry and jazz. We had a drink at some espresso bar, gawked at the monument to Carol Doda, the Condor's first topless dancer, and browsed at City Lights, the big indy bookstore and publisher, where I'll admit to some tingles when Sarah-Katherine smiled and pointed to Pathetic Life on the shelf. Then we took a #30 bus to Fisherman's Wharf, not to see the tourist traps, but to laugh at all the trapped tourists.

Came home dang well tuckered out, from more walking than I've done in one day since the last time I showed San Francisco to visitors. Judith had been asleep when we were home for Sarah-Katherine's nap, but by evening she was awake, so I introduced them and they immediately began yak-yak women-talking as only women can yak. I say that affectionately, but also impatiently, since I was hoping to get Sarah-Katherine into bed while I still had some energy in me.

They're both bisexual, and Judith seemed a bit flirty, so maybe she wanted to welcome Sarah-Katherine the same way I do. Whatever. I'm broad-minded. 

When the ladies' conversation tapered off, Sarah-Katherine and I were both too tuckered to do anything but kiss goodnight and then snore. She fell instantly asleep, and I drifted after.

From Pathetic Life #14
Thursday, July 13, 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.


  1. > I don't love Sarah-Katherine — I'm stingy with that word ...

    Your'e no dummy so I hope you know all the years later that you were in love with her. You kept denying what's obvious.


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