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Me in one word

TUESDAY — The lady left a few things behind: a book she'd bought, some tragically unopened lubricant, and me.

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WEDNESDAY — "Screw off, you honky motherfucker!"

So screamed a moldy-looking homeless man, slouched against a building, aiming his insult at a passing gentleman in a suit. Both the screamer and screamee were white, which bewildered the businessman and also me, so the bum screamed it again, "Screw off, honky motherfucker!" Then he smiled an ugly smile, and laughed and shook a plastic cup for change.

I've been an urban boy all my life, had lots of cups shaken at me, handed over a few nickels dimes and quarters over the years, and I would've thought calling people honky motherfuckers was bad panhandling technique, but the laugh sealed the deal, and it worked. The well-dressed honky gave the honky in rags a few coins, then hurriedly walked on.

This was that guy's line. "Screw off, honky motherfucker!" He said it to anyone passing who was white and seemed prosperous, so he didn't say it to me. He also had nothing to say to anyone who wasn't white.

A few other honky motherfuckers dropped change in his cup, and then I was gone, selling fish farther up the street, so if he later got a bloody nose for telling the wrong honky motherfucker to screw off, I didn't see it.

It's good to have 'normal' back in the world, and this is normal for me — watching the abnormals, but watching alone, from across the street. Humans amuse me, but always from a safe distance, please. Actual interactions with actual humans? That's dicey, and to be avoided.

Reading my diary for three bucks, you might have the impression I'm a wide-open guy, willing and eager to reveal everything about myself, but it's only on paper. Nobody reading this knows my face, and I'll never see you in real life, so I'm free to be me in the zine. Alone in the world, and alone typing the zine.

If some game show offered a $1,000,000 prize for anyone who correctly defined him- or herself in only one word, my word would be 'alone', and the show would be over. Make that million-dollar check payable to Doug Holland. He's that guy over there, alone.

If anyone else is in the room, or in the world, I'll be at least somewhat ill at ease. In social situations, I evaporate. No club memberships for me. No buddies to talk to. No friends in San Francisco, and I'm not sure I still have any friends anywhere else.

For a few days there was a friend here — Sarah-Katherine — and gosh, that was nice. I'd like to have her around again. I like that lady. I'm relaxed with her like I never am with anyone, and we talked about everything while she was here, and she kept up with me when she wasn't racing ahead and then waiting patiently for me to catch up. She's invited me to move to New York with her, and I've said yes, and I think we're going to do it.

But here's something I hadn't seen coming: It's not breaking my heart today, that she's gone.

Sharing all day every day with her, and sharing a room, and a bed, was wonderful, absolutely. I would do it again if ever she's willing, but — temporarily, please. Long-term, as an ordinary way of life? No.

I've always survived by being alone. In my head, I'm alone everywhere, even on the subway, or on Telegraph Ave. It's always a huge relief to step into my room at the end of the day, close the door, and be actually, finally alone with my thoughts. Alone is excellent.

Let me quote the noted expert on love and human relations, Michael Jackson:

I used to say
I am me
Now it's changed
Now it's 'we'

According to Jackson or his lyricist, that's what love is, but that's not where my head and heart is. Not yet, probably not ever, and probably not with Sarah-Katherine. I am still me, not we. At the end of the day, every day, I want to close the door and be alone.

That's why her New York City offer seems so perfect. She doesn't want to be my girlfriend, my wife, or even my lover; she wants to be the girl down the hall in the same flat, friends and fuck buddies. She wants to close her own door at night and be alone, and that's what I want, too.

From Pathetic Life #14
Tuesday & Wednesday, July 18-19, 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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