Packing and moving

MONDAY -- BARTed under the water to work half a day at Black Sheets in San Francisco, and then I walked to my old apartment to start cleaning and packing. Last I'd heard from Pike, he'd found a 9-5 job, but when I turned the key in the door at 2:30, he was there. Thankfully, Terry wasn't.

"Day off for the holiday?" I asked Pike.

"Every day is a day off," he explained, snorting the rent off the kitchen table. "I failed the urinalysis." Thus preoccupied and with no occupation, he never asked where I'd been since last Thursday, and showed no curiosity as I took out several bags of trash, started unplugging my appliances, boxing up my blankets, etc.

Defrosting my mini-fridge, I unplugged it, ate what was inside, and put my space heater against it to de-ice the freezer. Through each step of this, roaches scattered in slow waves from the fridge. Guess it's warm by the coils in the back. I hammered 27 of them, as they scurried down the legs of the table, up the walls, across the carpet, everywhere. It was great fun for me, less fun for them.

It might be my last roach-killing festival. Weirdly, despite the staggering mess inside Judith's place, it's roach-free. To keep it that way I drenched my fridge with Black Flag.

Then Terry came home, and the rest of the afternoon was a night at the fights. She screamed at Pike about the dirty dishes, the phone bill, and the low-quality coke, and he screamed at her about the screaming, the moldy toilet, and the tampons she'd inexplicably left in the microwave.

Screaming is their foreplay, I guess, because then they had sex, loudly screaming at each other during and after, until mercifully there came a quiet spell.

As I continued packing up boxes in my room, occasionally taking out sacks of trash, neither of them noticed that I'm obviously moving out. Eventually I closed the door, and faded to sleep amongst the boxes in my room and more bellowing from theirs. 

♦ ♦ ♦

TUESDAY — Spent last night at Pike's place, my last night there, then BARTed back to Berkeley this morning. Judith is still asleep, because she lives on Judith Time. I got here at 11:00 AM, and now it's 5:50 and I'm eating dinner, and that's OK. There's no particular schedule.

Whenever she wakes up, she's going to borrow Cy's truck, drive across the bridge to San Francisco, help me load up my few possessions, and then I'll be Berkeley-based for good.

Everything's pretty much packed already, except my heart. I'm going to leave it in San Francisco.

Not sure where all my stuff goes once we get it to Judith's place, though. There's no empty floor space anywhere, and they don't have a garage or basement. Nothing could conceivably go into my future-bedroom, not yet. It's full of Judith's stuff.

Time keeps on slipping slipping slipping into the future. I wanna get moved in, and Sarah-Katherine will be here soon, and I know we're making progress getting my future-room cleared out, but it's not going to be my room today or tomorrow or the day after, and I can't even imagine it'll be my room in a week.

When I was 9 years old and sharing a room with my older brother Clay, I knew that a room of my own would be so much cooler, and it was, and it still would be. A room of my own is all I've ever needed to cope with the 20th century, and I haven't had a room of my own since coming to Berkeley. 

The guest room is OK, but I don't want to be a guest. The door catches on the rug, the window sticks, and there's no curtain, so every morning and evening as I dress or undress my fat ass is on display for the world. Judith's books are on the shelves, while my thesaurus and dictionary balance on the edge of a coffee table where the giant dog's wagging tail knocks 'em to the floor. The door has to be open for ventilation, so the cat that poops everywhere comes in whenever she wants to, and poops everywhere.

It's giving me headaches, and I'm usually not susceptible to headaches. It's about control, I think. My life isn't much but I like it, so long as I'm somewhat in control, and I do not feel at all in control of anything at Judith's house. Not until my stuff is in my room and I can close my door will I feel at home.

♦ ♦ ♦

So there we were, Judith and me, at my old apartment off Heroin Alley in the Mission. Pike and Terry were there, but had no interest in meeting Judith, no wondering why we were carrying stuff down the stairs. They remained oblivious until we'd toted several boxes out, and Pike suddenly/finally realized that I was moving.

"Why, man?" he asked.

"It's not you, Pike," I explained. "It's her." I can't live with a perpetually screaming imbecile, I didn't say, but only because she was right there.

Pike is always stoned, but Terry is always stupid, and he had to explain to her that I was moving out.

Pike's reaction seemed to be mostly hurt feelings, and I am sorry, dude. Terry's reaction was anger, and she screamed at Judith and me the way she usually screams at Pike.

"How are we gonna pay the rent?" she yelled.

"You won't have any problem finding a new flatmate," I said. "Nothing's wrong with the room, and I'm leaving it tidy."

After that, Terry was all Fuck you and Fuck you and Fuck you some more, so I didn't have anything else to say, except a final goodbye to Pike.

"Fuck you," he said as we shook hands, and then I was gone.

Now there's a tower of boxes, everything I own, stacked in the guest room at the new place, all the boxes waiting just like me for their journey down the hall to my own room, whenever that happens, which I hope is soon.

♦ ♦ ♦

I've loved living in San Francisco. Always felt I was just getting to know the city, but after 3½ years in three rez hotels and the Mierda apartment, I only know the neighborhoods near the better burrito stands and movie theaters. Never saw any of the city's famous museums, never ate in any of its famous restaurants, and I haven't really even seen Golden Gate Park, except as a patch of green to cut across on my way somewhere else.

Ah, but I've inhaled the city's ever-present scent of urine, seen its streets of tenements and broken windows, seen its brutal police and Republican hills, so I've seen the city enough to know that I've seen the city enough, at least for a while. My mailing address remains San Francisco, but it's only a rented box. I'm in Berkeley.

Adios, San Francisco. I used to live there.

From Pathetic Life #14
Monday & Tuesday, July 3-4, 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 know she was hell on two legs and I wouldn't wish living with her on anyone I don't actively hate, but Terry is absolutely hilarious in her self-centered obliviousness. How are "we" going to pay the rent? Oblivious to the fact that she hasn't paid any part of her way. Oblivious to how annoying it is to be around her. Oblivious to anyone's feelings but her own. All these decades later, I'm sure any, ahem, appeal she once had is completely null and void. Now even the Pikes of the world have figured that out, I should hope. And if she's dead, I doubt anyone misses her. What a miserable life.

    1. She'd be in her 50s now, but most likely dead. I hated her, so maybe she wasn't as dumb as portrayed by me, but she *was* damned dumb, and always on something.

      As for her appeal, I saw her naked more than a few times, saw and heard her fucking, because it was a small place and they lived in the living room, but I'm pretty sure I never once masturbated thinking of her, which tells you everything.


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