A touch of self-sabotage

Fish flash: Jay says I'm working on Telegraph Ave next weekend, as a free speech vendor if free speech is allowed, or as a licensed vendor if Darwin is still forbidden. From the state of free speech in Berkeley, m certain we won't be selling Darwin, and I still think we should go free speech all the way, but Jay is more cautious than me.

I am so tired of Berkeley politics, I can't even smell you, but I am looking forward to being on Telegraph again, selling fish. Also, I need the money.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Had breakfast with Mark H at the Cove in the Castro. Easy conversation, good food, no racist wisecracks because he's not an idiot, and he paid. I had the cheese and spinach omelet, and it was fine, but when we left the restaurant I was still hungry. "If we breakfast again" I said, "let's meet at the the New Mission Café." That's a dirt cheap slum cafeteria, where the price is great and the food is, well, not so good as at the Cove in the Castro, but you can order more of it and it'll still be less expensive.

Not sure if I talked Mark into eating at the New Mission, but I talked me into it. After I'd posted flyers all around the Castro, I took a #33 there, and had a stack of flapjacks and a side of bacon.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

On the BART ride home to Berkeley, I fell asleep and woke up in Richmond, the end of the line. Maybe the pancakes done me in, or it was the exhaustion from all that walking around flyering. 

Since I was there, what the heck, I walked around Richmond and put up more of my flyers. It's an ordinary town, though, full of ordinary people, unlikely to call some stranger to wash their dishes.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

There were two messages on my voice mail when I checked it from home. That's good news, right? So how come I wasn't happy to hear the computerized voice say, "You have... two... messages"?

The first call was from a man in Oakland wants me to help him clean out his rental house. He's evicted the tenants, and says they left a horrid mess of junk and garbage, rotten food and broken furniture all through the house. Sounds like home to me.

He wants me on the weekend, though, and this weekend I'll be selling fish. It's the same $5 an hour, whether I sit in the sunshine surrounded by pretty women on Telegraph Ave, or get all sweaty cleaning crap out of somebody's rental house. It's not a difficult choice.

The second call was from Juan, the sound man I've worked with before. He needs me for a gig on Thursday night, and surprisingly, I recognized the name of the band — not because they're famous or anything, but because a guy I worked with a few years ago plays bass for them, and invited me to come to their concerts. Being anti-social, I never showed up, but now I could finally hear how shitty they are.

The gig is Thursday night, though, and that's when I'm going to be a guest on Josh's Free Radio Berkeley show. It's actually on in the wee hours of Friday morning, but if I've worked on Thursday night, getting there by bus might be tricky, and I might be tired and yawn on the air.

So I called back both Juan and the guy in Oakland, and said sorry, I'm already booked.

That was damned dumb, right? Unemployment doesn't pay well, especially when I'm not even on Unemployment. Here I am, running low on money, and five bucks an hour isn't much. I need a steady supply of gigs at that wage, to keep surviving. And yet I just said no to two and a half days work, maybe more, plus tips.

Gotta trust your feelings, though, and my gut is telling me I need more time sitting on my fat lazy ass.

From Pathetic Life #16
Monday, September 18, 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. > "If we breakfast again" I said, "let's meet at the the New Mission Café."

    Damn, I miss the Section 8 Cafe. Only ate there a few times, but you and I once had their Thanksgiving dinner. It was probably 5 bucks or something, for Turkey, mashed potatoes, veggies, cranberry sauce, all that shit, plus a slice of pumpkin pie. I'm guessing about 1996 or 97.

    1. I'd forgotten that we called it the Section 8 Cafe, but I remember Thanksgiving there. Bare-bones meal, but no family to argue with. We were going to a movie afterwards, I'm pretty sure.

  2. You're doing this again now, aren't you -- kinda looking for work but not really. You write it well, and I think lived right, life is a high wire act.

  3. Yeah, death is easy, life is kinda tricky... and I really ought to be looking for a job lots harder than I'm looking. Oh well.

    1. Life is Strange by The Fugs

      Life is strange and death is easy
      Diamonds heart is full of mystery
      When will I know
      Where the swallows go?
      I loved once but now I'm lonely
      Loves rejoice
      For lovers only
      When will I know
      Where the sparrows go?
      Skies are green
      And fields are silver
      All day hearts
      They quill and shiver
      When will I know where the white doves go?
      I was young but now I'm ugly
      Waves and waves
      They shake the evening
      When will I know where the lovers go?



    2. Well, that's not an ordinary pop tune. Made me smile and laugh. It's strange, intentionally, which is how more people should live. I try, sometimes, but do have my ordinary streaks. It's a character flaw; I'm working on it.

    3. Yeah, objectively I'm pretty ordinary too, but I wore that damn album out in the 70s and had to go buy another. Sometimes we need a hard-working genius like Ed Sanders to smack us out of the groove and all over the turntable.

      Poetry shows up way too rarely in pop and rock and we should celebrate it when it does. Just an opinion.


    4. You don't seem ordinary to me.


🚨🚨 Click here if you have problems posting a comment. 🚨🚨