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Not a moment I'm proud of

I worked next to Umberto on the Avenue today, and we tried to be sociable and friendly, but there's just no clicking between us. When we had no browsers or customers, we talked about Telegraph politics and his fiercely-, my mildly-anarchist philosophies, and we got along well enough. Usually we do. But it never felt like a conversation with a friend. 

I'm so accustomed to being alone and avoiding friendships, I don't know how to go about it when there's someone I'd actually like to know.

It's not entirely on me, though. Umberto has been working on Telegraph for years, and he's famously prickly and combative. I'm one of very few people on the Ave that he's willing to talk to at all.

♦ ♦ ♦

My tooth hurt all day, and I got a little prickly myself. Sorta went ballistic mid-day, when a man who'd never be a customer looked at the fish display like it was a collection of stinky turds. I knew what was coming. He was about to say something and it was going to set me off, and he did and it did, but I was ready to ignite before he even spoke.

"Why are you making fun of—" he started, and I didn't let him finish. I launched into a flurry of profanities, gave him my opinion of religion and specifically Christianity, and the malfunctioning minds of anyone who believes in such rubbish. I don't remember what all I said or how long I went on. Mostly I was talking to his backside, and as he walked away I finished with a flourish of fuck you's. It was not a moment I'm proud of.

♦ ♦ ♦

When I got to Telegraph and for most of the day, a perfectly normal-looking middle-aged white woman stood beside a sign she'd brought and hung from a fence. She hadn't even brought a chair or a table, just the sign. It said, "Fuck the homosexual police — they killed my four children."

What the what?

Under the headline, smaller print tried to explain explain her delusion, and at the first lull of the morning I walked over to read it. It was just a jumble of words, barely pretending to make sense, and obviously horseshit.

If local cops had killed four people from one family, it would've been in the news, you know?

And probably there are gay cops, but they have to stay in the closet, or the other cops would kill or maim them. Police are not well-known for an inclusive, welcoming attitude.

Nobody spoke to that lady all day, at least not that I noticed. I certainly didn't. There are enough kooks in my life already. 

At about 3:30, unprovoked, she suddenly started ranting, so I took notes: "Liberal money is dying off… Get ready to defend yourself… Don't trust the homosexual police…" and then again, "Liberal money is dying off." She repeated herself several times, and as she prattled on, she took her sign down and left. Her work here was done for the day.

There's a line in a book, Neutron Gun by Gerry Reith, that isn't meant to describe Berkeley but totally does: "Drunks and psychotics welcome. You'll feel at home among your peers."

From Pathetic Life #17
Saturday, October 21, 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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