Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All I Remember Is That Before I Was Born There Was Bliss

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I’ll probably stop posting like this after this one, “Visions of Lux” are boring now to even me but I’ve been away on vacay, which is not nearly as glamorous as it sounds, because I’ve been working working working on nothing but terrible, money-making endeavors, and finding not enough time to write and work and socialize. Working and socializing won out; writing got pushed to the wayside but this is now spring break so enjoy.

SCOTT LIVED IN A PLACE CALLED QUIET HILLS, near Lomas Serenas, off Via Rancho Parkway, and we used to go there on our days off, in between classes, hang out, his kitchen table looked like a restaurant booth, that was the truth, it was the maddest fucking thing I’ve ever seen, oh America, and his walls looked like wooden cabin walls in the middle of nowhere USA, Southern California, San Diego.  He also had a pool and a hot tub too, out back near the small fence line that protected their cats from coyote prowlings, just a bit out of sight, it was a pity that they didn’t realize coyotes can scowl, crawl, and climb fences with expert prowess, (I once saw one across the canyon hop a chain link fence six feet high to get after a Labrador Retriever), obviating all kinds of human defenses and yet at least they are cowards. Scott also had an old eighties projector that still worked like drive in movie theatre, where he could set up for summer screenings with drinks and hot tub under water flirtations, his back yard was our playground but he and I didn’t play until a few years later and that’s really another story, kind of boring, and maybe I'll get to that later. I never really dug Scott as more than a friend, he had a military haircut and was no nonsense, once he tried to stop our orgy because Amber was cheating on her boyfriend with another guy, but I was finally getting with Tyler, tight pants emo guy with the emo hair and the sad sullen eyes that I had been eying all my nineteenth year, and Scott had to bang down the door, not really, but still causing enough ruckus to take us all out of it and draw the attention of Amber's boyfriend who then went off yelling, ah youth.  It was that same time we all decided hey why not take off all our clothes and have a toga party with all the extra sheets in Amber's parent's linen closet (later Amber's asshole sister Lindsay told on us and Amber was grounded even though she was twenty at the time, much like the time when we were seventeen and Amber was grounded for eating cold pizza for breakfast), and where was I? oh yeah, and Amber got drunk and incensed after that, after the orgy got split up and she missed her chance to fuck this guy named Justin who had stoner eyes and curly brown hair, so hot I later got with him but ah another story, and Amber mad and dressed in only a toga came out to the living room where twenty or thirty people stood drinking and laughing, and (she will kill me for this) dropped the sheet and asked all the party guests to examine her nipples for some rash she thought she had and then her boyfriend came back and wasn't mad anymore, raising his drink and toasting us all, they didn't last much longer than that however.

Anyway, back in the day, we used to go to Scott’s place for many things, not least of all to catch a glimpse of his hot older brother, Matt, who was pretty good looking indeed but Jessica liked him more than me, she was obsessed really, and might have gotten with him, I’m not sure, she got with someone else later, if rumors hold true, a boyfriend of her best friend, a good friend, ended their friendship entirely, (this was Amber) but that’s another story and I’m kind of sick of hearing it, it being the necessarily dramatic, perhaps traumatic, story of my best friend’s ex and sister’s current husband, ah what a tangled web and all around me my friends like to fuck things up but that was early twenties so oh well.  This is not to say that I am not guilty of the same kind of assholish things, then and now, telling men I'll see them again without even the slightest inclination to fulfill that empty kind of promise, a pity, I guess I kind of regret the insincerity, ah me, I suppose I was and still am kind of an asshole, my endearing sense of charm, all gone, or at least all figured out by those who knew me when, know me now, oh well, it doesn’t matter anyhow.

And really I started off this story with such good intentions, (as always) thinking about Scott and Chris and Matt (different one than Scott's brother) and Miriam and Jessica and Serena and Delilah and Amber and Eric, oh Eric, so cute and so hopelessly attention deficit disordered, couldn’t get with him for that reason alone even though he was cute, so scatter-minded, he was blinded to girls back in high school, not sure if he was gay or just stunted by his ADD, either way, he’s married now to a woman but that proves nothing because he’s Mormon and Mormons I’m pretty sure are not allowed to be gay, at least not publicly.  Ok now another benny!

I SIGNED MY LIFE AWAY at 18, again at 22, and finally once more at 26, but just barely cause I barely just turned, and already my life was signed away three times, ah the bottomless horror of living in America with student loan debt. We are among our own somehow and still outsiders because we can relish in our sameness but it doesn’t give us back the years, years, years we would have spent differently if not indebted to an indifferent system that took our money before it was made, our prosperity before it came, and made us vacant empty shadows of our former selves, taking work beneath us just to survive, bargaining power lost somehow in the stride, working, working, working just to make enough to write an absent lofty empty check to some nameless credit institution, a way to hold them off for another month, just one, and then they come calling again, hey where’s our check, where’s our blood money, where’s the fruits of our deception, I’d like to see them turned out and fucked. It’s a conspiracy! and I am no paranoid personality, I’m a realist, rational actor, but I truly believe the government teamed up with the educators to fuck us, scheming to make us forever debtors, how could it matter, and not even death can separate us, not from our debt, they teamed up to fuck us, pulled out and fucked us again, and we didn’t even get to come, see what our lives could have been, too busy scraping together just enough to get by, get them to stop berating, beating, harassing, such crassness, I didn’t sign up for this, but here I am nevertheless, another one of the forty million American pawns, burdened by the horror of bottomless student loan debt, interest rates skyrocketing, them mocking, we’ll suck every last cent out of you, milestones forgotten, we grow up rotten, this is what we got for wanting, that thing called education. I hate them, all of them who think they can waste our lives, the generation who bore us fucked us, what a shameless, outrageous thing to do, make little corpses who cannot truly grow up and prosper, the burden of life without any of the pleasure, is this what they came for, what we were made for, do nothing but scrape together (illegally and disingenuously) the bare minimum to get them to stop harassing, I’d rather have been counted out. But now it’s too late for edit undo.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON WE WERE GOING TO GO TO LOST ABBEY, or some other famous San Diego brewery that resembled Lost Abbey, they all kind of do, and I think it was going to lead all the way into night, I’m not sure, because when I go out with this particular group it tends to get wild and all, etcetera, and so I was going to be there but had to grab a jacket in case it got cold because night time December San Diego gets cold too, sixty something cold, which as I think about it now, monitoring NY, Chicago, Oymyakon, and Antarctica weather this winter year of 2015 is not really all that cold at all (they get so frigid I cannot even imagine though I’m looking forward to checking summertime Antarctica and I really want to see triple negatives because I have never gotten that type of satisfaction in wintertime Oymyakon, but that’s another issue entirely), and now I feel like kind of an asshole for mentioning sixty degrees being cold and it’s true I have this unrestrained inability to decipher real coldness having never lived East of California for any measurable amount of time. So I wanted a jacket and said so, telling them let me off and I’ll be right back, but then for some reason when he was going to drop me to get the jacket, instead of pulling to the mailbox and waiting like a normal person, he instead decided to just back up the driveway across the street (which is really steep and purposeless and doesn’t have much space), he backed up that driveway so wildly, so fast (like if his truck had third gear reverse) that he just burst into the constructed barn slash garage sitting there far back, breaking the little wooden door and exposing a ton of tools, saw board, and other stuff that shocked me so much I cannot recount. I was really just in shock at this point because it was so purposeless, the backing up and the high speed. And there was a kid working in the barn who got upset about the intrusion, naturally, because it shocked him too and he didn’t expect that a big truck would slam through the garage door and expose him to the world, and he thought it was ill-advised, and it was.

I shook my head and jumped out of the truck and immediately took off to get my jacket knowing that there was soon going to be trouble and I didn’t want to engage in it. I am okay with trouble if I’m in the mood or I’ve had some to drink or the person really offends me, but none of these conditions were met in this circumstance so I thought better to leave and hope it resolves before I get back. For all I know, the kid will be just scared because there are four other people besides me who leaves to contend with and four against one doesn’t usually work out well in the favor of the one. I figure one of them will make a hollow apology and an empty promise to fix the damage and that will be the end of it. But it wasn’t the end of it.

When I came back, there was a whole scene and fight, just what I was trying to avoid. My uncle, who was driving, doesn’t have a lot of tact so he was basically telling the boy and his grandfather who apparently just arrived, that he wasn’t taking any responsibility because the driveway lent itself to being used as a turnaround and that was just how it was going to be. Of course the grandfather wasn’t having any of it because he also knew a lot about back then when there was more like street justice not this liberal shit that came in later, and that was when I started thinking we were never going to get drinking and maybe I should just recede into the background and not deal with any of it.

There was no real resolution here, which I know will make some furious, as it did me, because we slipped naturally into next morning, early 6 AM and I was sleeping but awoken unnaturally by loud voices across the street, same area as the driveway and barn construction that my uncle recently violated with his Chevy truck. I sit up in bed and look out the window and see a gathering of people, they are all mixed up in something so I get dressed and go up there to investigate and I find that it is an impromptu church gathering that one lady claims they have every week though I know she is incorrect or I would know about it because it is right across the street and I am a particularly light sleeper. Nevertheless, I do not start any trouble because I like to get along with people unless there’s something specifically that offends me or unless a friend is in danger or some other kind of catalyst that I cannot overlook.

So I’m not the one who starts trouble in the end, but more about that later. They have all these chairs and tables set up and I wonder what exactly kind of church gathering is this because there is no one speaking and it kind of seems more like a brunch for some charity function although I cannot imagine why this would be the chosen location, right in the middle of nowhere suburban Escondido. I sit down at an empty table and look around, really hoping that I can get some food and coffee free, and all of a sudden Tegan and Kane, her boyfriend, and Serena and Brady, her fiancĂ© show up on the scene.   I ask them what they are doing there because it is super weird, to which Tegan shrugs and says why not? Tegan’s responses are always ambiguous and infuriating, they never offer much responsiveness except for condescension and I am left no better informed about what is happening than before they arrived. Nevertheless, here they are and they begin smoking. I find it strange since none of them traditionally smoke and it really upsets the table of elderly women next to us. They make coughing sounds and annoyed grumbles (much like Tegan used to do when we went to the Wild Animal Park (WAP) as kids and wanted to eat some soft serve ice cream cones and there were smokers nearby, which are all probably dead now, and she wanted to shame them and be obnoxious at the same time so she would cough and make loud claims about their grotesqueness) and I cannot help feeling sympathy for them, the ladies at the next table that is, and I even shake my head at one old lady to exhibit my mutual disgust, and yet they just keep smoking and pretending like it's nothing. Then Kane and Serena start chatting loudly about how this is all so weird, making ill-advised comments and jokes that are kind of funny but also disrespectful, and though I do agree, I keep my mouth shut because I have no idea what to say anyhow and I kind of want to stay on middle ground, at least as long as I get free food and not kicked out. But the church going patrons nearby are getting angry about the smoking and all the comments, and I think something will occur so I brace myself. Naturally I’ll have to side with Tegan and the rest of them, not just because I’m atheist and have no respect for these church-like beliefs but also because they are part of my social circle and family, it would be ill-advised for me to dissent.  This is the end and I woke up.

WHEN I BROKE UP WITH JACK he was mostly cool about it, just making claims that I’d never find another guy quite like him, and he meant it and I believed it too, only because I still sort of believe that everyone is unique to a certain degree, and it almost made me regret it, for a second, that is the break up and accepted animosity from Jack who was a good friend prior to this, and the regret was only half real, at least so far as I couldn’t realize the stuff that bothered me about him while we were together and when I remembered all the bad things I couldn’t stand I was tranquil again. Still I will admit that I felt like kind of an asshole for breaking up and staying with him as long as I did all the while knowing there was no future, because in effect I was robbing him of finding a girlfriend that could give of herself, one who could truly adore him and could offer him a future, minor as it might be, and when I said, you know I don’t have a lot to offer, he seemed to accept it, but I think he also thought I was lying, which I wasn’t, trying to get out of a sticky situation while letting him down easy, which I was and it all ended up alright anyway because he found this other girl and I think they make it work, as much as anyone can say that is. So now I hope he doesn’t hold against me, the animosity, because it makes me nervous to have others out there unwell wishing me, putting energy into disliking me, I’d rather be anonymous and not the subject of any animus.

PAW PRINT POINT WAS LIKE OUR BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, so innocent and playful at the time, so broken down and pitiful now, except it wasn’t as cool and there was no raging water underneath, nothing to invoke in us a true sense of danger, just a stark canyon floor filled with tumbleweed, dandelions, cactus and coyote excrement, probably neighborhood cat remnants, nothing to die over, perhaps maiming over but only if expertly, remarkably falling just perfect, we never saw any of it. The idea of Paw Print Point was a ledge, on the edge, dirt and wood solidified from rains but mostly droughts, from which we could climb out real far and almost see down to L.R. Green, barely, and the undergrowth was more built up then than it is today by the way, and we saw a certain brilliance, indefinable, boastful quality of climbing all the way out to the last point of Paw Print Point, to stand as a masthead at the point of a ship, the ornament on the front of a luxury car, BMW, the first one to see if there was ever something important to see, just to say we did it and saw something, this was the stuff of youthful pride.

One day I do recall, not the year exactly but the moment sure, we were playing at Paw Print Point, business as usual, creeping out to the end, looking over the canyon of dead things and undergrowth, L.R. Green and Greta Green and Bear Valley and Royal Crest, ah the hilltops, and we were looking out and reporting back, “Hey see my tree looking just like a puff of smoke on the horizon, my tree” (which got chopped down some time later, a violent death that reminded me once again we were all meant for death and how could it not be violent, death that is?), and it lived on Brotherton, my tree that looked like puffs of smoke, or some street near Centre City at least, I know this because my dad indulged me one day and we drove out and found my tree, and ah me reporting back that day saying, “Look at it there, my tree sight, smoky pride, eucalyptic race but better than the Australia mix, no Koala bears raving it, they might have saved it, but oh well, and I thought it signaled so much hope, it being a part of my outlook, my horizon, then it died the way we all do, by some unfeeling hand, and everything that ever was got lost.

Tegan did not care too much about the view that day because she was losing her grip, took too big of a sip, I heard a rip, the sound of tearing and the dirt and rotten wood, composition failing, and then her falling, down, down, down to the bottom of the canyon, the gully, tumbleweed and cactus and coyote excrement, and I screamed as she fell (and as it were I’ve had dreams of her falling from spaces ever since), and when she hit the bottom, thud, shock, scream, “Get Dad!” He was mad, when I ran back up the hill, crisscross, easement they keep for sewer access, to the garage, “Tegan Fell!” I screamed at him and he immediately reacted, following me down, down, down to Paw Print Point, peering out, me creeping out along the unbroken part, the squirrels would be sad, and there she was, still alive, trying to climb out, our father had to dig his heels and navigate the ground all around tumbleweed and cactus, to pull her out, and then to hear things like “Why are you playing on unsturdy ground?” and “Why aren’t you looking after your younger sister?” Ah me, and knowing that she is more capable of “looking out” than me but not being able to tell him such, I just kind of nodded shamefully, like the time she sprayed the parakeet with water and blamed me, oh right nevermind, that was me blaming her, I guess it went both ways, I have to be better about being worse, at least in our parents’ eyes, then perhaps I’ll learn, what’s good and what’s bad, narrow perspective, developing an identity as of now I could only call speculative.

Tegan survived unlike her counterpart in Terabithia. She was resurrected by our father, brought to the couch and given an ice-cream sandwich, lucky bitch. I think I was grounded for allowing her to play so close to danger, I’m not sure, this was, as I say, a long time ago, too long to remember incredible detail, how could it be so, at least two decades, ah life goes by too fast.

ALL I REMEMBER IS THAT BEFORE I WAS BORN THERE WAS BLISS. Kerouac once wrote about the crying horror of birth and the impossible lostness of the promise of death. Is there comfort in knowing that people had the same thoughts as me years before I was born? Or is it more dooming in some kind of pitiful way, to think hey, they already thought these thoughts, is there nothing new? Years, years, years from now are the not even born little corpses going to grow up to be twenty eight years old and think the same thoughts I’m thinking now? Oh what a chore, what a bore, we can advance in science and still obsess over the same stupid little trivial things, what is death like, better or worse than the curse of life? I can’t decide, never could, my indecisiveness is paralyzing, unimaginable inability to commit, always thinking, wondering, knowing that there’s a road not taken, a path not walked, and I think about those roads and those paths all the time, wondering what they may have been like, knowing I will never get to find out, the horror of life is that it is too long but not long enough to go back and see all the paths and all the roads out there, all the places and spaces out there, ah me, I can’t be happy in this system of life and death, a cycle unimaginably cruel, teasing opportunities too ephemeral to know. No matter what I do, chances are more likely than not that I’ll never see Greenland in real life, the perfect little colorful wooden houses, one by one next to each other on the western hill overlooking the north north Atlantic Ocean, choppy surf and icebergs. It seems rather futile, a life where everything is not possible, opportunities so limited, nothing to do but grow old and die unfulfilled, is this what generations have to endure? I can’t help being cynical, critical, lost in the endless cycle, in that age now teetering between ideological dreams and hopeless reality, ah me, I’m losing that sense of endless opportunity, replacing it with depressing prophesy, seeing myself as a little corpse made to die, this is what 3AM restlessness does to the psyche.