Vivid dream: I was back in my apartment in Oakland on Telegraph Avenue. My very first apartment! The one that sat over a storefront that most of the time was the Independent Driving School but sometimes turned into an adult bookstore and on at least one occasion took up tax preparation.
I’d arrived there through some sort of vaguely Orphan Black-ish cloak-and-dagger activity. I was hiding out from menacing authorities! My trusty backup squad consisted of two LJ friends whom I’ve never met – smokingboot, a Brit, whom I envision as quite ethereal, and Rob H.
Smokingboot was showing me around the apartment, which she’d decorated entirely with mirrors, stained glass, and quaint Tales-of-Hoffman-ish automatons – I remember one automaton, embedded somehow in one of the stained glass windows, was the simulacrum of a famous 1920s tennis star and would recite the tennis star’s entire biography if prompted.
I was going to have to hide out in this apartment for some unknown reason.
I looked around and thought, That’s not so bad; I kind of like this place –
The Oakland apartment is a major touchstone in Where You Are When: Ybel lives there, and it’s the apartment where Danny and Megan keep staging colorful suicides in various iterations. That plus special guest appearances by LJ pals made me think: Aha! I’m dreaming about writing.
During my absence, western Dutchess County somehow metamorphosed into the Cotswolds. It rains. And rains. And rains. And the gardens bloom!
Mostly it’s been a manageable drizzle, but sometimes it pours. Not something I’ve felt like going out in, so I’ve been under-exercised and generally crochety.
I suppose I’m gonna have to break down and join a gym.
I hate gyms.
That Grateful Dead documentary made a strong impression on me. In particular, the Haight/Ashbury footage from the late 1960s.
I was a student at Berkeley at the time – yes, yes, I was only 16, but I’d skipped two years of school – and I hopped the AC transit bus into the City often. Golden Gate Park was one of my very favorite places to drop acid.
In a way, it’s the same thing that appeals to me about small towns – it’s as if remnants of the past are trapped like genies in flat black and white images or in abandoned, dilapidated buildings lining an empty Main Street.
Who knows what powerful magic those genies might be able to perform if released, right?
In particular, I stared at Bob Weir who in my benighted 20s seemed to me the very epitome of male beauty. Today, all I can think is, Damn! What a slack-jawed, country bumpkin-looking moron. Pretty but very obviously dumb as blunt nails.
The editing in the documentary was very weird; it jumped from a scene of Weir on the stage to a shot of Weir as an old man – well: a man my age – climbing into an ecologically friendly motor vehicle and buckling up his seat belt with a trembling hand. The dumbness is a constant. I wonder how come I missed that back in the day?
In retrospect, I can see all sorts of things that were wrong with the Dead scene. It was a complete male chauvinist fantasy. Women existed to be fucked, to prepare food, or to do those weird, whirly hand dances – their straight, carefully-parted-down-the-middle hair flying – while the Dead played Dark Star.
About a year later, I started modeling professionally, which took me frequently to New York where I hung about on the fringes of the Max’s Kansas City/Andy Warhol Factory scene. Incipient punk. A lot more dangerous than the Grateful Dead scene, but – oddly – a lot more egalitarian when it came to gender roles.
Still. There was something about the Dead that spoke to me, and I continued catching the occasional show and doing the occasional tab until Garcia dropped dead.
Whereupon I gave up psychedelics altogether.
The Former Democratic Congressional Candidate’s brother posted this photograph of her looking elegant and imperious and as though she would snap the head off anyone who made a stupid remark.
This is how I would like to remember her.
Except that I didn’t actually know her when she was this person.