Posts Tagged ‘crack head’

Let’s Dance

January 12, 2016

I’m always down for dancing.

Except.

When I’m not.

David Bowie has passed.

I am listening to his last album, Black Star, as I type.

And.

Thinking about the crush I had on him in high school.

Along with.

Yes.

Wait for it.

Sting.

And.

Mikhail Baryshinikov.

Oh.

And let me not forget Michael Hutchence from INXS.

Good lord.

There was something about David Bowie, though.

My first album of his is not the one most folks would have chosen.

Never Let Me Down.

From his Glass Spider tour.

I have absolutely no recollection why I bought that one, but it makes sense, time wise for me.

That must have been when I had my Columbia Record House membership.

Ha!

Remember those?

I remember how exciting it was to get that package of tapes in the mail.

I mean, talk about waiting for something with baited breath.

I don’t remember all the albums I got, but David Bowie’s Never Let Me Down was in there, also INXS; Sting’s Dream of The Blue Turtles: REM’s Out of Time; Madonna’s Like A Prayer; and I am completely unabashed to admit this one, hahahaha, Simply Red.

Oh.

Good gravy.

There were others, I am sure.

Now that I have had a moment to reflect on it, I bet I got the David Bowie after watching The Breakfast Club:

And these children that you spit on, as they try to change their world, are immune to your consultations.  They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.

Granted, that quote is from Changes, but if I recall, you couldn’t always get the album you wanted from Columbia Record House, they didn’t have the entire discography of the artist.

It was sort of, you get what we got, and that might be why I had the Simply Red Album.

Or.

Gah.

Complete honesty.

I think I saw a video on VH1 that was on somebody’s cable when I was baby sitting and I was attracted to the lead singer?

Oh.

I had my moments.

I still do.

I don’t think I was the only girl in the world with a crush on Mick Hucknall when it comes down to it, but I may be the only woman currently willing to admit it.

I also had a minor crush on Thomas Dolby.

I was lucky in some ways, now that I think of it, I got exposed to interesting music and then I also dated guys that were into music and I got a lot of exposure to bands and groups that I probably wouldn’t have.

I am thinking of one boyfriend in particular.

Although he did not expose me to any music in general, he was the person I thought of when I heard that David Bowie had died.

His name was John.

John Morgan.

I have looked for this guy a few times, owe him an amends as it were, and probably a hug.

Never found him anywhere.

But.

He was a love.

Someone that in hindsight I loved so much more than I realized and also some one whom I was not capable of being with.

I just had too much shit happening in my life.

My sister, homeless, pregnant, her felon (ex)husband, my niece, my crazy dad, my crazy mom.

And crazy me.

I had met John on State Street in front of the arcade Challenges.

It was right next to the coffee shop Espresso Royale.

I have many fond memories of sitting in that coffee shop drinking vanilla lattes and smoking cigarettes.

Gah.

I had my tastes.

Thank God they have changed.

I don’t know how I struck up the conversation with John.

I don’t remember.

I do remember his eyes were blue, he was a little on the heavy side, but not fat, just solid, big, he smoked, but he tended to roll his own cigarettes and yes, indulge in a pipe.

Affectation anyone?

But I found it adorable.

And he smoked cherry tobacco.

He was a virgin when we met.

Not for long.

Oh.

The stories.

There’s a lot of them.

But.

He was a dear, kind, sweet soul, who went above and beyond, helping me out in some tight places and also loaning my sister and her ex money.

If you know a John Morgan from Cambridge, let him know I’d like to pay him that money back.

I hated asking for it.

It was to bail out my sister’s ex.

They ended up jumping bail and leaving John sitting with the bag.

I didn’t do much better.

I broke up with him and then left and hit the road with his room mate and traveled down to Florida.

Where things got even weirder.

And all this when I was 19.

Sometimes I wonder that I made it out alive.

Living, squatting really, in a house on Monroe Street with my dad, who was gainfully in his cups and dating the daughter of the woman who owned the house (who was younger than me, ew dad) who was an alcoholic, self-admitted, who slopped around in house slippers and would drink her beer in a sippy cup with a straw.

Patty!

Oh my God.

I can’t believe I remember these names.

And the daughter’s name was Faith.

Of course it was.

And her brother Noah, an alcoholic, psychotic who would constantly bum cigarettes from you.  He was like a honing device, anyone, anywhere, in that house, from the second floor to the basement who might, might, have had a cigarette, he was there, slouched up right next to them.

“Can I bum a smoke, man?”

He was always damp, with a shank of dark hair that would fall into his eyes, and his eyes were dark, pale skin, five o’clock stubble at all times.

Yes.

Of course I slept with him.

I was drunk.

And it was one time.

And.

That never happened again.

I digress.

John bailed my ex brother in law out of jail and I broke up with him when I demanded more from him than he could give.

I had this unreasonable idea, too much reading the Princess Bride, too much, or too little, I suppose, patterning of relationships on my mom and missing dad, of what love looked like.

It did not look like this sweet kid who gave me socks for my birthday.

“Socks?!”  I was appalled when I opened the package.

“You gave me socks,” I almost hollered.

“You don’t have any,” he said baffled, the pleased with himself look fading off his face rather fast.

“I just thought, you must have cold feet all the time,” he added, now chagrined and blushing furiously.

“My feet are not cold.” I said and stuffed the socks down in my bag.

(My birthday, mind you, is in December and I was living in Wisconsin, and it’s not exactly warm there, my feet were probably always cold.)

I remember the color of the socks, I remember the feel of them, they were expensive and heavy and wool and had multi-colored stripes.

I threw them away.

(Aside, that just made me tear up, poor girl, being offered love, not knowing how to take it, spitting on it, not knowing what this was, this kind of sweet regard and tender taking care of.  I had never had it.  How was I to realize what was being offered?)

I break my own heart.

Then break his.

Then leave for months and not tell anyone where I am going.

Then.

Oh.

It just keeps getting better.

I end up homeless outside of Miami, Florida with some crazy low level hill billy mafia crack head who was nine years older than me and was named.

Oh.

God.

Billy Ray.

I do not make this shit up.

Long and short of it.

Which it was.

Horribly long and thank God, awfully short too.

Billy freaked out on me, threatened to kill me, and basically I hitch hiked to a Greyhound station with a paycheck from a gas station/convenience store I had worked at for a week in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

This blog is getting long.

But goodness, there is so much rich material here.

David Bowie.

Get back to David Bowie.

Right.

I made it back to Madison, I was crashing on the couch at my mom’s house, my sister had just had a baby, it was not good, my mom’s room mate was not happy, it was a bad idea to try and stay with my dad at Patty’s, but I did for a couple of nights, and then my sister tells me about the plan.

Stripping.

Let me just say this.

I did it.

One time.

It did not go well.

I did it to a medley of David Bowie songs.

Blue Jean.

China Girl.

And.

Let’s Dance.

By the time I was at Let’s Dance the top was coming off.

The floor was black and sticky on the stage, the lights were hot, John was there for moral support.

We got back together for a weekend.

His face in the club, a halo of blond hair, his spectacles pushed up the bridge of his nose, his blue eyes wide watching me.

It is one thing to dance for your boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, in the warm afternoon light of a flat on E. Johnson Street with David Bowie crooning in the back ground.

It is quite another to do it at Visions Night Club on East Washington Street.

I remember him mouthing “smile” at me.

I remember not being able to take any of the money being held out to me.

I remember a lot more.

But.

Like I said.

The blog.

She gets long.

All the things I used to do that I don’t do any more.

All the music, the soundtrack to that wrecked part of my life.

David Bowie.

Thanks for the memories.

And.

All the glorious music.

It made my life.

Somehow.

Less.

Tragic.

And always.

Always.

More.

Beautiful.

 

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Try It You’ll Like It

May 13, 2014

That’s the problem, I thought to myself as I walked past the man in the doorway at 19th and Valencia, I know I will like it.

That’s why I got to say no.

I was pushing the stroller anyway.

Not the best time to take a hit from a proffered crack pipe.

Ah.

The Mission.

You can gentrify it the fuck up.

You can take stupid photos with a stuffed gorilla at Beta Brand.

You can get your Marina eyebrows down at The Balm.

You can eat your overpriced, albeit, I hear quite tasty tacos, from Tacolicious.

I still will always prefer El Farolito.

I remember, all too fondly as I don’t eat them anymore, the taste of a super quesadilla suiza with carne asada and salsa and hot marinated carrots and jalapenos and corn tortilla chips, fifty cents extra, shit, I remember when the chips were free.

But, you can’t quite get rid  of the crack heads in the door ways.

I was actually surprised to be offered a pipe.

A. I was pushing a stroller

Then again, I know there are some crack mamas out there, I am well aware from my own personal experience, that yes mom’s can smoke up some crack.

But.

Still.

B. That anyone offered it to me.

When I hit the pipe, and I hit it only a handful of times, but more than enough to know that stuff is cray cray, I was not interested in sharing it with anyone once I got going.

I was interested in hiding the fuck out in my room.

Or plywood shack, as the case may be, which it was when I was 19.

C. Because I have never been offered a crack pipe hit before.

Yes, even in the Mission.

I have scored crack.

Good old 16th and Mission BART station.

Where would all the heroin mules work if they didn’t have that little crossroads of hell?

Actually, crack is the only drug I have scored on the street.

I never did heroin–although it was offered to me on Market Street once.

I never bought a bag of pot from some one on Haight Street offering, “kind nugs”.

I don’t even like pot any way, but when I did smoke it, really quite allergic to it, so the only time I ever did was to convince some guy I was dating that I could rip a bong hit too.

I had a cocaine habit, though, yes, yes, yes, ma’am I did.

But I was all bougie about it.

I had my drug of choice delivered.

And he got it to me damn quick.

I can only recall a handful of times that I did not have bag, or bags, in hand before I could have gotten a pizza delivered to me.

The best thing about it, the being offered the crack pipe, is that I didn’t want it, I wasn’t interested, I was so neutral, “no thanks,” I said, and walked past.

I remember once, about oh, 9 years ago, fresh sober as a new souffle wobbling from the oven, walking down Valencia Street and smelling crack.

I freaked out.

I got so spooked.

It was like I went from 0 to homeless in 60 seconds.

I got on my phone, made a ton of phone calls, prayed, tried to not pee my pants, tried to get the whiff of it out of my nose.

I have since smelled plenty of crack in the city and I will say, it can be disconcerting and I don’t enjoy it and I recognize it like a bomb sniffing canine int he airport, but it doesn’t make me freak out.

I just would rather not be around it.

For those reasons, and perhaps a few more, I don’t say, hang in the Tenderloin.

Not really my scene.

What struck me too, today, as I walked about the Mission in search of a park that had some shade for my little bunny to play in, is that the veneer of high-tech and gloss and art is a thinning patina of slap together condominiums that actually look trashy and tacky and dumb down the reason why the Mission became gentrified in the first place.

It had some character.

The character is still there, but it is caked over by tourist and junk.

I hate it when the neighborhood starts selling junk and trinkets.

I don’t want the neighborhood that I birthed my San Francisco self into to become a tourist destination, even though it already has.

I am not a grouchy displaced Missionite either, don’t get me wrong, I will still hang in the Mission and I still belong, but I don’t want to live there anymore.

I couldn’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t have wanted to live there.

And I still do kick myself, a teeny tiny, bit for turning down the large studio with huge corner window on the second floor of a building at Valencia and 22nd above Herbivore that I could have gotten into for $850.

The window looked out over to Jay’s Cheesesteak and the studio, well, it wasn’t just big, it was huge.

But the floors were carpet and I was smitten with the studio I had found in Nob Hill, which had crown molding and pressed tin panels and Victorian details and polished wood floors.

I took the smaller, more expensive, studio in Nob Hill.

And that’s ok.

It is what it is.

The Mission is different.

The city of San Francisco is different.

And frankly, I am different.

All of the above is ok.

I get to live here and I am lucky to have gotten to live here for as long as I have.

Being crack free probably has a lot to do with that.

You know, probably.

I think, anyway.

So, yeah, dude in doorway was right.

I would like it.

But I got a taste of something even better.

And I like that so much more.

So much more I can’t even express it.

It is the bees knees.

The cat’s pajamas.

And all that jazz.

I really like it.

I really do.

 

I’m Back!

April 22, 2014

Sort of.

The Internet connection is still shitastic.

And my landlord told me two days ago that she paid to have a faster service.

Not down here.

Nothing’s faster.

Get your money back.

Oh well.

Hopefully, at some point I will have access, there always does seem to be a magic moment when I do manage to sneak online then I will transfer the blog from here in my MAC Word documents to my WordPress site.

I have missed this!

Four days since I have last blogged.

Me no likey.

I had entertained the thought of writing my blogs long hand then taking photos of them and posting them via my Iphone, but I never got around to it.

I did read a lot.

Nearly finished Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue.

Now that I have my computer back, I don’t know that I will be kicking through the book quite as fast. I will certainly finish it, it’s good enough to be finished, though, and I have to say there are some bits of it that don’t quite sit well with me. Perhaps it’s because I worked around the neighborhood that the author is describing and I lived in a rather rough part of East Oakland. There’s something in the language of the characters that does not ring true.

Fiction is not supposed to be “real” per se, but it has to read true to me and there are times when it does not read true.

Then again, it’s a good enough read that I am going to finish it.

Not tonight, though.

Tonight is all about the blog, if I do manage to get it up online.

I am writing it anyhow.

As I was riding my bicycle home along Irving, flying into the wind, the salty smell of ocean, very fresh tonight, the breeze bracing, brisk, almost cold, but not quite, I kept thinking what am I going to write about?

What did I do over the last few days that is noteworthy.

I cried a little bit on the corner of Hyde and Grove outside the Burger King across from the main library.

And not because what you think.

That is, should you know what that neighborhood is like.

Crack head central.

It wasn’t cuz I was smoking it, scoring it, or looking to turn a trick.

But I got all sorts of propositioned.

I wasn’t crying either because I had lost my abstinence or gone off on a flame-broiled binge at the Burger King either.

It was because my scooter, out of the blue, stopped running.

Right at that particular corner.

It smells bad.

See aforementioned crack head reference.

Add to that the charred smell of carcinogens people were stuffing into their glazed 4/20 faces.

Oh, yeah, yesterday, on top of it being Easter, it was Easter on 4/20; everyone was baked out of his or her heads.

Wafts of pot smoke.

Ponderous billowing clouds of smoke drifting all over the city, but most especially from the Upper Haight.

A neighborhood I had the pleasure of riding my scooter through.

I took her out yesterday.

I was not thinking about Easter.

I did not know that Kezar was going to be closed.

I did not know that because of the massive construction project happening in Dolores Park that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were having their Hunky Jesus contest and Mary Magdalene Pageant in Golden Gate Park, as well as the traditional little kid fest Easter Egg Hunt that was happening.

And yes, oh wise city that you are, who decided to schedule Sunday Streets (the event where the city shuts down a length of street and leaves it open to bicyclists and pedestrians only) in the Upper Haight?

What the holy hell?

I was completely not ready for that.

I had thought that I would ride my scooter to my commitment at Church and Market around 5:30 pm’ish and have a nice late Sunday afternoon ride.

I was chilling in the back yard enjoying a big mug of chai tea after having had a delicious kale salad with all sorts of fresh veggies in it, a salad I had after a beautiful walk on the beach with very few people out (I should have cottoned to it then, that the city was crazy elsewhere. Whenever it’s nice at the beach and it’s empty, something else is happening.).

I knew it was weird for the beach to be so deserted; it was 70 degrees out yesterday, clear, sunny, gorgeous, light breeze, beach weather in San Francisco for sure.

I just figured it was because it was Easter Sunday.

I was not thinking about the melee just a few miles away from the quiet, sleepiness of the Outer Sunset.

Nope, I was thinking I would chill in the back yard for a bit, read my book, enjoy the sunshine and when the time was right, why, I might even take a nap.

Plans changed.

Quick like.

I got a text message from a friend asking me what I was up to and it became apparent quick that I needed to meet up with this person and grab some coffee and then go to an earlier showing of get my head on straight I done fucked up, with my friend.

He was not in a good place and I said meet me for coffee at three p.m. and we’ll hit the four o’clock at Our Lady of Safeway.

I got my stuff together, pulled on my gloves, popped on my helmet, pulled the choke out on the scooter; kick started her up and zoomed off into the Inner Sunset.

And right into the worst traffic I have ever seen in my life.

For all of two intersections I stayed behind the cars in front of me.

Then something in my head said, “Fuck this,” and I graduated to splitting the lane in Nano seconds.

I cut through traffic, I rolled up through the maze of crazy taking it really slow, there was no other way to do it, but getting through.

It was crazy pants.

I don’t ever want to do that again.

But I can say with no little pride, that I did not kill it once, that I glided through, carefully, but I did it, I got through.

It still took me 45 minutes to get to Church and Market.

But get there I did.

I stopped.

Got coffee.

Did the deal.

Hung with my friend.

Then afterward as he was leaving to hit a dinner commitment I got a message that my laptop, my baby, my blog-producing machine, was ready for pick up at the Apple Store downtown.

Woohoo!

I hopped on and headed out.

But I got to admit, something felt weird, I felt weird, things felt off, the scooter felt, well funny.

I had a hard time suddenly relaxing into the flow and I got uncomfortable.

Should have listened to that feeling.

Because as it turns out, nothing says good times like stalling out at Hyde and Grove.

Well, maybe having all the hairs on my neck stand up and whirling around as a huge man with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth comes up and tries to hug me.

“Yo, It’s cool, I know you from the meeting, you Cindy, right?”

“NO, I am not and I don’t know you, back off,” I said and put my arm up to fend off the incoming hug.

“Yo, my mistake, it’s cool,” he said and turned to jog down the stairs to the underground.

But that was it.

Last straw.

I could put up with the homeless dude trying to offer to help me kick it over, “no thanks, I got it,” I could handle the guy that tried to solicit me, “not hooking,” I handled the guy who spare changed me too close, “Nothing, I got nothing,” but that last dude did me in.

I fired off a bunch of texts and started making phone calls.

I got a number for a tow company that deals with motorcycles and I got a friend to come down and keep me company until the tow came.

And when the tow came, revelations.

“Didn’t the guy who sold this to you tell you about the reserve tank?” He asked.

“No,” I said.

And in all fairness, he might have, but I had no recollection, and I had checked the tank three times and each time I saw that it was half way full, even with all the stop and go traffic, it was half full.

“When it gets to about half way, you need to turn this little knob here below the choke to the reserve tank, otherwise it won’t feed gas to your engine,” he demonstrated, and then started my scooter right up.

Then what?

Only charged me $20 for the service call.

My hero.

“Bike Guy Motorcycle Tow—you never know when you’ll need a tow.”

Stephen Goodloe, you are my hero.

My friend made it down to me about the same time as Mr. Goodloe did and said he would follow me home as I rode out into the dusky twilight, headed, yes, back through the park, but by this time the roads had cleared and it was smooth sailing all the way home.

I didn’t get my computer.

But I did get to learn about the reserve tank!

It’s nice to be sitting at the keyboard again.

I look forward to heralding you further with more tales from the life of Auntie Bubba again real soon.

Like tomorrow.

If I can get online.


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