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Daytripping with Joshua

There were problems with Trent and Kent. I will rue the day I unknowingly assigned them rhyming names for this blog.

They have had a bumpy year, but were in love and living together in Kent’s new 1-bedroom in Highland Park, a more economic, more Hispanic, busier neighborhood than his last place in Silver Lake.

Kent told me that Trent drinks too much, says mean things and sometimes he is a completely different person.

I said, “That’s called Alcoholism.”

On Kent’s B-Day, Trent didn’t wish Kent a Happy Birthday or hug him or wake him up with a Birthday Blowjob. He instead got drunk and told him he didn’t want to spend his birthday, 3 days later, with Kent. He preferred to be alone.

During this time, they were both texting me. Trent stating he wanted to be a slut and was tiring of the relationship.

Kent struggling to understand where Trent was coming from, acknowledging it was Trent’s first adult relationship and battling with love and trust.

We were all supposed to go to Joshua Tree together, but now Kent was going to San Diego to visit his family and asked me to nudge Trent into camping alone with me for that weekend. He thought Trent needed space.

When the day arrived, Trent resisted. He sent me texts that he “wants to be alone” and “doesn’t feel like celebrating my birthday.” I knew he was in that dark apartment, draining a bottle of wine wondering when he could find himself in a dark corner with a stranger.

He reminded me so much of The Prophet. So wonderful, generous, witty and kind when sober, and cruel when intoxicated. I asked my therapist today, “Why do the best people I know have to be alcoholics? Is it because they need to balance their own evil somehow? The rest of us carry it around everyday. Maybe they save it all for when they are drunk.”

I was rushing around, I had a call back for a commercial, Baye from work was loaning me some camping gear including a hatchet, I left my damn phone charger at work and then I zoomed (and I rarely use that word, but I zoomed) to Kent’s to sweep up Trent before he was too drunk to deal with.

I arrived and called and called. No answer.

When a minivan left the parking garage, I nonchalantly walked through the garage and let myself in.

I knocked on the door and saw a flicker of movement.

Waited.

Kent opened the door.

He said, “He is in the shower.”

I said, “Oh. I thought you were in San Diego.”

Kent, “Not yet, I have a terrible headache. I can’t do anything.”

He wandered back to his bed and laid down in migraine position.

The water stopped and I shouted, “Hey Trent, do I get to see that legendary donger of yours, or do I have to wait for the weekend?”

I heard his laugh sparkle through the wall.

I sat on the edge of the bed and smoked a bowl with Kent.

Me, “Abe said that a lot of people are abducted in national parks.”

Kent, “Why would he tell you that?”

Me, “Because he is always functioning on a high level of paranoia. Don’t worry, I have a hatchet. But the last thing I want to do is be high on hallucinagenics when someone cuts off my head and fucks it.”

Trent came out of the bathroom looking androgynously beautiful.

Trent, “Oh my God, I don’t want that either.”

Me, “Don’t worry I have a hatchet.”

Trent, “I don’t want to chop someone with a hatchet when I am tripping either.”

Me, “I think it might be easier.”

Trent shuddered, “I don’t. I would just need to go in a corner somewhere.”

Me, “Don’t worry. Abe is always talking about women being abducted and men walking around with slip ties. I mean, I am not a 12 year-old Mexican girl, I think I am gonna be ok.”

Kent laughed, endlessly. “Did you hear what she just said?”

Trent, “Yes, that’s why I love her.”

After some negotiating about what Trent should pack, how much wine he’s consumed and whether or not Kent should join us anyway, they hugged and kissed. Trent was all mine.

We stopped at Target and got beer, food, a blanket and sleeping bag, kindling and a big, black sun hat for Trent.

Then we were officially off.

My car was a disaster again- I apologized but Trent didn’t care.

The windows were down and Janis was on the radio. He said, “This is good. New energy. I need that.”

I said, “Do you want to talk about what’s going on?”

He said, “I am just bored. We haven’t had sex in 2 months.”

Me, “Because of him or because of you?”

Trent, “Because of me. I don’t know, I’m just not interested. I miss going out and just meeting guys. It’s not emotional, I try explaining that to him. When I am done with them, I am done with them. Like, I don’t even care what your name is, Bye. (silence) Just that feeling of being used, I like that. But, I don’t know, we tried the threesome thing and that didn’t work. We don’t know what to do.”

Me, “Well, Dr. Phil says a successful relationship is falling in and out of love. You have a good thing, something I would kill for.”

Trent, “I know, he is so good to me. I am just so restless.”

Me, “What’s the best sex you have ever had?”

Trent, “It was with the Married Israeli.”

Me, “Married to a woman?”

Trent, “Yeah, he had kids. We would meet in these hotels and it was so wrong. We would just have the best sex because it was so wrong. He was so hot. Sneaking around in hotels and just . . . it was really hot. But even that diminished after awhile.”

I listened and thought about how different everything seems from the driver’s seat. Would I be so desperate for love and sex if I had it every day, in my home? Or do I cherish it because I fall for men who live far away, and can only make love on scheduled days?

I said, “And the drinking, do you . . . think you have control over that?”

Trent said, quite matter of factly, “Oh, no. I know I have a drinking problem.”

I gave a half nod. I didn’t know where to go from there.

The night set in when we turned off the 10 freeway and I said, “I think I have come up with a biological reason for rape.”

Trent said, “Oh?”

I said, “Yes, the only way to insure that the man is passing off the most dominant genes available is to insure that he is at least stronger than a female, so to dominate her and rape her would pass strong genes, or at least strong enough genes to be suitable for conception. A weaker man, who couldn’t fight off a female, wouldn’t have the opportunity.”

Trent took pause then said, “That seems like a very logical explanation for rape.”

I said, “Really?”

We laughed.

Me, “Well, I have thought about it.”

Trent, “No, really. It seems quite logical.”

We stopped first for firewood and a flashlight. The first gas station didn’t have a flashlight.

We decided, if we were going to go camping, we really needed a flashlight. So we stopped at the 711 and bought one.

When we got to the gates of Joshua Tree, the ranger said all the campsites were full and gave me the following directions to over-flow camping:

Turn north on Sunfair Road and travel two miles to Broadway. Turn right (east) on Broadway. The pavement will end about 100 yards after this turn. Travel one mile to a line of telephone poles running perpendicular (north and south). This one lane, unmarked dirt road is Cascade. Turn left (north) and travel ½ mile until a single lane, unmarked dirt road is passed. This road is Sunflower. Camping is allowed for the next ½ mile on the east side of Cascade.

I read the directions at least six times as we were driving until we found two other tents.

We found a spot close enough to the other tents, so that we could run to them in the night if one of us was killed by a serial killer, but were still far enough that we wouldn’t die immediately from their illegal campfires.

I said, “How is this spot, right here?”

Trent, “Is that a buck shot?”

Me, “Looks like it. That’s what we will call our first campsite. Buck shot.”

We pitched a tent in the dark and crawled into our sleeping bags with chips, salsa and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Me, “This is like, what’s it called crop?”

Trent, “Crop circles?”

Me, “No, where they pluck the crop?” I am used to my thesaurus.

Trent, “Harvest.”

Me, “Yes, this is where they send us so the aliens can harvest us.”

We laughed, but fell asleep to the sounds of little robotic tweeting. And I am not kidding.

We heard footsteps. Then we heard radio equipment.

Trent, “Did you hear that?”

Me, “Yes.”

Trent, “They are coming for us.”

Me, “Oh well, what can we do now?”

We waited. And I worried about my nightmares.

But I fell asleep, and slept the best I had in weeks. Occasionally, I would wake up to footsteps and weird computer sounds, and listen. Then I would fall asleep and wake up rested and pleasant again.

We woke up at 6:30am.

I googled campsites.

Me, “If we are going to grab a campsite, we have to do it early.”

Trent, “I am ready.”

We broke down our site.

Later we talked about it.

Me, “I slept better than I have in weeks.”

Trent, “I think they just came to observe us.”

Me, “I was thinking the exact same thing.”

We decided to camp in Jumbo Rock. A) Because Trent told me he heard there is a big rock where the aliens landed once a long time ago and B) It had the most camping sites, so mathematically, our likelihood of finding a spot was higher there than anywhere else in the park.

We slowly drove by the early risers, and Trent said, “He gave us a nod.”

I stopped my car and waited. A boy of about 20 approached. He was in between being a boy and being a man. Tall, with baby soft skin and ruffled bed head. When he looked tired, you saw the eyes of a child waking up Christmas morning, not the man, red, cracked and desperate for more time.

Boy, “22 is going to leave at noon. You can take that spot and we will take 21.”

We followed them to the payment post and both put in our money for the sites.

I saw the plates. Me, “They are from Massachusetts. Fucking adorable.”

We stopped at the head of the campground.

Me, “How much is it?”

Boy, “$5”

Me, “Oh wait . . . it says Senior Citizens are $5. We are $10.”

The boy turned to his blonde male companion, fair and sunburned of about the same age “Dang it! We haven’t been paying enough. I think our manual guide was wrong.”

I smiled.

Trent said, “Seal the envelope so your money doesn’t’ fall out.”

Boy, “Oh, I just close it.”

Trent licked the sticky glue on the inside of the flap and delicately pressed so that my $10 would be safe and we parted ways.

To kill time, first we went looking for Skull Rock.

We followed the path and ran into an older man, hiking alone. His skin was getting leathery.

Man, “Hey, do you guys know Skull Rock? Have you seen it?”

Trent, “No, we haven’t seen it yet.”

Man, “Huh. I have been up and down and can’t see it. Sometimes the light at certain points of the day makes a big difference.”

We politely exchanged backgrounds.

Man, “I live on the road. I have been living out of my truck for 10 years now.”

Me, “How do you support yourself, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Man, “I retired.”

Me, “You look too young to be retired.”

Man, “Thanks. I am 55.”

Me, “That is still young to be retired.”

Man, “Yeah, well, I took my severance package and hit the road. I have never been happier. Life is backwards. You work while you are young, and then get to travel when you are older, when your body is falling apart. It makes it more difficult than if you were young and still can really enjoy everything.”

Me, “That’s why I have been trying to enjoy things as much as possible these last two years I have been unemployed.”

Without looking at me, he said, “Well, enjoy it now. You will be back in the rat race before you know it.”

I stared at the back of his head, as he heavily found footing. I wanted to say, “No I won’t.” But I really don’t know.

♫ ♪ Got a good reason . . . for taking the easy way out. ♫ ♪

We all stopped on the path so he could zoom in on a small lizard with his camera, then lose where the lizard was because he zoomed in too far, then found it again and took a picture. Then we got closer and he wanted a better angle.

When we got to Skull Rock, there was no denying it was Skull Rock.

Man, “That’s Skull Rock . . . maybe . . . maybe its the way the light hits it.”

Trent pointed out the eyes and nose.

Man, “I guess you have to use your imagination.”

Not really.

We drove down to more attractions off the main road, before the sun got too hot.

The men, readers . . . the men were gorgeous. Young men, unpacking their gear, tall, athletic, too young to know what life is like making car payments.

I drove by a tall, white boy who couldn’t be more than 22.

I said, slowly, “Happy Birthday.”

We stopped and I watched a lean Asian man take off his shirt and his friend rub him down with suntan lotion.

We were sitting by my car, drinking water in the parking lot, and I said in a low voice to Trent, “Oh . . . my . . . God. Hot. And I never like Asian men.”

Trent turned to look under the large cosmic radius of his Sunday best.

Trent, “He’s cute.”

Me, “God, my sexual drive is ridiculous. Just driving my car turns me on now. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can feel hot sweat crawling up my neck just looking at that.”

The Asian man stopped to smile at me before putting on his shirt.

Me, “Oh shit, can you hear me from over there?”

Trent, “He is only two cars away. Who cares? Its the desert.”

Me, “Mmmm hmmm.” He turned and smiled back at me.

We hiked to Wall Street Mill and Barker Dam, killing time, eating oreos and talking about ourselves, the men we loved, and where we might end up.

When we got back to the site at 12:30, the previous campers were gone and we erected a tent. I put large rocks inside the corners to anchor the tent and accidentally ripped a small tear in the corner.

Trent, “BE CAREFUL!”

Me, “Shit, sorry. I break everything.”

A woman came up as we were setting up, “Excuse me. We really need a campsite. My dog is very sick and we are putting him down on Monday. This is his favorite campsite and we just want to give that to him before he goes.”

Trent, “Sorry. I know its hard. We got up at the crack of dawn to get this site.”

Woman, “We have been to two other campsites. God . . . I don’t know what to do.”

My first compulsion was to say, “Come join us on our site. I think there are 3 tents allowed per site.”

Then I thought, “This bitch is manipulating me.”

How does she know I am a dog person? The bumper stickers on my car parked right next to our camping spot number.

I smiled, coldly, “Sorry.”

We saw the dog later, it looked like a healthy 3-yr old with lots of energy.

Then we sat down, made some soup, opened a can of beer and split a pill. He put his half in his beer and I put mine in my soup.

There was a bathroom near the campsite. Women would take several minutes in there, and, I assume, not all of them could have had a gratuitous bowel movement.

I would wait, and wait and wait.

Me, “What is taking them so long? (to the bathroom) There is no flusher. Stop looking!”

Trent, “They are looking for the vanity.”

A plain girl with glasses came out and shot us a cold look.

Then we walked behind the site, through rocks that looked like faces and bookshelves. He in his black Sunday hat, and me, in my heart-shaped glasses.

We saw a hare the size of a small dog. His ears alone were at least 2 and a half feet long.

Trent sang out, “Oh Mr. Rabbit . . .”

The hare stopped and stared.

Me, “You are so handsome. I want to grab you and love you. Will you let me do that?”

Trent, “So handsome. You are beautiful, aren’t you?”

He flickered his tail but ran off before we could get a picture.

I walked by a plant and it left one perfect puncture on my forearm.

Me, “OW!”

One bead of blood formed.

Me, “The desert wants my blood.”

Trent touched it and said, “ouch.” His fingertip sent a wave of warmth through my body. Was the drug here, yet?

It took about an hour for our stomachs to break down the fine powder and flood our brains with color.

The first symptom is mad fits of laughter. At about 50 minutes or so, we had ourselves in fits of giggling.

I accidentally swept my foot through a cactus, and the cactus fell apart into green goo. I fell down laughing, “Oh no. Oh no. (quieting down) I am sorry, cactus.”

Trent, “Are you ok?”

There were spikes from the cactus sticking out of my shoe.

Me, “Yes, but look what I did to the cactus. He is dying.”

I tried to fold the pieces of his body back together.

Trent, “Oooh. Feel how gooey it is inside. Its . . . gelatinous.”

I felt it, it was fleshy and warm.

We sat and gave the cactus a moment of silence. Then Trent said, “He understands.”

Over the rocks, the afternoon sun got weaker. A cool breeze found us up high, and a cool, rocky heat kept us warm below.

Trent, “Ughhh, I just want a man. I just want to fuck!”

I texted Abe that morning knowing that sex would enhance my trip. I started thinking about when he would come so he could touch me. Then I thought if I would ever make love to Trent, and figured I would given the opportunity.

Trent said, “I have made love to men and women. Both are nice, I just prefer men. I will have sex with a girl, if a guy is present. I have done all of that already.”

I said, “I saw your tattoo when you were drying off in the shower. I didn’t know you had Billie Holiday on your shoulder.”

Trent, “Oh . . . yeah. I got that tattoo when I was 18, before I knew portraits weren’t the best tattoos to get.”

I said, “It’s good for a portrait.”

Trent, “Yeah, its hard to do tattoo portraits. Oh well.”

Me, “I like it.”

Two men passed us with white socks stretched to their mid calf in khaki long shorts.

I lifted my nose up to catch the salt of their sweat.

Me, “I smell them. I can smell them.”

I lifted my torso up to the sky so I could fly into a cloud of pheromones.

Trent, “You know there is something on the tip of your nose to attract you to mates. A sensitive part of your nose picks up pheromones.”

Me, “MMMM, white man.”

Trent, “I just want one right now, to come along and fuck me right here.”

Me, “I don’t know about men in these parts, I would get raped and you would killed. And I am the winner in that scenario.”

He broke down laughing.

His phone was always out, he was trying to catch a signal to tell Kent he was ok. Nothing came.

We crossed the highway and discovered designs of animals and people outlined with a collection of rocks. A turtle. An endless spiral to Pi. A man with the words, “Feed Me” spelled out in rocks around his head.

Trent bent down and put his hands on the rocks that outlined a human head.

Trent, “Put your hands on him. Feed him.”

We put both our hands on him and I pushed energy into the mouth.

The sun was fading and we were back at Skull Rock.

Me, “Hey, Trent. Have you seen Skull Rock?”

Trent, “No. Maybe it’s the way the light hits.”

Me, “No, just use your imagination.”

Trent, “Let’s take lots of photos of lizards.”

Me, “Wow, my hands are really big right now.”

I held them up, they looked to each be about the size of my head.

Me, “That’s why its so easy to climb. My hands are huge. Look!”

Trent looked and laughed.

Me, “Use your imagination.”

Trent, “Maybe its the way the light hits.”

I sang, “♫ ♪ Dayyyy tripper ♫ ♪

Trent continued the tune, “♫ ♪ It took me so long to find out . . . I found out. ♫ ♪

As the sun set, we made our way back to our campsite.

Trent said, “Oh look! There she is . . .”

I said, “Who?” Then saw the girl from the bathroom.

Me, “Oh, Miss Hygiene.”

She saw us and immediately collected her things and her friends and ran down the hill. I don’t know if it was the drug, but it certainly seemed like she was running away from us.

Trent, “Look, she is running away.”

Me, “She wants to be as far from us as possible. Geez, what’s her problem?”

We scampered down the hill, Trent in his Sunday hat and me, in my heart shaped sunglasses, laughing wildly at everything.

The campers kept away from us. They cooked their barbeque, and drank out of their water bottles, put on their State College Sweatshirts and kept far, far from us.

Trent and I negotiated on how to build a fire. We had a starter log and one of those push button lighters, and eventually it got started. I went back to my car and smoked a cigarette, then realized I lit a small fire in my car.

I don’t know how exactly, but the empty cigarette box turned into one big flame. I held it up, and blew on it, but flares of plastic and paper blew into my car. So I threw it outside and stomped on it.

Trent came around the large bush supporting our tent.

Trent, “There you are.”

Me, “I stopped a fire . . . in my car.”

Trent, “You have got to stop smoking.”

There is a dry bush, found in the parts of the desert, with long arms and fingernails waiting to scratch out your eyes and make you bleed. There is no life on her, no leaves, no flower, just the bitter daggers of a naked brush we named “Bertha.”

We only bought 6 logs for the fire at a nearby gas station. As we started our fire, and the night came upon us, the winds picked up and we realized we needed more wood.

I grabbed pieces of Bertha, who was reluctant to give any part of herself to us. The woman is just a bitch.

I broke off a couple branches and dropped them in the pile with the rest of the wood. When it was time to throw in more wood, I picked up her arms, and she grabbed a hold of my new purple, fleece blanket and whipped it around like it was a flag on the mountain of Iwo Jima.

I saw her arms, and those fists of rage reach around both sides of my blanket, and I fought. Trent sat there laughing as I broke free of her violent embrace.

I threw down the blanket and broke her arms with my foot.

Me, “Bertha. What a bitch.”

I used other kindling, and decided Bertha wanted more respect before being thrown into a fire of sacrifice.

So I sat across from her and ate some soup.

Trent came back from the bathroom and pointed at the fire.

Trent, “Is that Bertha in there?”

I said, “Oh no. That’s Bertha, right there.” I motioned to the standing brush across from me, over the fire.

Me, “Its the only damn plant I have ever had to take to dinner before using in a campfire.”

I spoke to her.

Me, “What more can I do for you? Would you like some of my soup?”

She stared at me. Stubborn. Dry.

I turned away from her and saw our tent flapping in the wind.

I fought. I fought hard. But I got that nasty woman in the fire and broken down for the flames. I even heard a bitter cackle from her, as her arm disintegrated in ash.

Trent, “We need more wood. I am really worried now.”

I went over to the campers two sites over and asked if I could use their wood. What I saw was at least two trees they cut down and stacked next to the fire, and a case of vodka bottles.

The two men looked Mongolian in nature and didn’t speak English. I kept repeating the one word I thought they would understand, “Money?” “Money. “Money!” They said, “No money. Take”

So I took a piece of a tree back and it kept us warm for awhile.

We sat there.

I pointed to the lone tree next to us.

Me, “Look at him. I think he wants to be called Freddy.”

Trent, “Pete.”

Me, “Petey. He just wants a little warmth from the fire. Just wants a little hello.”

His head was bobbing in the wind, like a shy, tall kid at the school dance.

Trent, “He is so polite. He doesn’t want to intrude. Please, Pete. Join us.”

Me, “Yes, you are more than welcome.”

He bobbed his head, his bark looking like a skinny tie between hunched shoulders and just the hint of a smile.

There was no time to enjoy this. We needed to think about the future. We needed more wood.

I grabbed the hatchet Baye gave me.

I said, “Let’s do this. We have to go out there and kill a tree.”

Trent obediently followed. Giggling. Shivering. On his own trip.

I touched the edge, “Hard to believe they used to scalp people with this. I guess the Native Americans weren’t perfectionists.”

We ran up the hill and I raised the hatchet to a tree, then shouted, “Psyche!”

The tree was not amused.

I said, “You look too healthy to kill. Just kidding.”

We ran further up and I started frantically bludgeoning a piece of a tree. We had no flashlight, only the flashlight app on Trent’s phone.

Then we heard the hiss of a zipper. A tent was 20 ft away, and they were getting out!

We ran, higher up the hill.

I said, “Here, let’s do this one.”

Trent, “Aww. He looks healthy.”

I said, “But he has 6 heads, and we only have one.”

He held it steady while I decapitated one of its bobbing faces.

I looked back, panting, holding the hatchet like an animal, like a beast. Something in me changed. I was an asshole. A self-serving, tree mutilating, hatchet wielding asshole.

In the dark, under the wind, I whispered a, “Sorry, but you will grow back.”

We went back to our fire. Bertha was almost gone, but let’s face it, she is everywhere all the time. The wind really picked up and the fire whipped my blanket over flying embers.

Trent was getting frustrated, “Be careful! You might catch fire.”

I said, “The desert will keep us safe.”

After 15 minutes I said:

“We have to go inside the tent.”

Trent said, “I know, the wind is just too much.”

We crawled inside and split another half of a pill. We poured each half into the synthetic, vegan creme of our oreos, and chased it with a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Then we fell to silence. The tent whipped. Our neighbors showed up and chatted. We shivered in our sleeping bags and I felt odd to be with a man I liked and have no sexual tension.

Car lights.

First white.

Then Red.

I looked out the open flap of our tent. Trent was asleep.

Abe was in a hoodie walking towards the small group of college kids chain-smoking over their fire.

I sent him a text earlier, before entering the park.

“Camping at Jumbo Rocks. Get map before coming.”

I didn’t think he would come.

What time was it?

I screamed a whisper, “ABE! ABE!! Over here.”

He turned and saw me, then walked around.

Abe’s big head thrust into our delicate little tent. The wind was still violent. It wanted Bertha back.

Abe, “Hey, how’s it going?”

Trent said, “Who is that?”

I said, “Abe.”

Trent said, “He actually came?”

I said, “I am staring at him.”

Abe said something to me, I don’t remember.

The stars in the sky were green, red and white. They weren’t shooting, but they were definitely moving. The whole universe was out there and alive in a rainbow of colors. I couldn’t focus on one thing, everything was in constant motion, varying in degrees of color and focus.

I said, “Oh my God, the sky is . . . moving. There are red stars.”

Abe, “You took those pills huh?”

Me, “Yes, we have been tripping since noon.”

Abe, “Cool.”

I retreated back into the tent, “It’s freezing out there.”

Abe smoked a cigarette.

I moved my sleeping bag so my body was inside the tent, while my head hung outside.

I saw Abe over the fire, he had a great fire going. The end of his lit cigarette smeared across the night sky, with what looked like a torch.

Trent, “What is he doing out there?”

Me, “He lit a torch.”

Trent, “A TORCH!?”

Me, “YEAH. He is waving it around.”

Abe leaned into me, with menacing eyes, “Bertha smells good!!”

Me, “He has Bertha in the fire and on his torch. He just comes in and dominates her, then gets what he wants. That’s the secret, isn’t it? Take what you want. Nature doesn’t want apologies. It wants domination.”

Trent, “He beat Bertha?”

Me, “YES!”

The orange from the flame on the end of the stick he was tapping left orbiting circles around my red and white stars. It was around this time, the ground started breathing white light. It lifted off the ground like fog, but it was thick, heavy like his headlights.

The manic fits of laughing ensued. Trent and I were a chorus of hysterics. Abe heard us from outside and chuckled.

It was around this time, the woman, probably around my age, who was in the tent next to ours with her 3-yr old child and husband, stomped over and said, “Its too late for this. I mean . . . enough is enough now. We have a child in our tent and its very late. You are ruining our trip.”

Abe apologized on our behalf, then stuck his big head back in the tent and said, “Ok, we have to quiet down now.”

Trent and I laughed hysterically, with our hands over our mouths and our abdominal muscles crunching with fits of gasping laughter. Tears were pouring down my face.

Me, “Ruining her trip? SHE is ruining OUR trip.”

Trent, “That’s right.”

Me, “Tomorrow morning, I want you to go see that little girl and say, “Sorry for ruining your trip, but you ruined my birthday.”

My voice lowered, almost into a bad Nixon impression, and I said, “If I want to go to the desert and use hallucinogenics, that’s my God damn right as an American citizen.”

Abe tried to reign us in.

We were laughing. The wind was blowing. The kids behind us were still chattering.

I knew we were being assholes.

But . . . come on. Its MY trip too, man.

Me, “And why didn’t her husband come out to talk to us? I’ll tell you why. CAUSE HE’S SLEEPING!”

Abe said quietly, hoping we would follow, “She won’t bother us again, ok?”

I turned to Trent, “It’s your birthday.”

Trent mumbled an intoxicated, “It is?”

Me, “Yes.”

Trent, “Time for a birthday drink.”

He opened a can of PBR.

Every 20 minutes, Trent and I were stumbling through the two campsites between us and the restroom, or, more suitably called, the big fucking hole in the ground.

Abe whispered, “You and Trent are going to the bathroom to pee a lot.”

I said, “I am not peeing. I just need to go somewhere and sit down for awhile.”

Abe, “Oh no.”

I said, “I think I have dysentery.”

Abe, “If you had dysentery on your diet, I would be amazed.”

Trent came in and collapsed on the ground. “Have you looked at the sky out there?”

Me, “I know.”

Trent, “It is so beautiful. I have never seen that many stars in my life.”

Me, “And they are all moving.”

We were lying in a pool of spilled beer.

We didn’t have the light or the energy to really do anything about it but complain, laugh, and open more.

The wind tore at the top of our tent.

Trent to the sky, “OKKKK, we get it.”

Me, “Jesus, is this about Bertha?”

Silence.

I turned to Trent, “It’s your birthday.”

Trent mumbled an intoxicated, “It is? Time for a birthday drink.”

The wind slapped on us more sporadically as the night stood still. Trent got quiet and his breathing became rhythmic.

Abe reached over and manually gave me an orgasm. When I came, I felt like white water was bursting through a door. The moment was so intense, my mind went blank in the spilling salty foam of adrenaline and serotonin. I lost my voice. My throat tickled and my body twitched in one epic convulsion. I didn’t care that Trent was right next to me. I didn’t care about the bitchy woman whining about our laughter in the middle of the night.

The floor was breathing white light, almost like a strobe but slow.

Long heartbeats of white, glowing light rising off the ground.

I said, “Do you see the white light?”

Abe said, “No.”

I said, “There is white light all around us. Its coming off the ground.”

Abe said, “Well, we are on sacred land, so that makes sense.”

His breathing slowed, and his responses stopped.

Both of them were asleep on either side of me now.

I laid there.

I couldn’t sleep.

I closed my eyes. Even the college kids were asleep now.

Voices came in my head. Male voices.

Men I never met before.

They were writers.

I could throw out names that came to mind, but I won’t claim I was speaking to them. I was high, let’s not forget.

Trent and I were discussing the beatniks earlier in the day, so Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg felt familiar.

It’s not as though I heard words ring through in their voices, it was more like a feeling being psychically communicated.

“Welcome” and “Enjoy”

Then I saw the corner of a mouth.

I knew it was Hunter. He was on my mind since my date with Buddy, and blogging about the duel suicide attempts. I never really noted that coincidence before. Of course, it connects my ego to greatness, but more importantly, he gives me permission to live the way I am called to live.

Recently, I have been writing publications in search of work and noting in my cover letters that I practice “Gonzo Journalism.” I have gotten no response.

From Hunter, this night, the message was more personal, again not in words, more in some kind of psychic greeting card I heard, “You gotta live like an asshole . . . at least some of the time.”

I thought to him, “But I mutilated a tree out there.”

He said, “Sometimes the freedom to live looks like an asshole carrying a hatchet.”

I thought about how Abe came in and made this beautiful fire in what felt like seconds, no apologies. He just took what he wanted and it made everything simpler. I have been apologizing for so long, I don’t even know what that feels like.

Now, if you read my blog, you might conclude that I am full of shit. An apologetic life is hardly prancing around Los Angeles with pit bulls and drugs, avoiding anything resembling a normal life. I have been doing what I want, but I have also been apologizing for it.

To be continued . . .

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Come on and Touch Me

Dear Readers, it has been about two weeks since my last blog . . .  (bad Catholic school reference)

Its been difficult finding the time to write and also drumming up enough confidence to put more of myself out there.

My new roommate has taken over my living room and all the mental space that comes with that room. Where I used to sit and stare quietly at a blank computer screen with dogs at my feet, now comes with the musical tinkerings and spotty small talk of a male, black actor with nowhere to live.

Laying on my couch one morning, he just woke up and said, “Maybe I should just give up and move back to the East coast.”

I said, “And do what?” That is my response to all “giving up” themed conversations.

He said, “I don’t know what. Maybe go to New York.”

I said, “Have you been to New York before?”

He said, “That’s where I started acting. I studied in New York and London.

I said, “You STUDIED in London!? You can’t give up. You are way more qualified than me to be an actor.”

I am a floater, someone who enjoys entertaining people. I am not a craftswoman in the art of theater or acting. I don’t mind that, in some ways that makes me more marketable, in others less deserving. Its just the world of entertainment.

He didn’t move to the east coast. He is still on my couch, occasionally complaining about how dirty I am or reiterating how quirky I am, as if I needed to be reminded. The truth is, I am not that dirty nor that quirky- and if I am, I have been curbing it a considerable amount since I started sharing my space. I just don’t understand the needling. Its not like I am moody, even when he does stupid fucking things like leave dog shit on the ground because its not his responsibility or leaving endless trash bags around the house for me to throw out.

I don’t raise my voice, and I don’t get frustrated. How in the world could I still qualify as crazy?

And the needling got to me. After a month of birth control pills and a Plan B pill . . . then losing Em, I felt like a skinned, raw version of myself. Every little comment at work or from a friend pinched a little too hard. I questioned whether or not I deserved to be heard on the blog, or on Facebook or at all. It did get that bad in my mind.

At Doggie Daycare, Jude, Camille and Swiss left to move on to other things. Those of the original cast of characters that still remain were promoted to other positions. I am left somewhere in the middle, seemingly by myself. I don’t want more responsibility, but I feel inadequate.

Though I might not let many people in to my inner world, I still get attached to them. I am very sad to lose them in my daily life.

Old, familiar feelings of considering what the point is of even living if I am going to be such a royal fuck-up spiked in my stomach.  I realize putting myself in a position of always struggling (financially or otherwise) turns me into a bit of a black hole. New friends want to help, they give inspirational speeches, sometimes cash, sometimes clothes . . . at some point, that does get old and exhausting. My greatest fear is watching that happen with Alan.

I could never kill myself, and as pathetic and unstable as THIS sounds, the truth is I am obligated to take care of my animals until they die. It seems weak, but it is enough of an excuse to force me to get through a period of depression.

So in the last couple weeks, I have visited old friends and new friends, just to find myself again; grab on to their affection for me and recognize a version of myself in their company. Em was so fucking harsh, I needed to recover from the beating.

I decided to visit my cowboy whore . . . Joel who was upset by my sudden disappearance and hard discovery of Alan on the blog.

JOEL

I was doing audience work in Culver and his French bar/restaurant was kitty corner to the studio, so I dropped by. I sipped a perfect martini while he hustled around me.

He ended his shift early and sat down to speak with me.

I said, “I know you are upset about the whole way this went down, and I am sorry. I never intended for that to be the way it happened.”

He said, “I was upset. WAS. I am over it. I have no interest in you whatsoever.”

Pause.

He looked away, “That’s not entirely true.”

I said, “I feel badly about the $100 and I feel badly that I met him so soon afterward.”

He said, “Don’t feel bad about the $100. That was my gift to you, as a friend. I just went back and read about how you looked at me and realized you really didn’t like me at all. I sound like a total asshole.”

I said, “Well, I kinda thought you were, but its just my perception of how things were. Its not who you are.”

He said, “I know that. And this guy, how’s it going with this new guy?”

I said, “Good. He um . . . makes me nervous.”

The vodka was making the flame on our table candle look like a fuzzy Christmas light.

I said, “I sometimes wonder if he is making me fall in love with him. Like he is manipulating me. I just  . . . think something is going on behind his eyes.”

Joel grabbed my hand, “No there is not. And there wasn’t with me either.”

I said, “I know I am having trust issues. And I am fully aware I am in another long distance relationship by my own doing.”

He looked me over, his eyes were softening.

I said, “I think I am having issues from Abe, you know, he just got up and left. And Alan could do that at any time, too. It makes me kind of crazy. Maybe this relationship is too close to Abe.”

Joel said, “Does your boyfriend know you are thinking about this other guy?”

I said, “I am not hung up on Abe romantically, I am just scared of it all happening all over again.”

Joel said, “I feel better. I am glad we talked.”

I think, and just because I think it does not make it so, but I think Joel was struggling with why Alan and not him; why he was the lover and not the boyfriend. We all have been in that place, I have. I had an affair with a married man who later divorced his wife and got a new girlfriend (who was not me). That still stings even though I could care less about the guy.

The truth is Joel is a good guy, and though I think I only had an affair with a manipulated version of him, he deserves someone that can love him and understand him. We didn’t fit. Alan and I fit.

We hugged goodbye in the parking garage and I could smell the Old Spice on him. I made a flirtatious joke and he thanked me again, offering to see me whenever I was on that side of town.

I drove home and don’t remember much of what I said, but I am fairly certain I had a terrible phone call with Alan. One of my fosters was missing from the bedroom, he popped the screen and took off, leaving me frazzled and neurotic.

I kept apologizing for bothering him and said I was sorry I called. Alan said in a low voice, “I hope you find the foster.”

Well, I did find the foster, he was in my yard. I seem to have extraordinary luck with dogs and cats coming back to me on their own accord.  I called Alan to tell him, no answer. I pinged him on IM, no answer. I texted him, no answer.

Drunk fears of it being Abe all over again erupted and I said we should take a break from the relationship and re-access at the end of the week.

The next morning, he pinged me, “you didn’t hurt anything.. im just caught up in my own BS.. but yea.. we’re fine.. just so you know though.. these conversations.. about whether you annoyed me or will annoy me at some point.. really fucking annoy me.. especially when we have them every few hours like we have the last two days.. “

I pinged back, “Ok.” And went off-line.

I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend who ignores my drunk efforts of self-sabotage. Even luckier to find in my inbox the next day a love song he sent me with the note:

“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” MP3

This song nicely sums up how I feel right now.  😀

I miss you!”

ANGIE

Angie, the foster, had been with me for three weeks now. I drove her and two other fosters I cared for over the weekend to a transport at a truck stop in the Inland Empire. I decided to keep Brad. He was still following me room to room, looking up and smiling at me like he was . . .  proud. His attachment is still so intense, I knew it would be traumatic to leave him. I couldn’t do that to him. So with me he stays.

Angie was to go up to Canada to a new family, and as I waited to hand her off, I started weeping. I was going to try and control myself until after the transport showed up, but everything came pouring out of me. I don’t know if you are familiar with the weak, broken, relief of crying to yourself in the morning. Its nice, actually. A sacred relinquishment of everything before it even happens.

The guy handling the transport felt bad and kept apologizing. I told him it was fine. I just didn’t want Angie to think, “Why Brad and not me? Why is she sending me off?” Its hard not projecting human thought and emotion on animals who gain more intimacy with me than most people. I understand she is not capable of highly complicated ideas like one being chosen over the other, but studies do show dogs are conscious and aware of favoritism.

I just knew she would adjust to a new home better than Brad. Brad was . . . mine. He gave me no choice.

I grabbed a coffee at the Starbuck’s (in the Ralph’s) and kept weeping in public, because at this point I am really used to it. Most people ignored me, and as I waited in line for a new cashier to figure out how to void a $1,000 charge for someone ahead of me, a song popped on the speakers. “M-I-C K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E . . . Mickey Mouse . . .” I sniffled and laughed. The guy ahead of me turned around and smiled, despite my tears.

I said, “Why … just . . . why?”

He laughed, “Someone is laughing their ass off in the back room, somewhere.”

I took care of some business at the FedEx nearby and filtered any contact with Alan. I was feeling far too sensitive to engage with my new, long distance boyfriend. It was a disaster waiting to happen. So I protected him . . . and me.

TRENT & KENT

The next Tuesday, I went over to hang out with Trent and Kent who I had not seen in several weeks.

It was summer vacation for Kent, the high school biology teacher, and Trent was still too injured to work at Doggie Daycare. In fact, both Trent and Kent had injured their right hand on separate occasions, and both were in casts. It is frickin’ adorable. Both get their casts taken off on August 1st. As Huey Lewis sings “That’s the Power of Love.”

Trent and Kent were enjoying a gram of cocaine while I nibbled a healthy portion of my psychedelic mushroom. We decided to put on “Across The Universe”, since Alan’s love song came from the film. When I told Alan of my impending trip and we said goodnight, he wrote, “See you on the other side.”

Even though I hadn’t seen Trent or Kent in a while, strutting into their 1 bedroom apartment felt inviting. I was relaxed.

Trent said, “Can I read you this? Do you know Dorothy Parker?”

I said, ‘I know of her, but I haven’t read her.”

Trent (reading) “Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren’t lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live.’ Isn’t that funny? She tried to kill herself so many times unsuccessfully she just gave up and said, might as well keep living. She failed with suicide and failed with life, so its kind of the same.”

Sounds like me.

I sat down in my usual massage chair, parallel to the bed.

Kent, “Hey can I ask you something? Have you ever been woken up in your sleep by a fart so terrible, it actually burned your nose hairs.”?

I laughed, “Um, I don’t think so.”

Kent, “Its happened to me twice. TWICE!”

Trent laughed, “You eat the same things.”

Kent, “Your farts wake me up.”

When shrooms take hold, your stomach feels very warm and heavy, you think you are going to throw up, then pee, then throw up, your head gets light and then off you go, into the stars.

I crawled away from the massage chair towards the TV set, which got bigger and brighter. The song, “If I Fell” came on as two new lovers watched each other across the room. The music swallowed me.

Alan says he always likes to know what he is looking for before he trips. In this case, the trip found me.

♪ ♫ If I fell in love with you,
Would you promise to be true,
And help me understand.

‘Cause I’ve been in love before,
And I found that love was more,
Than just holding hands.

If I give my heart to you,
I must be sure,
From the very start,
That you would love me more than her. ♪ ♫

I fell to the ground in front of the TV set, tears streaming down my face and I felt the music inside of me, like I had eaten the song, not the shroom.

Trent was on top of Kent and they were gazing into each others eyes singing.

I crawled into the bathroom to blow my nose and caught my reflection in the mirror. One thing I learned in Undergrad was never look in the mirror when you are on psychedelics. Its just too . . . much.

My face was pink, bags were forming under my red eyes, forcing the tears to spread out on my face. I bowed down on the tile floor and heard the lyrics.

♪ ♫ If I trust in you, oh please,
Don’t run and hide.
If I love you too, oh please,
Don’t hurt my pride like her.
Cause’ I couldn’t stand the pain,
And I would be sad if our new love was in vain. ♪ ♫

The tenderness in her voice was echoing in my head. The tiles on the floor spread out and vibrated like they were the fret dots on a guitar.

I texted Alan, “I am singing to you, can you hear me?”

Several minutes later, Alan texted, “Something made me wake up and go get my phone. Its on silent too. Nice trick. :)”

I crawled back out on the floor and in between the bed and their night stand, where only a few lines of cocaine remained, I bowed in front of the speaker and wept. It felt like everything wonderful was pouring out of me.

Kent asked if I was ok, and I said “They are tears of joy. This feels good, I am sorry. I am sorry you have to see this.”

Trent said, “Don’t apologize, its ok.”

I said, “I am just in this moment learning to trust him with my heart. I am letting go of it and I am going to have to trust him.”

Trent, “Who Alan?”

I mumbled, “Yes” My forehead was pressed against my clasped hands like I was praying.

Trent said more things, something about you have to learn to trust to love. Everything was going to be ok.

What do you say to someone crying at the foot of your bed because they are in love?

♪ ♫ So I hope you see that I
would love to love you
And that she will cry
When she learns we are two . . . ♪ ♫

The light from a warm, floor lamp was parallel to the speakers. I put my hand against the light and saw all the warmth and love of the Beatles flood the spaces between my fingers. That was Alan. The light between my fingers.

The universe was going to protect me.

I collected myself and said, “I am just remembering that my father sang and played some early Beatles music on guitar- and recorded it for my mother when he was in Vietnam. He mailed her the recordings. I remember listening to them when I was little.”

I would sit in my father’s study and listen to his music, including the recordings from Vietnam. He sounded like a different person. When Agent Orange settled into his thyroid, my father lost his voice. Since I have known my father, it has been difficult for him to speak. Now he takes injections in his throat so he can speak clearly without great effort. However, he has never been able to sing in my lifetime.

My song came on. In the film, the song isn’t about lust but the draft for the Vietnam war. An interesting take, not particularly romantic. The film version of the song is heavier, bluesier, and I think sexier.

Kent said, “Here’s your song. Here it is!”

♪ ♫ I want you,
I want you so bad,
I want you so bad its driving me mad,
Its driving me mad. ♪ ♫

Kent’s carpet was dancing underneath me to my song.

In the film, there were moments of Civil Rights protests and beatings, then war sequences I couldn’t handle. I asked them to turn it off and play real Beatles music til I got my mind back.

When I listened to the Beatles sing to me, I wondered how this music can exist for so long, and everyone can love it but we still make the same mistakes. They are letting us know what life can be, what we are apart of, that everything’s gonna be alright. And I believe them.

We put the movie back on, and Sexy Sadie (a character in the film) slowly grew into a terrible characterization of Janis Joplin. Trent and I are huge Janis fans and we just had a strong reaction to a cheeseball, broad stroke representation of one of the most phenomenal female vocalists of all time.

Sadie broke up with her band. She was drinking whiskey out of the bottle. She had big hair. Blah blah blah.

Every time she came up to sing, Trent and I groaned.

Trent, “I have to go feed my cat.”

Kent, “I think she does a good job.”

Trent, “No one can do Janis, its just so obvious.”

Kent, “Well its supposed to be obvious.”

Trent, “You just don’t understand. You don’t love Janis like we do.”

Kent left with a cigarette when Sadie came on again.

Trent chased his drugs with an energy drink, “Augh, I want to throw my Monster at her.”

The movie was a Glam MTV version of the 60s, forcing morbid visuals on light ballads of hope. I didn’t really care for that. I can say, that night the Beatles became more apart of me. They were the sliver of light I needed to guide my mind on its way.

♪ ♫ Words are flying out like,
Endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither while they pass,,
They slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow,
Waves of Joy,
Are drifting through my open mind,
Possessing and caressing me ♪ ♫

♪ ♫ Jai Guru Deva Om,
Nothing’s gonna change my world. ♪ ♫

I felt their harmony grab my chest and squeeze. My reality and my world is precious. I have to protect it from the fear that I am worthless.

The fear that Alan would dislike me, that Em and her husband were right about what an embarrassment I was, that my mother and father were correct to think I am drawing out a lifetime of failure . . . all of this garbage was washing off me in drops of rhythm and melody, and draining through the floor boards.

♪ ♫ Nothing’s gonna change my world. ♪ ♫

The Beatles saved me, from myself.

Now, Trent and Kent were coming down from coke. If you haven’t done coke before, you may not know the chase of desperation in keeping the high. For the first time, I was around coke and I didn’t want to partake. I didn’t want to feel desperate that night, I wanted to get back in my life without feeling guilty or inadequate.

While they were coming down, the liquor stores closed and Kent was ansy for something to sink his mind back into.

We only had a granola bar, water, some chips left but they were squashed and broken up in very small pieces and a bottle of gin.

Trent made Kent a drink with what we had. He handed it to Kent.

Kent, “What’s in it?”

Trent, “Just some Gin and sweet & low and some other stuff.”

Kent sipped, “Eugh! Where is the ice, where is the water? You call this a cocktail?”

Trent grabbed the glass, stuck his nose in the air and turned back towards the kitchen.

Kent, “Its not a cocktail without ICE.”

His eyebrows were frozen in huge arches over his eyes.

I said, “Wow, look at that expression.”

He said, “Its the same expression I give to my brother when he brings me a cup of black coffee in the morning. No sugar, no cream . . . just black. I hold it up and say ‘What is this? You did NOT just bring me a cup of black coffee.”

Frozen arched eyebrows.

Kent and Trent were back on their late night routine of reviewing on-line profiles for a third in a possible threesome.

Trent, “I hate sleeping. I just sit here alone while he sleeps.”

Kent, “And then I wake up and there is someone ugly and fat with a small dick at my front door . . . with braces.”

I laughed.

Kent, “I am always open and friendly with these guys, but Trent is so mean. It scares them off. He tells them crazy shit like he is an orphan.”

Trent, “Yeah, I tell them I am an orphan from Germany. I tell them all sorts of shit, and they just sit there and go, ‘oh. Cool.’”

Kent, “Of course they leave, you make them uncomfortable.”

Trent, “That last guy? He gave me attitude. He gave me this head wiggle. And once he gave me that! I was done.”

Kent, “He was cute.”

Trent swallowed a laugh, “No, he wasn’t. You thought you saw him at Vons. (to me) He points at this tall black guy in produce and says, ‘Is that the guy that came up to have a threesome with us?’ I said, ‘Uh, no. THAT guy is cute. The guy that came over was NOT.”

Kent, “No one is good enough for him. He invites these guys over and doesn’t think any of them are cute. I don’t need a threesome. I don’t care. I am happy with just him. But he says, ‘Hey Kent, you want to get blown or plow this guy?’ And I say, ‘Yeah ok.” I haven’t been blown or plowed ANYONE yet. NO ONE.”

I said, “Wait, all this time you guys invite men over and you have never succeeded in a threesome?”

Kent, “No. Not once. Trent invites them over, drills them and then rejects them. Meanwhile, I don’t get anything.”

Frozen arched eye brows.

Me, “Wow. Its your black coffee look.”

Kent laughed, “You understand my frustration. Nothing ever happens.”

Trent, “I am sorry they don’t get my sharp wit, ok? There I said it. I am sorry I am  . . .not stupid.”

Me, “Wait, is this what all your late nights are like? Sitting around at 4am arguing over threesomes that never happen.”

Kent, “Pretty much.”

ABE

Out of the blue one night, I got an email from Abe.

Abe: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 10:44 PM
Thought about chatting with you.  Ask how you doin? I dont want to upset you.  Hope all is well.

Me: Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 3:51 PM
All is well. Don’t worry about upsetting me, I am at peace with everything.

I am in a relationship with someone special now, so it seems it all worked out for the best.

Thanks for the brief note, I wish you lots of luck and happiness.

Goodbye.

Abe: Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 8:10 PM
Good news is good news 🙂

Abe:  Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM
I don’t know of will ever communicate in future.

Sometime it takes time for me to understand certain things.  I’ve thought about many things that I learnd from you.  When you were with me, it felt like livin.  I felt alive.  V 22 4 7.  Won’t forget the good times, and the bad.  I remember bleeding, I remember peace, I remember Love, I remember You.  YOU who showed me that I can live.  I was so terribly alone, then you came a showed me there is still life in me.   I miss you, I know I shouldn’t be writing you that, this, but I want to  and I don’t know If I can write you in the future, or assuming you wouldn’t want me to

You deserve to Be well and live the life.  You really do.  You do.

Thanks for the note, Wishing you much Luck, and even more happiness

GoodBye

I never answered him.

ALAN

Alan found time to come up and visit me that weekend, which was unexpected. We planned for him to stay down in San Diego and study for the entire trimester.

He came up and we had our usual two days of taboo sex, Captn’ Crunch and thrift store shopping.

At my computer, looking for a doggie gate for his new place on Craigslist, he said, “You know, in a year, when my lease is up, we could move to a place like Oceanside. I like Oceanside. I could finish school there but I wouldn’t be able to afford a good enough place.”

I looked up, hopeful, and said, “Thats ok, I don’t need a good place.”

He motioned to the dogs, “I mean . . . for them.”

I hunched, “Oh, right.” Now I have three dogs and his, would make four.

He said, “You could get a job just for a year to save up enough to get a place with me.”

I said, “I don’t belong in regular jobs. You don’t understand, its soul crushing until I sabotage myself and get fired.”

He said, “Thats ok, its just to save up.”

I said, “I can’t do it again. Every time I look at admin jobs my skin crawls. My last job, every day, they tried to make me cry. They wanted me to cry.” A couple times they succeeded.

He said, “Not everyone is like that.”

I said, “I know . . . “

I had a glimpse of my future in Oceanside, supporting my boyfriend’s graduate education and career in law while I submit to an office job. Isolated from the grit and unpredictability of Los Angeles. Away from my friends. Away from Doggie Daycare. Away from everything that makes me who I am right now.

Just a year, then probably another in Oceanside. That’s two years of looking young and not auditioning. That’s two more years of resignation from my lifestyle. I won’t be me anymore, and who knows if he will love who ever I become.

It is a fair proposition. I must bring something more to the relationship than dogs and debt.

JERRY

Jerry is someone I worked with at a dot com years ago. He stayed in touch with me, honestly I am not sure why. We were never close buddies in the flesh, but on-line he has become a sort of confidant and guardian angel.

He gave me money when my phone was turned off so I could be back on-line and get work. My parents refused to loan the money in exchange for a post-dated check.

He took me clothes shopping with his tax refund and waited outside the dressing room like a gentleman.

He helps me with my computer when ever I have an inevitable meltdown.

He has never hit on me or made me uncomfortable. With all his help and advice, I must say, I don’t feel like I know him very well.

We met at the 101 CoffeeShop yesterday.

I told  him I was feeling depressed about a few things, and mentioned Em. He follows my blog regularly and said, “Yeah that was weird. You know when people say things to hurt you, you don’t react the way most people do. When you have a mother who dumps a load of shit on you in 5 minutes of conversation over the phone, some of it out of left field and then hangs up on you . . .”

Me, “That’s me. Did you know that’s me?”

Jerry, “That’s what I am talking about. See, you’re laughing about it. So you lean back and kind of look at people with this puppy dog look.  Like you’re over there, watching yourself or a scene in a movie. You don’t give them the reaction they want and it drives them fucking crazy.”

This was the first time anyone articulated this to me. I had no idea Jerry really knew me this well.

Jerry, “When you hurt someone and you say things with the intention to get a reaction, its the end of the road for that relationship. You don’t cry or breakdown or give them anything to reach out to. You just have the wall and they have to figure out how to get around that. Its hard.”

I nodded over my black coffee and partial grapefruit. He was right. I wondered how I have been friends with someone for four years and had no concept of how wise or perceptive they are.

He also spoke to me about why men who become smitten with my on-line character end up so sour and frustrated over our non-relationships. I am going to save that one for a later blog.

PAUL

Paul is a DJ for a classic rock station in Los Angeles. He and I have never met before, but I took a chance and emailed him asking about Doors tickets for the Whiskey A-Go-Go … now sold out (shoot me). We struck up a Facebook/GChat friendship and agreed to rendezvous at some point.

Several weeks later, we decided on the original Barney’s Beanery since I read recently it was Jim Morrison’s favorite place to eat and I know Janis Joplin recorded the background to “Turtle Blues” there. I swear there is another song . . . I can’t remember what it is.

I got there before he did and used the restroom. In my bathroom stall was a tall picture of Janis, handwritten on her shoulder, “RIP Janis Joplin’s Last Meal: Screwdriver@Barney’s.” I smiled at her and said, “Hey babe.”

Barney's Beanery- West Hollywood

I came out and met Paul, who was tall. That rhymes.

We both confessed that we were nervous for no good reason, and he gave me a t-shirt and a few other radio station trinkets.

The conversation was about introductions. Me and my boyfriend. He and his wife. What our lives are like.

We each had about 3 pints of beer and grew more comfortable.

Paul, “So what are you doing after this?”

I said, “I have an audition for a Christian film.”

He spit out his beer laughing and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know why that’s so funny.”

I said, “Because is weird and random.”

I poorly handled a few compliments. He offered to show me the plaque for Jim’s spot at the bar. (sidenote* He also urinated on this particular bar)

Barney's Beanery- West Hollywood

I don’t know why it took me so long to make it to this place. My obsession with the Doors is strong enough that I’ve read about three books and noted all the places that mattered. I have been to where they thought Jim lived on Speedway in Venice. I have been to Robby Krieger’s parents place in the marina where they started recording. I walked into the Whiskey the first week I landed in Los Angeles. I wandered in during the middle of the day and asked to just touch the walls.

I had no idea there was a plaque and a stool where Jim sat.

The bartender asked what I wanted, so I googled Jim’s favorite drink and got this recipe:

1/2 oz Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee whiskey
1/2 oz Jim Beam® bourbon whiskey
1/2 oz Wild Turkey® bourbon whiskey
1/2 oz Seagram’s® 7 whisky

I showed her my iPhone screen and said, “I want this.”

She took my phone, walked around behind the bar and put it together.

I said, “I can’t believe no one has ever asked for this before. It should be on the menu.”

Paul said, “You are in a niche. Not many people go this far.”

I took the drink and swallowed a mouthful of whiskey straight. Good Lord. Kind of sweet.

Paul took a few sips and I walked him out to the parking lot where we said goodbye, giggling and flirting a little. As I surrendered Jim’s seat, a large man with flip flops and a backwards baseball cap took it over.

I said, “This is a sacred spot. This is where Jim Morrison used to sit, so treat it kindly.”

He said, “Oh. Cool.”

. . . fucking . . . flip flop … backwards baseball cap . . . douche.

Paul asked what I was going to do now, and I said, “Maybe go back inside and honor Janis this time. Get a screwdriver.”

He said, “Really?”

I said, “Yeah. Why not?”

He said, “I can’t believe you are going back in there.”

We hugged and pecked a kiss goodbye. I hopped, skipped and jumped back in through the doors and found someone sitting in my . . . I’m sorry, I mean Jim’s spot. Flip flop douche. So I took the seat next to him and ordered a screwdriver.

Barney's Beanery- Wesy Hollywood

I went outside and spoke to some guitarist approaching his 60s, who ended every sentence in “man” and told me Guns N Roses stories. Oh how my heart aches.

Flip flop douche man ended up in the street slapping the glasses off of a hipster guy. When they started throwing punches, men circled them but wouldn’t physically get between them. I was drunk and I am a girl, so I got between them and just said, “This isn’t worth it. This is a place of peace, man. Don’t hurt anyone.”

I was focused on flip flops since he was clearly monstrously jockish and could really hurt the little black rimmed glasses hipster.  He threw my arm off, but I wasn’t hurt. I just walked him back and kept saying, “This isn’t worth violence, come on, man. Think clearly.”

He said, “That dude called me an asshole.”

I said, “We are all called assholes, all the time, just not out loud.”

Without taking his eyes of said hipster, he popped change into the parking meter and went back in for another drink.

He apologized to me without looking me in the eye.

I said, “Thats ok, you had a surge of testosterone that clouded your judgement.”

I said goodbye to my old rock dude, and started talking to a prop master, also in his early 60s but married.

We spoke about monogamy and his relationship.

I asked, “Are you soul mates?”

He said, “I don’t know, I don’t think so but we have a great relationship. No one is as close to me as she is.”

I said, “You are best friends.”

He said, “Definitely.”

He said men that fuck around just lack self discipline. He goes to strip clubs but always comes home to his wife afterward.

Me, “Do you feel cheated in life, being married to a woman that you don’t consider a soul mate?”

Him, “Um . . . Well, I am not like other men. I consider myself a Libertine.”

I asked, “What does she do for a living?”

He said, “Well, she is a mother.”

He told me earlier so I knew, “To a 20 year old?”

He said, “Yeah, there is really nothing else she does.”

This was kind of the pattern with Paul’s wife too, who does other things that are more like hobbies than a life, but focuses on the one college-aged child.

I thought about Oceanside again, being Alan’s companion, having one child and going bat shit crazy when he/she went to college. Meanwhile, Alan would be flirting with his interns and falling for younger women who were pursuing their dreams instead of living a comfortable, uneventful life.

I would be flipping through catalogs and wondering where I went wrong.

Fucking depressing, man. And totally possible.

I confided in the drunk Prop Master about my career and what I wanted from life, how I was feeling lost and discouraged. He said, “Google this, ‘Kid’s inspirational speech after riding bike for the first time.

So I did.

The father asks the little boy how he feels.

The boy says, “I feel  . . . I feel . . .”

Father, “You feel alive?”

The boy, “I feel happy with myself. “

The father asks, “Do you have any words of wisdom, for the other kids trying to learn how to ride a bike?”

He says, “Everybody, I know you can believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you’ll know how to ride a bike. If you don’t, you just keep practicing. You will get the hang of it, I know it. And then you will get better and better at it. Thumbs up everybody, for rock n’ roll.”

It was 5pm, and I had to get to my Christian film audition.

GOD

My audition was from 3pm-6pm.

At 6pm on the dot, I stuck my head into a small Christian perish buried between a mechanic shop and a thrift store Alan and I went to earlier that week in Pasadena.

I threw up my Aviator sunglasses, in a ridiculously short, denim mini skirt, tie-dyed tank top with whiskey on my breath and said, “One more? Can you see one more?” Its a paid gig.

I read the scene and its about a female doctor (yay) who is grappling with whether or not she can save her young patient’s soul by forcing him to accept Jesus Christ in his heart (boo).   I read the scene twice for three black men and one white woman who looked like she has been around . . . the wheels of my car.

We got to talking about whether or not I had accepted Jesus Christ into my heart. Now . . . the thought did occur to me whether or not this was a ploy to rope in Hollywood actresses for their perish. However, we spent an hour talking about it, which would have been impossible with the 15 or so other actresses who signed in on the roster.

I said, “I don’t talk about my relationship with God or Jesus Christ very much. But I grew up Catholic and its sacred, its very personal.”

The director had large dark eyes, and spoke with a lot of conviction. When he finished a sentence, he would step forward towards me, nostrils a-blazing.

He said, “Is Jesus Christ a part of your daily life?”

I said, “I have the sacred heart tattooed on my body . . .”

He said, “Ok, what about the Bible? Do you believe you are going to heaven?”

Now, up to this point I was still trying to get the part, but when someone asks me point blank questions, I am going to answer them.

I said, “Honestly? I don’t believe in simplified realities like heaven and hell.”

He said, “You don’t believe in hell?”

I said, “No.”

He said, “What about terrible people who kill babies? What do you think happens to them?”

I said, “I think they are reincarnated into lower life forms.”

He said, “No, God damns them to hell.”

I said, “I don’t think he does.”

He said, “Why not?”

I said, “Because I believe deep down inside, every person is good.”

He shook his head, the others were chiming into the conversation now, but I can handle myself. I think about things every day.

He said, “They are not. That is the Devil confusing you. Have you paid for your sins?”

I said, “I pay every day for my sins.”

He said, “No, answer the question, how will you PAY for your sins?”

I said, “I reflect on my sins everyday and pay in my own way. Its between me and God.”

He said, “Where do you get your information?”

I said, “Various sources, but usually I follow my gut.”

He held up the Bible, “This is the only source of information you should be following, not some piece of chicken you had for lunch.”

I said, “I follow my GUT not my stomach.”

He said, “Do you believe everything this book says?”

I said, “Honestly, no. It is corrupted text.”

Everyone gasped.

He said, “No, whats in here, is what God intended us to follow.”

I said, “There are so many different versions, then Martin Luther translated it and edited portions of it. Others threw out books that were originally included. Who knows what the original text said, since then, its just had too much outside influence.”

He said, “If a book wasn’t included in the final version, God did not intend for it to be included.”

I said, “There is a book from Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary who I think probably have a more relevant perspective considering they were the only ones that stuck by Jesus’ side all the way through the crucifixion and buried him while the other disciples ran and hid like cowards. You think THEIR opinions matter more. Please!”

The woman said, “Can I ask you a personal question?”

I said, “Yes.”

She said, “Do you have a problem submitting to authority?”

I said, “Yes.”

She said, “Have you been hurt by a man in your past?”

I said, “Yes.”

She said, “A man hurt you?”

Faded memories swished around my mind.

I said, “Yes.”

She said, “Was it abuse?”

I said, “Its relative.”

She said, “I was molested so I know what its like to be hurt by a man, and right now that is hurting your perspective on things. You need to submit.”

I probably smirked here. I appreciate her courage and blunt assertion but . . . one woman telling another to submit is a little too Afghan for me.

The director took the floor again and said, “The devil is confusing you.”

I said, “Well, I apologize but I think heaven and hell are far too simplified of a concept to be taken seriously. Its just meant to scare people into doing good things through fear and hope for personal reward.”

He said, “Without hell, why would you do anything good?”

I said, “Because my gut tells me its the right thing to do. I do good things because they are good things, and that seems more about enlightenment than your heaven and hell theory.”

They all sighed.

It got circular around here.

“Why do you think the Bible is the most widely sold book in the world?”

I said, “I think it has divine inspiration, but there are other sacred texts and ideas we can draw from like the Koran and Buddhism. You can’t tell me Buddhists are going to hell, that would be ridiculous.”

They said, “No, the other parts of world and their cultures are not what Jesus intended us to learn from.”

I said, “Well, pardon me but . . . I believe Buddha and Jesus were the same person.”

Gasp.

It ended with, “I appreciate you staying here and talking to us for an hour. You are a great actress, so I would like to see you again anyway, but I hope you think about what we talked about here. Do you think you just stumbled in here by chance, 6pm, the last audition of the day without God intending you to talk to us?”

I nodded slowly and said, “I can see where you are coming from.”

The whiskey and bummed cigarettes throbbed over my right eye.

They invited me back to their parish anytime, blah blah blah . . . I like talking candidly to people about things they feel passionately about. I enjoyed that hour.

On my way back to my car I got a text from Alan, ‘What the hell are you talking about? Why would I want to do that unless you were there involved?”

Oops, I must have drunk texted him.

I scrolled up to see what I texted, “I love you and I forgive you if your primal instinct forces you to spread your seed with another woman. I understand. I have no said instinct.”

I stopped in front of a house for sale I liked and took a picture. Then I texted, “Oh, I was drunk and talking to married men at a bar. I found a house for us (attached pic)”

I went home to my dogs and my cat.  I smoked some weed, I drank some water and I collapsed on my bed.

Love, Rock n’ Roll and God.

My church.

My life.

Don’t let me forget it, no matter how poor, lonely or desperate I get.

I don’t want to lose myself.

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