June 7, 2006
I am writing this column in my head on the way home from Medjool’s, scene of some after-hours insider election day celebrating, or rather I am writing it now in my studio, or rather, I wrote this Tuesday night and you are now reading it.
Around 10:30 p.m. I could have gone either way—to sleep or to Medjool’s, but I wanted to touch base with Krissy for Kongress and soak up some election night excitement, and because hey, when in doubt, leave the house.
The party seemed to be on the mezzanine and I nearly collided with Bevan Dufty going in but saw h in a club chair on the ground floor. Joe Lynn was with him. We’d met at the Bulldog party at my house. h asked how I got there. BART, said I. You came here on BART? Joe Lynn looked at me like I was insane. I regarded Joe Lynn. I said forcefully, “Hey, I own these streets, man, I’ll walk these streets if I want to!”
I inquired after Krissy, where the hell was she, and (I had had a few tokes back at the ranch) spent about 10 minutes trying to call her on my new cell phone a friend (Corazon, in fact) had given me. I had wanted one because of The Earthquake. I must have asked h a dozen times to give me the number again. I dialed every variation of those seven numbers but the one that connected with Krissy. h couldn’t get it either. I scowled, mystified, at the phone like it was the coke bottle from “The Gods Must Be Crazy.” Finally, I got her voice mail. “HEY, KRISSY FOR KONGRESS! KRISSY KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFER, YOUR PUBLIC AWAITS YOU AT MEDJOOL…”
I asked h how the day went and he said he was in two car wrecks before 8:00 a.m. Good mornin’ to ya! Not a good start. We wondered if we should migrate upstairs but h liked where we were. I wondered if he was relegated to the first floor because he’d alienated so many people lately, and deservedly so. h has been good to me, I’m his loyal Bulldog pup. But as Meko put it, aren’t there enough nasty people around without making demons of the good ones? Can’t we all just get along? Yeah, right. We’re talking local politics here, not finishing school.
THE COVEN CLASS RING
We went outside and smoked some weed near a shiny black car h thought was one of Newsom’s fleet. I remembered I had his silly belated birthday gift I got on Ebay secreted in a little purple pouch in my inside jacket pocket. It was tied with string and I couldn’t loosen it. I was spaced out. Opening the pouch became my field of study. It was all there was in the world. But I didn’t have my reading glasses and couldn’t see the knot at all, so I kept tugging and pulling at it for what seemed like hours. I could feel time expanding to fit this task. We’d come inside and before I made a career of it I came up for air and got myself a whiskey sour. Joe Lynn managed to unlock its secrets and I presented h with the bounty, a pewter bulldog ring.
THE DEVIL’S BRANDING IRON
I was gratified to see that he loved it. I’d thought he might find it tacky. “Well’ime tacky!” Holding his hand up he said, “I’ll always remember this as the gift I got on 6/6/6.”
“It’s a good day to be stamped with the mark of the Bulldog,” I agreed.
h observed that a woman with her backside to us seemed to be scratching her dingleberries. Is that something specific, I asked, or a general term for whatever might be inappropriately scratched? I had never heard the word and, regretably, h explained it.h must have been pretty schnockered already because he said he didn’t want another drink. “Not even on me?” “Not even on you.” Joe took off and h said he was going over to his house-sit at Savannah’s. “You should go upstairs though. Half the Board and the Mayor are up there.”
“So?” was all that came to mind. I explained I couldn’t see Newsom right then because I had taken my knit shirt out of the dryer without looking and put in on backwards with the tag side at my collarbone. Newsom would pick up on that in a flash. It would be his equivalent of what writing “your” for “you’re” is to me. I know people have their strengths and weaknesses, but I can’t help it, it bugs me, it disturbs me because to me it smacks more of illiteracy than of being “weak in spelling,” and of substandard educators. But after all, I am a writer. It’s a peccadillo.
One time I even posted a Craig’s List notice:
ATTENTION OTHERWISE ATTRACTIVE MEN
Spell “you’re” as “your” and you’ve blown it.
I got one response: “Fuck you!” The name was Latino and I thought, if this is his second language it would certainly be unfair to judge him for that. Then the post got flagged and was pulled! They said it seemed to be in response to a particular posting and should have been addressed to that person. I’m not the only one, though; in a relationship-ending fight on “Friends,” Ross taunted Rachel about a letter she wrote him, and to hurl the final insult at her he yelled “Oh and by the way, ‘you are’ is spelled y-o-u apostrophe r-e, not y-o-u-r!” and to me that pretty much defined her. Come on, she was in a situation comedy for chrissake, how deep did she have to be? Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex and the City” was secretly pleased when the new wife of an old beau in a thank you card spelled “there” as “their.” And as I sniff in superiority, we return to Medjool’s.
WHAT’S THAT TINGLING SENSATION?
Krissy wasn’t showing up but I still had half a drink so started over to the stairs but the guy at the door said it was closing up there. No more takers, huh? I took it as my sign that now was a good time to go home. Besides I had started having that tingling sensation of needing to write something right away while not being in a good place to do so.
I was stoned and a little paranoid on the walk from 21st to 24th, but I’ll be damned if I give up my right to go where I want. I made myself look at the crappy, ugly, scary side of things and wondered if I was deluding myself—should I really be there alone in the Mission at midnight? Is it worse than I realize? Mission Street looked just plain blighted. The whole scenario was like a bad movie set of a slum. Guys were skulking along the storefronts—literally, meaning v.i., 1. to move about in a furtive way; 2. To hide, especially in order to do something sinister.
But you know what, fuck. I own these streets.
ALLOW ME TO REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR LIFE
To distract myself on BART, I gave passengers mental makeovers. Honey, don’t keep your hair long for the sake of long hair; get rid of that limp mane and discover freedom! (I had originally mistyped: “Get rid of that man and experience freedom!” Hm, wonder whom I had in mind?) Hey guy, you do know there’s a great big hole in your back pocket where you stuff your wallet, don’tcha? Oh, ma’am, have you ever heard of the color wheel? Well consult one before you leave the house. First of all, makeup. You need it.
What happened to it? Because a lot of people in this city look like they never got started, much less finished. Slobbery is rampant. Sometimes I feel like just grabbing people by the shoulder and bitch slapping them into awareness. MISCREANT! Can’t you see how wrinkled your pants are? Did you dig them out from the bottom of your hamper? Or, excuse me, sir, have you noticed that the people on stage are wearing tails and gowns to perform for you? And you’re sitting in the front row of symphony hall in your frayed jeans and running shoes—why?
HAVE YOU HEARD OF COMBS? AVAIL THYSELF!
And I am sick, sick, sick of this unshaven, unkempt, tousled look men are sporting, if you can call it sport. There was a French couple on the bus eyeing me and I was conscious of being “a San Franciscan.” I was glad I was stylin’ it and looked hip. “You always look like you went to Harvard,” a hippie friend told me. But I think I’m more interesting than that. Anyone can go to Harvard (you know what I mean), but only I can write this sentence in just this way. Why am I being such a bitch at what is now 5 in the morning?
h, PART TWO
I don’t know what route h had taken home, but I took BART to Civic Center and caught the 6 to Haight. Before long, I saw him out the window on the island about to get on. I went up to the front of the bus and gave him a smooch as he boarded.
“Was that the first time you’ve ever been kissed as soon as you got on a bus?” It would be cool to give a man in his 60’s a “first.” I got off before h did and again took inventory of the trash on the street, the graffiti, abandoned clothes, beer bottles in the gutter, ugh. I had guests from Portland this weekend, and within minutes of coming to visit me they saw a street fight on Haight, someone urinating on Steiner, girls dressed like circus rejects and emergency vehicles wailing in the background.
But all I saw was home.
OK boys and girls; this goes out in the morning mail.
I’m a fool for you Medjool
Krissy for Kongress!
copyright Alexandra Jones 2006