|Watching City Hall #305 (7-20-04)
“Storage is the 1st step on the road to Hell.”
(Doug McAbee, raconteur)
When I was a young man, I used to know an old man who owned an amazing junk yard. Let’s call him ‘Ben’ though I really don’t remember his name. Ben had everything from antique hardware to disassembled small airplanes, for God’s sake. But, he worried mostly about his ‘I’ beams when it came to theft.
So, he buried them
Yeah, some of the suckers were 50’ long but he had this bulldozer and he buried them cause he was afraid someone would break into his junkyard and steal them. He knew all about stealing. Back in the 30’s when he was a young man, he was a foreman on a project that brought a gas/oil pipeline from Texas. He took his savings and went and bought an extra valve for the line which he attached and buried after hours. Until he died some 40 years later, he lived off of that valve.
He wasn’t greedy, but it added up. First he leased, then bought a service station. Then, he bought an old gas tanker truck. When he needed gas, he just went to his own valve and filled er’ up. He’d sit and rock on the front porch of his station (always the cheapest gas in town) … rock and tell us that the oil company knew they had a problem but it was so minor a loss that it wasn’t worth digging up a hundred miles of pipe. It’s a good story and it’s all included in the story of the years when I built and ran my jazz club way back when. I bought all of the panic hardware & tons of other stuff from Ben when I was building my club. You had to charm the old bastard into selling you items from his collection. Once we get ‘Watching City Hall’ put into some kind of accessible novel form, I’ll go back and write that one up.
“Always moving and going nowhere.”
What brought me to thinking of the old gas thief was packing my things to move yet again. (after the Board meeting never miss a Board meeting) … You’d be surprised at how little you actually need to get by with in the way of clothes and the like. One towel, a shaving kit, 3 changes of clothes and nothing you have to iron. … I’m chasing rabbits. I just wanted y’all who phone me when I squat anywhere for very long to know that I’ll only be available online ( HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com) for the next month or so. My computer (thanks, Walter!) and TV are vacationing with Danielle Erville until the election. Other things are other places.
I kept thinking of how old Ben buried his most valued possessions and remembered what Doug said about storage. … I remembered it all as I was trying to figure out how to store my few remaining possessions as I give up on having a place of my own and resolve myself to a more nomadic existence. … Michelle Monagan offers to put the plastic containers containing family memorabilia in her basement. I have 25 file cases containing 5 ‘almost’ finished novels at Daniel & Becky Cohen’s in Penn Grove. I have another stack of cartons with my night club novel at my sister’s in St. Louis (for 10 years now). … I remembered old Ben, and I just couldn’t help thinking how nice it would be to be able to just bury everything and come back to it once I get settled. … Hey, I’m a realist. That might not happen. The shit just might end up buried there until some extraterrestrial digs it up after the big one. … Yeah, ignored on Earth, I still might be a big hit to Martian colonists who dig 20th & 21st century Earth literature. … … Huh?
I’ll miss Savannah’s
People, my family moved 25 times between the time I was born and when I got out of high school. Then, I joined the navy and it got worse. … I would imagine I’ve moved at least 200 times in my life.
I’ve lived on ships and constructions sites. I’ve lived in tents deep in the woods. I’ve lived in mansions and in storage lockers. In vehicles and on many a back porch.
I’ve always house sat for my friends and their beasts. Normally, I had a primary place of my own and it was nice just for a change of pace to go hang out in the country for a few days or a week or so at the most. The past couple of years, house sitting has evolved into my primary floating residency. Hey, you get better at it. Spoil the animals (that’s easy). Leave the place as good as you found it. And, enjoy. … Lord, lord my friends’ homes are so full of good vibes. But, more on that later.
I’ve lived this way so I could write. … Now, in the old days, that meant that I just had to bring a backpack filled with paper and pens and I was set. You old dogs remember those days. Stamps? Envelopes? Remember that shit?
Now, I communicate with a thousand people. I spend my time watching the local political scene and passing along my evaluation of same to my readers. … Can you imagine the stamps and paper & envelopes to keep up such a correspondence? … The expense?
Now, beggars can’t be choosers as they say and I’ve always been happy just to have a piece of couch to crash on.
Savannah Blackwell gave me use of a high speed internet access, full cable TV and the companionship of a cat named Madeline at this stop. … You can’t beat that. … People like Savannah and I regularly try to save other members of our set. It’s my turn to be a save-ee.
I can’t tell you … I’ll try …
I’m essentially blackballed for SF employment. I’m not only old, but I’m also on any number of ‘enemies’ lists for any number of for, or non-profit agencies. Hey, I’ve written about them all and they remember. People like Randy Shaw or Kelly Cullen or Sam Dodge or Joe O’Donoghue or a dozen others, could give me a job tomorrow. … But, I’ve written negative things about all of them and although they are friendly at public gatherings, none has ever allowed any application of mine for the hundred positions they’ve advertised over the past several years, to reach an interview stage.
So, I ran out of unemployment insurance a couple of years ago and have lived on the public dole in shame (it ain’t that bad) since. I’ve learned the drill. I keep a valid mailing address & couch-surf and house sit. … And, I wait.
I sit in my friends’ apartments and houses and I wait for a job. I wait for recognition with remuneration and realize it will probably not happen.
Time to pack and git!
Folks, it’s a busy week. I’m away from this handy computer in about 40 minutes and I want to get this out to you. It’s a busy week. I need to raise the entry fee for the D5 supe race. Send checks to:
h. brown for supervisor
635 Ashbury #7
SF, CA. 94117
I’ll try to get together a house party before the filing deadline which is like August 4th or something. I won’t accept anything over $99. You have to do too much fuckin’ paperwork. I still owe the Ethics Commission a hundred bucks for not doing my paperwork right last time and I raised less than a grand. Seven hundred bucks will get me on the ballot this time. The filing fee is $500. $100 for the fine. And, $100 to grow on.
It has been truly great to hang out with Madeline (da kitty) @ Savannah’s. I love Mt. Parnassus. The fog with the forest in the background makes you feel like you’re in a small village. Picture windows run the length of the west side of every room and open onto a balcony that overlooks a lush community garden laced with a variety of conifers. Latticed balconies hide behind thick flowered vines. When the fog breaks, the Golden Gate bridge appears in the northern corner of the kitchen window. … Gotta go.
Practice your ‘night moves’: