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Underground Accident

Ever try to do the right thing? Terrible idea because the forces of fate are loathe to permit such acts of responsibility society puts forth as ideal standards. Time and time again the inclinations of would-be do-gooders result in failure, ridicule and winking, “should’ve known better” glances as the viral tales of defeat spread from amused bystanders to friends, family and co-workers.

My own life has been a steady trickle of avoiding situations which require a choice of right or wrong because the fear of retribution and the desire to act in accordance to values promulgated by church and state conspire with handshakes and bank transfers to tear me asunder. I hate the metro stops along the Embarcadero for the simple fact that they have fare boxes at either entry and standing on the platform suggests that the social contract has been signed– you have paid the entry fee and are waiting with evidence of this transaction for your civil chariot.

It may surprise you that I’m at all hesitant to pay for the bus. Okay, it doesn’t surprise the people who think of me as a pauper among misers nor the people who know of my coin jars but it might seem contrary to those who know my opinions on civic infrastructure and transportation: cities should not require the use of a car for the citizens to get to and from home and work and all points between. San Francisco has a far-reaching bus and trolly system which provides ample coverage but has never been able to manage this service in a timely, clean or safe manner. If the bus driver isn’t taking out a stop shelter or if the train isn’t dragging old Chinese women underneath then there’s a lunatic who has spent the past week marinating in their own shit yelling at their invisible friend or some kid with a gun in their backpack in the wrong part of town. All this after you waited for half an hour in the rain and get skipped by the first two busses which are packed closely followed by the third which is only going half the route.

So when you walk up to one of the Proof of Payment (POP) stops you’re subject to trying to ignore the fare cop who’s standing in your personal space shouting in a desperate attempt to raise their voice above your headphones– wearing dark sunglasses helps. But the cops are no where to be seen when you’re standing at the entry eyeing the fare boxes and so the casual observers will see only you paying for no damned reason and thinking you’re the fool for doing so. The only reason is fear of being caught but I always lost in the battle of fears and I always paced nervously around the stop near suffocation. For some reason I never had any problem smoking the whole time which is also liable for a ticket even after a maintenance worker warned me.

The odds are on your side, of course. How many fare cops can there be out there at any given time? There’s seven metro lines with any number of cars on the rails going two different directions. The underground stations are probably where most of the searches take place because tourists are easier to intimidate and not even the fare cops actually wanna ride MUNI. Hell, it’s not that long ago no one even gave a shit about the fare collection. Little kids would stare down bus drivers after running on the back door, bums would wave spent kleenex for fast passes and station attendants, if there was one, were usually too busy talking to someone to notice anyone hopping the stile. Shit, they didn’t even seem to notice anyone opening the wheelchair gate and its piercing alarm. But then they built these new stations out by State and the mall which was a joke. Except to Jay, the only person who was ever busted for fare evasion resulting in the second time he had to go to juvenile court. (more…)

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I sincerely

apologize… It’s been a hell of a month and it seems knowing me was a sure fire way to have some trauma in your life: Three people I know lost loved ones this month, one losing two friends in seperate overdoses. A friend’s grandfather also was admitted to the ICU with a highly elevated white blood cell count but no tests have proven conclusive last I’d heard… My parents’ both lost their cars in one fell swoop. A high speed chase ended in my dad’s van which ended in my mom’s car. Both rear axles were snapped and the insurance company towed the derelict husks away in exchange for a total of five grand which, as you probably know, doesn’t buy a new car let alone two. This instigated a week-long mess for the folks which involved trains to Sacramento, cell phones landing in Salt Lake City needing to be returned, locking keys in cars (on loan) and a faulty oil change dumping everything on the street and leaving the car empty and needing to be towed to a diagnostic by Honda. When I last saw them they were just finishing the paperwork for the accident a week prior and looked pretty worn out. My roommate had a late night collision leaving his bike a little fucked, the car unfucked and some staples in his head. Black eye, swollen face, light concussion ambulance ride and a night in the hospital. After a couple days being cared for by his mom he returned home wearing huge and ugly sunglasses but in a chipper mood. Two friends spent time in psych wards, one brought by the cops and one on their own terms. The spiral of impact these events had on others was enough to wipe me out for a month on their own so luckily they happened within a week of each other smack dab in the middle. One friend decided to check into rehab which I guess is good but also carries a lot of bad into the conversation. The same head-trip as the last paragraph,

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I suppose: where were you before all this happened and why do you think trying to deal with if after makes up for the neglect and carelessness you showed not being there for people… Ah… Hell, I was declined for the first credit card I ever applied for because I don’t have any references. How do you get references? You have previous credit cards. They offered me a lower limit pre-paid card but frankly I just wanted free airline miles so fuck you and the pigs… Feel like I’m forgetting things and to be honest I probably am since I lost my ability to think about two weeks ago and have only slowly begun to sleep more than six hours at a time and complete sentences again. It wasn’t all bad: a friend of mine found out she was pregnant (which was good news) and two friends just announced today they had birthed a baby girl. Two friends got married (to each other, which is easier to deal with) and I was allowed to watch. A lot of people were in town who I don’t get to see very often and it was great to be able to spend a little bit of time catching up. Then again my friend in from Minneapolis was hung over when we met (we only had an hour due to my dealing with some shit and his previous engagements) and tho he was doing well it did come out that someone we had both worked with and been friends with years back had been killed a couple years ago in an accident. Tho by a bow or a boat I’m still not certain. Anyways, it brought the already quiet and still morning to an even slower speed. Anyways, a pretty polarized month. More eventful then most, to be sure, but I’m not really made for constant activity of the best sort let alone the worst. Again, I’m sure I’ve neglected to write something down so if I’ve missed your personal trauma and you would like an apology just get in touch. If I neglected your happiness remind me of that too unless I just pissed you off… Sorry for another indulgent, off the wrist posting. No pics, no links, no regard for the world outside my head… Shame, for shame! I promise to get the pony started in July with actual research and thinking and cross-references and babies flying out of carriages and shit… Seems like I’m dripping topics from my pants right now. Let’s be safe out there.

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In response to not having a computer I tried to write something in a notebook with the intention of working on whatever ideas landed on the page at a computer later… Instead I had a quickly written rant with no opportunity to tease out ideas or thoughts and the night I thought I might spend a little company time looking around the internet to help flesh things out a bit my manager walked in the room snooping which, obviously, ruined the thought… So instead we have yet another overly emotional, from the hip rant about nothing in particular but transcribed from a notebook and written as quickly as possible on a lunch break in a coffee shop after the girl working there showed me her fucked up wrist she injured in the Odwalla cooler the night before:

Ain’t nothing to do– the traditional rallying cry for bored teenagers, reaction against the frustrations and powerlessness of youth… A million nights of drinking and drugs, thousands of bands, hundreds of fanzines all sprang forth from one shared sensation… We stayed up til’ dawn watching horror movies or playing the same songs over and over again in the motorcycle shop… The Dead Boys beat up hippies and knocked old men down…

In recent weeks I’ve attempted to corrale countless friends into a variety of the traditional activities which were once born from boredom and frustration, but phoned inqueries– what’re y’doing?– no longer find the answer of ‘nothing’… Now people have to wake up early for work, or stay home studying for school or are just too tired to contemplate anything beyond microwaving a meal and watching television… Guess we’ve gotten older and things to do have been found…

Must be a natural progression, through the phases documented by films and books… Hormones run rampant for a couple of years and everyone’s nuts, acting out and picking through their obsessions… Then it’s time to mature, time to go to college and so the band breaks up, the zine doesn’t seem important anymore and another form of acting out and picking through obsessions ensues… By the time we’ve been suitably groomed for entering the work-force the bands and zines have been whittled down to almost nothing, property of the immature and disconnected… Sure, you can set aside a little time on the weekend to pursue your former ambitions or passions or whatever’s less embarassing a term, maybe take a class one night and if you’re up for it you can catch a movie Friday night:

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but these are now hobbies, not what you do… These things no longer define or identify you…

The flexibility is gone, we have our obligations and we have our schedules… If you’re lucky you enjoy your job– there’s a sense of accomplishment and a sense of worth resulting from every eight hour day… Most people find their way to places that aren’t so bad– the work isn’t terribly demanding, the co-workers are nice enough and the money’s pretty good… You get up and you spend an hour getting ready, an hour going to work, an hour for lunch, and hour to go home, an hour dealing with dinner, an hour trying to relax and an hour trying to fall asleep…

Maybe one day you’ll have a family and a 30-year mortgage… A trip to Europe, a family vacation to Disneyland, a big screen TV and a car… Your sense of what’s going on will become informed by product placement and labor day sales at Macy’s or whatever Junior’s demanding for pulling a

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straight B average… Maybe one day while cleaning out the attic you’ll come across an old shoebox with that tape your old band recorded, a copy of that zine you used to do, a reel of Super 8– God how embarassing… Maybe you’ll remember people you haven’t seen or even thought about for years and smile, or feel a little sad, or feel a little angry, or feel a little proud or even a little stupid… But you carefully put the lid back on the box and dig around further looking for the fucking Christmas lights…

Well, there’s always your mid-life crisis to look forward to…

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