What I Want



It’s always a total trade off when you think that there’s something lacking in your life but you really don’t want to change a thing because it’s actually sort of working.

Last night I was at the People’s Café in the Haight with a couple a fellow ex-dope fiends that once in a while I’ll actually admit to knowing and we were kind of conversing in a vague uninteresting sort of way, though for some reason I kept thinking that both of them looked a little glum around the edges. As the conversation droned on the subject of girlfriends came up and the guy on my right said that he had just been dumped by his girl and he said it with a quiver in his voice, which was so amazingly pronounced. Yet at the same time he was trying to hide it and I thought that at any minute he was going to start crying so I didn’t make fun of him like I usually would have. But then the other one immediately proceeded to explain why it was that he had just ended a relationship of his own; and then basically irreverent of each other’s plight they both went on in a sort of duet of sentimental remembrances as to why it was they were both in the predicaments that they were. Though neither of them were really listening to the other because after all maybe that’s why they’re not still in their perspective relationships—but what do I know?

However, as nice as it is to be out and about and have a quiet cup of espresso with a couple of acquaintances, it was hardly what I’d call a good time, what with me being forced to listen to each of their pathetic discourses on what their love life consisted of and why neither of them can maintain anything close to a healthy relationship. And looking at the two of them on either side of me like mismatched bookends with their greasy hair pulled back in ponytails and pained expressions, I was trying my best not to picture just what kind of woman would even be seen with either one of them let alone invest any length of time in prolonged bouts of fornication. Having failed miserably at this, I shook my head to dislodge any further disturbing images from arising and somewhere around the second agonized utterance of “Why’d she have to leave me?”, I decided that I couldn’t take anymore, though I was beginning to come to the realization that there was no accounting for the generous nature of the female species. And even more apparently, this sitting around and ruminating on failed trysts was obviously something that these guys did on a regular basis and who was I to intrude on their happy times? So I quietly excused myself and exhibiting an uncharacteristic paroxysm of empathy I threw in for good measure that I had a hot date with a beautiful babe and then I got up and left.

Unfortunately the reality was that I really had no place to go, only at that very moment anywhere was preferable to being there with those two serial monogamists. Yet the actually relief that I felt was from thinking that for once I was somewhat pleased with myself for being single and unattached and without all the pain that love sometimes brings. And yes, of course, I’d like a girlfriend but only in selfish lonely sort of way and definitely not in the “someone who could finish my unspoken thoughts” kind a way, because if that really was the deal then given my erratic ways of thinking she’d have to be just as warped as I was!

Fortunately just walking out the door of the café made my current mental dilemma subside as it was a gorgeous night with a bit of a moon and while walking down Haight Street, I happened to look up into the large bay windows of this beautiful Victorian flat above some newly opened ice cream parlor and with a tad bit of envy, I could see its exposed beam ceiling being illuminated by some tastefully installed recessed lighting which seemed to be competing with the flickering illuminations from a fire below, hopefully in a hearth. That made the whole scene seem so longingly comfortable.

The Haight’s a great neighborhood to live in with its shops and cafes and bad parking and I’d oh so like to live some place like that. Yet in San Francisco unless you’ve got five roommates and a job that pays well you’re not gonna be living anywhere besides an urban hellhole like mine. But whenever I do look around other neighborhoods I’m continually seeing beautiful buildings and apartments that I’d die to live in and that of course evokes the idea that dead is probably the only way that I could be living in one of them. Which is quite the depressing notion in itself and again I have to think happy thoughts before I can continue on my way.

But there of course sitting at the curb in front me is my disintegrating two-toned, rust and silver Honda. Wherein once seated comfortably inside, I immediately gun the accelerator and she barely starts up and then its time for pumping up and down on the waning brake pedal in order for there to be some sort of pressure in those aged hydraulic brake-lines, so that hopefully I will be able to stop at a red light or two on my way home. But it never fails, as I’m either adjusting the driver’s side window to stay shut or waiting for the engine to warm up, that I find myself dreaming of a nice new vehicle—one to cruise in, and that’s as about as feasible as winning the lotto without buying a ticket.

And its always like this where I’m wanting one thing and then the thought of having it is actually ridiculous as to who can afford these things and yes, I could sell out somehow and, well, actually I can’t. But that’s besides the point and another post all together, but I could go back to hammering nails on a construction crew as the pay is twice what I’m getting now and then all these material desires of mine would be fulfilled. Yet what good would that do in the long run, and I’d still be out there ten years from now so that I could keep buying more. Because we all know that getting the immediate stuff is only just the beginning and like an addiction it keeps getting bigger and demanding more and pretty soon I’d be complaining about my five car garage not being large enough to hold all my rides!

And before I know it I’m home and turning off of Fourth Street into the alley looking for a spot to park my car under the freeway; while to my right there’s a couple crackheads fighting over god knows what in a dimly lit doorway and it’s hard to imagine not wanting to get out of this neighborhood. And with the rumble of traffic passing overhead as my soundtrack I can still see the moon in the sky above the alley that runs between two old brick warehouses, but this ain’t the Haight and there’s really nothing else to look at. So I cross Third Street and maneuver around the piles of debris while keeping my eye on the oncoming cars, the dope fiends behind me, and the area around the front door of my apartment building.

And when I finally get there I try and open the front door and its locked, and its never locked! Then I notice that new call box with a keypad and a phone and its all turned on and illuminated and all of a sudden I’m remembering that memo slipped under my apartment door last week saying that tonight was going to be the night that this new security system was to be in place. They even issued me my own ID number, which of course I’ve forgotten, like who ever thought that they’d really do this and like when they said they were going to even. And now I’m stuck out here with no way to get into my apartment—those mother fuckers! God damn it I’m so tired of living here!

Silently as if from out of nowhere except in reality it’s only from the dark recesses of the freeway construction there materializes one of the local crackheads who says “Forgot your code huh bub? For a dollar I’ll let you in!”

And ain’t that about a bitch. But I’m not going to sit out here all night waiting for someone to come out and besides the memo said that we weren’t to allow anyone into the building if we didn’t know them, though how we’re supposed to stop them is still a mystery that I’m not even going to try and solve.

So sure, “Here’s a dollar, let me in!”

And with that he walks over and punches in the pound key and a four number code and the door opens!

There’s something to be said for living in a neighborhood full of degenerates and as I walk up stairs to my apartment I find that I’m suddenly in a very good mood.

5 Responses

  1. Alice

    It is always impossible to pick out my favorite part of your work. I love that you are able to add humor to such dark situations. And to end on a happy note… what a twist! My favorite hobby is spying in other’s windows to see what the apartments look like. There really are too many amazing buildings in this City. I especially enjoy doing it from the bus… I can see so much more.

  2. Joseph Young

    That’s the state of the Haight, huh? I knew this, that process was already well under way when I left, but it still is amazing to me, considering how it was when I first got there. Anyway, good stuff, Patrick.

  3. Cori

    Incredible sardonic images! Visually sarcastic! I hate those call phones!

  4. boxen

    paroxysmal orgasms!

  5. Kacy

    I call Patrick as my blog valentine. Hush, Fromage–you have no say in the matter. Regarding the blog: I’m glad to finally hear about some friendly indigents where you live. Letting you into your own apt–that’s nice!