In the seemingly endless and immense world of my daily doings and insipid past digressions that I all but tend to glorify through writing heroic like praises for; there are but a few that I’m inclined to leave out, or hide if you will, and it isn’t because I’m ashamed or timid in the telling of the recapitulatory dirt. Its just that they’re stupid or repugnant and unlike the fabled lure of being a former junkie or a convicted felon they hold no intrinsic value… Well, Ok, they hold no viable literary interest and as far as expounding about sordid shit like prior misdemeanor infested mêlées while inebriated and you all out there reading it? Well, its suffice to say that we’d all be stifling a yawn or two and I’d be back to writing bits of ineligible angst on soggy cocktail napkins in my local pub.
Yet here I am, in all reality, living a much different life than the one I’ve led for the greater part of the time that I’ve been alive and in my writing I’m either reminiscing about the past like it was some long ago forgotten love or comparing now to then like there’s some lesson to be learned. And all the while I’m taking a walk on the serene and slightly mild side as the insanity that I used to take for granted is no longer a mitigating factor that’s hedging my bets on maintaining my increasingly firmer grip on this game that we all call life.
However just recently I’ve come to realize that minor regression and set backs are all a part of moving forward as last night my cell phone’s tonal dirge of a ring announced that I needed to pay some attention to it and unfortunately on the other end of the line was a woman that I used to know a very long time ago. Like back when I dabbled in mayhem and discord for a living and even though she’s claiming that her side of the street is now clean and un-littered she still has that whiskey gravel rasp to her words. Yet who am I to question the integrity or maybe the legitimacy of others? So I take what she’s saying on face value instigating plans to meet up later in the week, though in the back of my mind I’m making a mental note to looking into acquiring a new mother as that’s from whom this woman had obtained my unlisted phone number, but that’s a different matter all together. And consequently not more than five hours after I had hung up the phone it rings again, only this time its 2am, and I just don’t get phone calls at 2am anymore. And its this same woman, only now with some dilemma that has shit all to do with me and I’m suddenly being forced to relive the past, a past that I try and avoid like plague and so I say excuse me but I just don’t care anymore and I hang up as quickly as I can!
Whoa now, eh? I’m being a tad selfish you say?
But is self-preservation really selfish? Does pulling yourself out of a fucked up life necessitate sometimes having to go back and experience it again, even though you don’t want too? Because there’s nothing I can do for this woman, as just like myself in former times she’s still addicted to chaos and probably knows no other way to live. Yet for me I’ve come to realize that its absolutely detrimental and unhealthy and by no means should I entertain ever immersing myself in its influence again. After all I’ve got no illusions on just how easy it would be for me to return to being someone that most of you wouldn’t want to encounter and by avoiding having to dwell in the very world that I have crawled out of, and not that long ago I might add, well, its been said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
Meanwhile last Friday night I was coming home from a dinner out with friends and graciously giving one of these friends a ride home to her place and while crossing Divisadero I swerved around a car that was stuck in the intersection waiting for some pedestrians to make it to the curb and inadvertently ran the traffic light as it changed from yellow to red. Yet I only got a block down Haight Street before a police car was speedily bearing down on my back, lights flashing, and the spot light trained into my rear window. And when the cop finally got to my car door with one hand poised on his gun he said “Turn off your vehicle and with your left hand place the keys on the dash!” However the motor was already off and when I turned to hand him my drivers’ license, I notice that he was shaking! And yeah for a cop, especially this young rookie that I was dealing with, the Lower Haight isn’t the place you wanna pull some low dark sports car over and approach all nonchalant and unawares. Not to mention that its nighttime and the street lights are playing havoc with the shadows as well as any overactive imagination that’s bound to be seeing demons lurking about. So Ok, its not the best case scenario by any means. But what got me was that he’d obviously already run my car’s license plates and up popped my address along with my record and legal history. As all of this vital information is now at every law enforcement agency’s fingertips, and of course there’s my armed robbery convictions as well as some other bits of my murky past and god knows what else and now instead of this 24 year old kid in a uniform dealing with me as a person, he’s dealing with me as a statistic and worse as a possible gun totting ex-convict and he’s not taking any chances!
And do you really think he’d let me go with a stern warning? Hell no! He wouldn’t even let me touch his ticket pad when I signed my name to the ticket, thereby admitting no guilt, just stating that I’d be in court to accept whatever punishment was to be merited for my vehicular infractions. You should really try signing a ticket with your right hand stretched out the car’s window and not being allowed to at least turn and face the ticket that’s being shakily held by the side of your head while the man whose suppose to protect and serve you has got the other hand, which I am assuming was shaking as well, on the butt of his half un-holstered 9mm automatic!
Nevertheless tonight with both of these incidents still fresh and running rampant in my brain I found myself speaking to a room full of recently paroled convicts out on work furlough and residing in a decrepit halfway house located in the heart of the Tenderloin District. Because as fate would have it a friend of mine had asked me to speak for him at a meeting so that I could prelect a little on the virtues of being sober and detention free. And there I was talkin’ happiness and positivity while staring straight into the eyes of fifteen very unhappy people that all somewhat mirrored my former self. Though I must say that for me these days to be sitting there under the cold scrutiny of prognostication while a room fulla chaotic individuals is busy sizing me up trying to figure out what my deal is all the while wondering why the hell I’m wasting my time like this is not my idea of wonderful and relaxing way to spend my Friday night. However it does beat getting pulled over and threatened with violence or worse carted off to jail in handcuffs. And if I was to have to compare it to irritating 2am phone calls, well, my sleep is pretty imperative these days as it’s the only relief I get so yeah, I’d rather have someone erroneously attempting to intimidate me than have my night’s slumber interrupted.
However its only from the safety of my little apartment that I can so easily dissect these instances of inadequacy that have apparently ground my psyche to a halt and finally culminated this very long and arduous week. And as I sit here chronicling them like I was detached and uninvolved I feel secure in the knowledge that what is past is past and I no longer have to exist like that anymore. Yet while each of these past events were happening I was consumed with the thought that I was going to have to revert back to those former unhealthy means of dealing with them that I used to use. But in the end I didn’t – I let the scenes unfold themselves, the convoluted plot play its tired ass out and slowly, not to mention graciously, the curtain fell to the meager applause of only myself and no one else.