Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Auld Lang Satan

I have just smoked one of Fyfe's ancient dried out nugs I found on the floor. Or maybe a piece of carpet that had taken on an illusory appearance of biological lushness somehow, and so taken several of the more unpleasant cancer fade-out years off the end of my life in the smoking. It doesn't matter. My mother enrolled me in North Platte Catholic schools when she effectively inherited my grandmother's job as cafeteria head there. She asked me if I wanted to and I was ambivalent. My child self was confused by the question's very existence looking back. So she acted on her own to put me in St. Pats for reasons of heritage and appearance, she's an alumnus herself, and because North Platte is frontier enough for the difference between Protestant white people and Catholic white people to still matter in some ways. I regret not objecting now. I read Paul's Basquiat books and look at his own paintings and it makes me think of how the scratchy neon cartoon look as of the late 80s/early90's as filtered through mid-afternoon public television still informs my being and always will if I live a thousand years. I think of my dim memories as a little kid in public school, how that seemed to give me a slightly better 5th hand connection to the coastal pulse of the nations' actual mainstream.  A sense of civic being maybe, a sense of fellow being based more on common downtown experience than on common blood and culture.  Perhaps that's what right wingers hate about public schools, though to casually say that is to ascribe them with a superhuman self-awareness as well of course as a deliberately evil motive convenient to my own stance.  I can't really say. All I know is that a Lexington Latino at Occupy Lincoln, (rather shady sort truth be told, loosed out of prison and dumped in camp by the LPD as passive-aggressive sabotage) told me that I seemed like a guy who could be comfortable in both a big city and a small town and that's so. A blockful of squat townhouse yards in Denver KC or Chicago has always felt as natively familiar to me as twenty miles of pavement through the Sandhills like the fetal twin brother that I ate is talking to me or something.

I like Rod Stewart's old songs though I'm sure I'd hate the guy if I met him. That's are there is to a "guilty pleasure" about a particular song or artist isn't it?  I think that "Love Isn't Always on Time" song is more popular now than at the time of its release. Or at least I don't recall having ever heard it until I had already graduated UNL and now it's on classic radio more routinely than Kanye is on modern top 40.  Be it so because the guitar on that one is legit, and from Toto too go figure, the same lamers who did that dentist-office ass "Africa" song.

I started smoking weed at a moderately young age, 15. Mexican brick by necessity. "Kine bud" was anything else, whatever cultivated shit that somehow made its way to NP from California by way of Denver, generally twice the price per weight. I was only moderately one of "those guys" about smoking weed. I would rock a tie-dye every now and then but not like every day.  I never pretended that the Grateful Dead were any better than ok though I did pretend to myself that that the Kottenmouth Kings were ipso facto good because they rapped about smoking weed even though deep down I always knew that they not only sucked but superlatively sucked. I did have a lava lamp but what of that?  What went wrong in our culture that led us to pretend that appreciation for the inherent sweetness of lava lamps requires drugs? I never did get a pot leaf poster, let alone a pot leaf tattoo on my waist like a homegirl I had sex with once. She lives in Kearney with a kid now the last I heard. To think upon it now I don't think I have ever deeply identified with or loved the things or people that give me pleasure because I've always experienced pleasure in a disassociated, third-person sort of way, especially when having sex.

My most comparatively serious relationship was with Tiffany during my college dropout years. We moved to an apartment down the street from Wesleyan and looking back I think I just wanted a rentmate who was willing to move to the city and was a fairly decent friend who happened to have a vulva. That seems crass or even downright evil I realize but it's how it is. In these times I would wake up at three PM have two cups of coffee a slice of Casey's pizza and ten minutes of the World Herald for breakfast before it was back to the Barton's "rum" and brickweed at four PM. I enjoy orgasm to the same degree as a moderately chilled rum & orange juice I suppose. Those extended multi-sex sessions with that most people around me describe as the highlight of their lives were  a dreadful chore to me like family church functions as a kid. There's something within myself especially then but even now to some degree that wants to remain a sort of closeted not out of fear as being found out for whatever but for its own sake. I've never considered sex to be any more physically gross than what the body does anyway.  It's the abstract of being desired by another, of intensely existing in any other mind except my own and thus not totally owning myself, of "we" having a common feeling together, of "we" existing as we. That's what repels. Others speak of breaking down the wall between themselves and someone else as if nothing could be a more obvious and universal Need that of course I must feel to, so they say. When a date ask if I'm willing to make a commitment my answer of "commitment to what" is usually enough to end it right then and there. Tiffany had been abused as a child. Tiffany needed Lithium to live. Tiffany thought I hated her when I took my hours long walks to avoid her when it was just someone else/Others  in general that I had overdosed on and she was always the one I hated least of all. Money got tight. We took in a another North Platte kid named Caleb, even more fucked than either of us, (Entire orders of the multiplication table beyond lovable eccentric) into meth well beyond even the normal degree of bad. I would come home from my job of the week to find six gang associates shooting up in my bathroom. Tiffany complained that she couldn't walk naked through the house like she could when it was just her and me. I didn't like her doing that when it was just her and me. I would have like to have been a billionaire so I could be naked alone and never talk forever but I didn't like her being in my kitchen while I cooked my supper waiting to prepare whatever it was that pleased herself. I still don't know what her favorite food is. I don't she had one. She never did eat enough. She's back in North Platte with a fellow named Reuben now last I heard.

I think I could fake a relationship a little better now. I've learned how to better camouflage the fact of being a schizoid solipsist with no human core as such. I know better than to tell my mom out loud that it's pointless for me to have kids; because the permanent shutdown of my own brain shall entail the end of all reality, and whether there's anyone afterwards who remembers and loves me well what kind of fucking moron could possibly think that matters oh right sorry mom my bad.

Saddam Hussein's execution is an early example of viral internet experience. It's very clear that the man knew all along that he'd be going out like this (All Along as in since childhood that is) and that he'd been practicing his defiant death for a long time. I say this only because I've been waiting to bring up this ingeniously witty observation in conversation and realize now that the chance will probably never naturally flow up in natural speech. Why all of you insist on pretending to think that you "exist" for any other reason but to set up such lines for me I don't know.

Right across the pedestrian bridge over the tracks at 19th and Holdrege is a truck that's been in a wreck probably severe enough to have killed its riders. The windshield is three quarters smashed in and the interior has been on fire. The workers at the construction place on the block use it for storage: crowbars heavy-duty gloves etc. The windows are again non-existent mostly. You could probably rob the thing for either sale or personal use without consequence.

I know I'm not the only one who finds it striking that the near-south side of Lincoln is basically twenty first century urban in character, while the near north-sides character does indeed fit the "overgrown small town" label that some Omahans would attach to us. The pattern of auto machine and rail shops along Cornhusker with their largely white blue-collar (though also Middle Eastern blue-collar for the past quarter century) workers living in the neighborhoods behind. Their familiar family dramas of drugs, relationships gone wrong with a kid in the middle, the bonds of love, the pangs but also invigorating feels of hate, betrayal, the hazy narcotic feeling of an imagined golden past with no stress, the cultural affinity for fast cars, wrestling and of course football to state the elephant. A demographic pattern that begins right there at 19th and Holdrege and then follows the Burlington line northwest all the way to the corn on the east end of Havelock at around 74th or so. This is after all the part of town that Omahans' see the most of; the capitals' rail-toothed economic hard calorie eater physically facing Omaha and the greater East; so there are reasons beyond delusions of Cosmo grandeur for why some Omahans may see Lincoln as no more than the largest in a nesting doll chain of increasingly regional hubs as one heads out onto the High Plains. And the next westward signed destination point on I-80 is after all the reliable Jersey-joke next door for the one before. The kids in North Platte would laugh at the meth-hicks of Sidney while Kearney kids laughed at us for the same while Grand Island kids....

About ten or eleven years,ago, when I was still an undergrad a group of black kids called the Dudley Street Boys, (a self-defining handle.  They were adolescents who lived on the north side street one block down from Holdrege) took a ride all the way down too SouthPointe to steal guns from the Scheels there. A few weeks later they got caught.  They called themselves a gang and they did after all have a name and commit a gun-related crime together so there I suppose you have it. As I recall a few of the guns they stole were later used in murders robberies etc. on one coast or another. That's what guns are for and I'm sure that the same thing would have happened if they'd been bought up front over the Scheels counter.

About four years ago I got caught in a summer storm while walking and a group of white dudes drinking on the porch near commanded me to join them. This was along 22nd by all the sketchy auto detailing shops etc by the defunct Mopac railroad. The white dudes were sketchy too. We drank Busch's and smoked weed out of one of those old school little metal pipes that make every strain taste shitty. We watched a compilation of police chase videos on Fox.   One of them, a prototypical "big" bubba you might say, was conventionally employed as a security guard. The rest didn't say how they made their cash directly though from what they did say I got the impression that they were among those half-thief/half-scavengers who trowled through the neighboring alleys looking for metal electronics etc. They were racist in a very directly spoken way, at least to me with my blue eyes and the Husker shirt that I remember probably too perfectly to have actually been real now that I think of it. They referred to the black kids in the neighborhood as "niglets". They spoke of the Dudley Street boys in the tones of some menacing dread but never mentioned anything particular, beyond the well known fact of their having jacked a box store out in the burbs, that made the Dudleys such a dread horror. Even so these guys clearly got a weird sense of personal validation from the existence of black kids who had committed a crime and had a common name.  It makes me recall reactions to black athletes who did things they shouldn't have. Micheal Vick, Adrian Peterson or even OJ Simpson.  Not the disapproval in itself to what were indisputably bad things to do but the very apparent indulgence in the intensity of that disapproval, the insinuation of "Hah I knew it". The rain stopped after an hour, and when I confessed to having forgotten one of the dudes names while leaving he reminded me that it was Randy and looked mad enough to fight.

I had a friend named Matt Moore in college. Cool bro, solid liberal, liked to drink and smoke and trip a lot. Aspiring Entomologist from West Omaha family money. Got mad at me when I left the tropical cockroach I'd had to care for as part of my token science credit class out to die in the prairie winter. He said that it wasn't like one of those nasty cockroaches and I said "oh so it's of those high end cockroaches then?  Like the Lexus of cockroaches?"  Matt said he was surprised that the Dudley Street boys were intelligent enough to pull the robbery off. Which is to say that he was surprised that black kids were smart enough to rob a Scheels and get caught. Matt could be racist in both a casual, half-conscious and yet startlingly direct way like that sometimes.  His girlfriend in college Mari was Czech like I am, from the Bohemian majority country to the west of Wahoo. She was getting into the bug game too, had herself precociously together in a way that Matt just didn't. She threw me a going away party (hah) before I moved to Chicago that was really nice. Then a couple years after that she was instantly killed at age 24 or 5 when her sober but not-yet fully awake brother missed a stop sign on a Oregon vacation & her side of the car was hit by a semi at highway speed. It was three months before I learned.  I had seen that her Facebook page had suddenly become full of the sort of exaggerated praise usually given to toddlers, especially in regards to her just released master's thesis which she got an A on as I recall, but I didn't pay enough attention to glean that something was "Up" from that.

I close with my thoughts on Mrs. Beach, my grade school music teacher during my short stint in public school.  Mrs. Beach was warm, encouraging, motherly, a beloved figure in the North Platte community. I also recall how she in effect military-drafted us on too all those God Damn Christmas plays, Wizard of Oz adaptations etc, teaching us to pimp cute fro grown ups pleasure in our childhood as our first act of primal submission to established authority. I recall what an exaggerated, protest-too-much persona she was to think back on it; that perhaps the small town tendency towards conservative conformity is largely explained by individuals being compelled to fill a overly generic social niche though really I probably just overanalyze here yet again. Fuck that Beach anyhow is all I meant to say.