I once ready a book which listed the following:
as the four themes that political topics and news must touch on to be relevant. So to make sure my entry today is relevant, let’s talk about these. I’d rather philosophize than talk about how I passed out on the street today.
I was trying to get around the Second Zone, the part of the City I don’t have access to even though I can pass in to the city as a whole. It takes up a lot of the middle, is extra secure, and is where my wealthiest clients live. The next tier down live as close to it as possible, since travel to that side of the city is challenging unless you get driven, drive, or walk. Guess which one I was doing.
It was weird, one minute I’m wishing I had sunglasses and planning to buy them after work, and the next minute I heard a woman’s voice, “she’s coming to!” and felt a hand on my forehead.
“She’s not coming…” The second voice, less discernable and slightly farther away.
“You’re an idiot, she needs more water.” Wet feelings on my face work me up for real.
“Dude that dress is too tight…” Someone at my feet, wearing an opened overcoat with a jean jacket vest underneath, fanning me with the wide sides of the coat. I try to clear my mind by staring at the pins on the vest. I have not seen some of these in years…and are those spikes on the shoulders?
“Trying to save on fabric – and look what it gets you.” This woman-voice coming from a lady creature in red. My goddess, she looked like someone I used to know. I focused on her face, not nearly as freaked as I probably should be, vulnerable on the street like that, her touching the polyester dress I had on under my other clothes.
Yeah, I’d been trying to save on fabric, I was reserving a scrap of seam for this particular client who seemed promising. last time I’d seen him he’d introduced himself as Bretton, and I thought, “oh fuck you and your simple lies you think will work and your hundred dollar bills, buddy,” because the doorman called him Marshall. I’d hustled him fast and was making my way uptown again to do it again. But due to this particularism I’d had to suck it in too much all day, and it was hot as the inside of a porta-potty, which now that I think if it, is a really good description of the inside of the club. Sweaty pissy don’t-touch-anything.
I sat up, all awake. She put her hand on my arm and gave me a water bottle to hold, “We were walking behind you and you passed the fuck out, honey.”
Thank fuck. I looked around, all these dudes in suits just walking by. What if it had been any of them walking behind me?
“Oh my god. Ugh it’s so hot. I was headed to work.”
She smiled at me as the person in the vest/coat combo picked up my bag. “Yeah, we are too. Next to Second Zone there’s work for folks like us.”
Zoing. Shit. She knew. She was too.
“Oh, yeah. Well, thanks. Christ, I feel all fucked up and weird now. Ooff and I have an appointment…” Dusting myself off, trying to act together.
“Yeah so do we. You gonna be ok?”
I was not sure how to answer that question. “I’ll make it today, thanks.” I looked right at her face, with the tiny lines on it I have always loved so much on my friends, her eyes deep brown and guarded with a kind of spirit, “Thanks so much.”
She looked at me hard and handed me a little slip of paper. “I’m Allyia, this is Jake. Here’s our number at our compound. I see you, girl. Just remember, you are a beautiful and intelligent creature, forced to live in an ugly world, one which requires that you make unintelligent choices like wearing two dresses on a hot day. So if you feel a little fucked up and weird, that’s also why.”
I saw that client after all. Not nearly as memorable though.
I still feel really out of it and fucked up today but I can’t let myself forget about that girl, Alliya, who helped me yesterday. The past is broken because it’s the past, she’s somewhere in the present — I can feel it even through the walls of my cloudy plasticky heart.
All I can do is look at numbers and words. Like 1961. A year that if turned upside down would still read the same. 2002 also functions this way, but only handwritten and even then not in cursive. What else can be turned upside down and still be the same? Some patterns, a few lives.
Without a real plan of how to get it done, I set out to find Alliya. I knew the neighborhood compound it was in, what else did I need? I had time, it was bikeable, she is most certainly obvious about something in her way of living. Most importantly: I didn’t wanna wait for the future to come any longer. I rode past a few interesting conversations on my way, “of course you don’t want to be a citizen – you’ll avoid the draft.” Really, people. Avoiding military service is of course easy if you have enough money to make choices like being a citizen or not in the first place.
The best thing she said to me, the thing which is drawing me to find her today, was when we were at on the street two days ago. That thing about beauty and intelligence and acknowledging that this is a fucked up place. I think it’s called mirroring, when someone reflects your reality back to you. I have missed that so badly.
On route there was an old storefront that had bins outside of it, free crap for whoever was strange enough to be out and about in the middleland between compounds to find it. I could bring gifts! I thought, and pulled over. In the metal bins were dozens of half-empty spray paint cans, colors that I’d forgotten I missed: maroon, gold, hot pink, light green. I took two of each and overstuffed my bag. It was pretty hard to bike with them all in there but I guess I’m used to doing things the hard way at this point.
Rolling past the shrubs and stubs of buildings along the way, I wondered if someday I’d stop biking, if there were ways of talking that didn’t use metaphors to talk about hard things, if I’d see a rainbow soon, just regular lovely bike riding thoughts. Getting to Zsquare, their spot, was easy enough on my wheels. The place was set up like a square—surprise—and I smiled at the person in the doorway sadly enough to just walk in with my bike. That’s outsider privilege and I know it. I only had to go halfway around the perimeter before I found her space; the doorway red with gold bottlecaps hammered in to create a shimmering starscape. Jake’s vest hung on a post right outside, maybe drying, maybe this was their way of having a coatrack or a house number.
I admit that I got completely drymouthed right before I knocked on the door. Starstruck. I arranged my paint cans in my arm like a shield and right as I lifted my arm to knock the door opened. “I knew you’d come by!” A waft of earth and sweet burning grasses and sweaty lady smells poured out of the door and again I felt the dysphoria of sensing home while being here wash over me.
She pulled me inside and I dumped the paint like splattered flower petals on the nearest table, “These are for you.” We quietly and fully looked at each other, in the face, like lovers who see each other rarely, do. My mind began to short out: Maybe she is taller than me or my size. Maybe she’s something I’ve imagined after being without enough magic and friends for so long. Maybe—
“Want some tea? I’ve been harvesting…”
We talked. And talked. And talked. She works. She sees it all happening, the politics and the horror and the heartache and the resistance. She lost a lot of people, too. She’s funny. She’s quirky. She has a small beard and sparkling eyes. We covered ground and then doubled back because it was fun to tell stories to someone who knows the players. We drew a circle in the earth for those we’d lost. I can’t begin to write everything because we said what felt like everything.
We’ll get together again next week.
If there’s her, there will be more. I might not die alone. This seems incredible.
With the paint I found yesterday, I wrote a poem on the wall of a closed bank today:
Here Lies Money, here lies cash
Dare you to burn, it’ll go up fast
And on a church:
Fuck Him If He Can’t Take A Joke
And on a car dealership:
We loved gas, we loved money
There’s no more of either
Isn’t that funny?
I really enjoy breaking into abandoned cities. The danger element comes primarily from the rampant wildlife, not people like it used to be. That’s different. There’s guaranteed:
- – hardware stores with paint
- – abandoned buildings with walls to spray the paint onto
- – beer and or liquor
- – fire escapes to climb and drink on
It reminds me of living in my old cities and doing just that before.
These headaches are killer. But not killer like I’d been gay and at a hotel party in the east side, just adjacent to the City, this weekend. Because then I would have had the bad fortune and timing to be dragged out of my happy small cloud, photographed on an commanding vigilante’s cell phone and slapped with a Protestant Differential charge. As if one’s wife finding out I like to fuck my bros and/or wear her clothes wasn’t likely going to give someone enough hell. Maybe they all had open, communicative agreements with their spouses? Sure, that’s what Making It is all about. As if those fuckers having their own bloc wasn’t enough, now there’s these Differential charges they think they can levy. Yeah, I think my headache is actually nothing.
Roaming squads of Injector Medics came by for the second time today. It’s getting harder and harder not to take their shots, but I don’t want to. None of us do. First off it’s fucking suspicious – the government wants to give me a shot? They don’t want to give me anything else. Not healthcare, not housing, certainly not a useful education and basically barely enough water to keep from passing out and take the occasional whore’s bath – and they want to give me a shot? Riiiight, here they are with free medicine? Girl, I’m not sick.
Secondly, by not taking their nanoantivirus, they’re imposing sanctions. No upgrade in my water, carbon, or energy can be placed on my record until I am immunized. No renewal of a drivers’ license. Most dire for many: no food stamps as of next month. The government, which is already a fucking shitshow, is just dumping anyone who does not participate in full compliance.
Why are these shots so important? Who’s the terrorist this week?
And what am I – what are we – gonna do about it?
Even though it’s hard to keep track of specific days, my body remembers the general time of anniversaries. Ten years ago I aborted voluntarily. Three years ago I pounded my head on the floor to get some relief. Four years ago I fell in love for real. Five years ago I was lonely but free. Two years ago I tried a cisman again. Twenty years ago I lived in a world of screaming. One year ago I thought I was really fucking together… History repeats itself, on small and large scales.
I think of my experience of consciousness, now more as a form of entertainment than as an automatic function of the mind, my mind. It’s been proposed that the origin of consciousness if in the breakdown of the bicameral mind, and if that’s correct, then each and every experience “I” have is just a chemical accident, a side effect of evolutionary biology, and cosmically irrelevant. And if my experience of life is irrelevant to the bigger picture, then I’m free to fuck up and start over and re-experience and make completely new assessments on a regular basis. I love that, it makes me so small I can’t break myself or the big picture.
But where does that leave responsibility? If I am an accident, when I believe I am relating to others is that also incorrect, another cosmic accident, or is the accident the great cause which then allows all that follows experientally to be real? What does it matter? I wonder why I am so lonely, that’s all. I want to be closer that I ever will be… ahhhh philosophy.