September 1 1998, Tuesday
had a dream this morning. I was back in my old high school, Riverheads High, the same age I am now, looking around for a group of my old high school class mates and Mrs. Dillon, my 10th grade English teacher. I couldn't find them anywhere and eventually wandered into the office. At this point the secretary confronted me with an empty aluminum can labeled "Vodka _____" (commercial vodkatea?). It had been found on top of a locker (along with a few beer cans) the last time I'd visited Riverheads (my last dream perhaps?). I played stupid and said I knew nothing about the can, but I knew it was mine. The secretary was on to me and refused to believe the can hadn't come from me, and by the end of the dream I'd been humiliatingly escorted from the school and asked never to return. It would be nice to never again have dreams of returning to my high school, but I doubt I'll be so lucky. I spend a lot of time back in high school in my dreams. That place must have left particularly indelible scars on my subconscious. I only rarely dream of other places from my past.
ack Kevorkian has always been a hero of mine. I admire his no-nonsense view of death and deeply respect his gutsy attitude as he deftly handles each and every volley hurled by self-righteous politicians out to score political points with the dinosaurian religious right. In Virginia, of course, Jack Kevorkian was a national figure, but here in the Detroit metro area, Dr. Death is local talent. Today the pompous governor of Michigan signed legislation further criminalizing assisted-death here in the state now world-famous for the practice. Try as it might, the repressive mechanisms of the legal system cannot find a jury willing to throw Kevorkian in jail, so now there's yet another law. From a historical perspective, of course, what we see happening here is Kevorkian successfully diminishing each politician rising to the paradigm-shifting challenge he presents. I want governments to withdraw from their arrogance in claiming jurisdiction over the business of mortality, but it's delicious seeing their credibility further weakened as they continue to forever choose the path of maximum stupidity.
n the roadtrip west, to begin as early as Friday, Kim and I will be heading straight to St. Louis, Missouri, where we'll stay at Gabe's (Kim's former boyfriend's) house. Then it's on to Lawrence, Kansas, and then south to Phoenix, Arizona, where we'll stay with Kim's most decadent aunt, Rhonda. San Diego isn't really all that far from there.
I'm going to be leaving my Dodge Dart with Matt Rogers, who will try to sell it for me.
im was visiting family "Downriver" (in the communities south of Detroit) most of the day, so I was free to work on things uninterrupted. Eventually, though, I wanted to turn off the rock and roll and get out of the house. I climbed on my three speed and headed off towards the University of Michigan campus.
It was utter madness out on the streets. Fifty thousand university students are back in Ann Arbor to continue their education, most of them trying to make sense of new homes and new parking paradigms. In front of all the houses, huge piles of hastily-tossed refuse from the summer residents, much of it perfectly good, stands beckoning towny trash pickers while most of the students (God forbid they be seen gathering trash!) stand in long lines at Meijers buying next year's curb-side refuse. Complicating matters, police have temporarily reassigned as one-way many of the streets near campus. The people in blue stand at the intersections waving cars through in various counter-intuitive ways while engines idle impatiently. I was glad I was on a bike. If these students could simply break free of the typical American mindset requiring them to impress people with their shiny new rides, none of this traffic nonsense would be necessary.
When for a second time I encountered the the manic musings-reading bicycle-riding Social Engineering party guy, we rode parallel for a time chatting. He was less manic today, but no less driven. I felt bad not to be able to attend his Social Engineering party, so, to give him hope I might attend, I said maybe circumstances would conspire to keep me in town.
But I'm glad I'm leaving this town; just during the course of this summer, the university computing people in Angell Hall have systematically eliminated all the software upon which I depend.
ack home, Sophie the Dog greeted me enthusiastically. Kim says she likes men in her life, and I guess she has come to see me as her master. Sophie is very tolerant, and doesn't even get upset when Kim and I have sex right in front of her, which is usually the way we do it.
Kim greeted me at the door with a wine glass of vodkatea in her hand. She's taken to my drink of choice like a gutterpunk to Mad Dog. It's so unexpected and refreshing to find her voluntarily drinking a beverage most people can't seem to understand.
he program for tonight was to hit another restaurant with Mother and Chuck and yet again live the high life completely for free. Well, that was one of two options. The other option (hanging out with total strangers at the Del Rio) didn't interest me much. Originally we were going to do Indian food and the Raja Rani, the restaurant on the first floor of the apartment housing the Division Street Girls (remember them?; it feels like a lifetime ago). But then Chuck decided he'd rather have some southwestern cuisine, so we ended up down on Bob Seger's Main Street at a place called the Prickly Pear.
I knew things were going to be just fine when Mother ordered a pitcher of margaritas. Beyond that, though, the food really was excellent (even if no entre could be had for less than ten dollars). I had the buffalo burrito containing genuine bison meat. It was exotic enough for Mother to express her usual simulated-dainty alarm. But she did end up trying some.
As usual, the conversation was pleasant and amusing, and I found it relatively easy to be continually impressive. The white rabbit I pulled from my hat today was the fact that my grandfather, Clarence DeMar, won the Boston Marathon seven times. It was another excellent thing to have on my resumé as the suitor of Mother's precious little daughter.
We got to talking about Matt Rogers again. "Poor Matt Rogers" (as we all say these days), he didn't get the projectionist job at the University of Michigan, the one Spunky Lisa had tried to get for him. The interview had gone very well, but he was no-doubt foiled by the U of M good ole boy network. Mother said she thought Matt Rogers was awfully sweet and intelligent, but that he seemed a bit effeminate. I assured her this wasn't the case.
Somehow Mother has gotten word that I do writing on the web, and she wants the URL. I'm thinking of creating an expurgated journal of our westward travels at Tripod or some place uncool like that.
After dinner, Mother tried to convince us to come back to the hotel (not Webers; some new place) with her and Chuck. But Kim wanted to do something else. Decision making was difficult partly because that's how Mother is but also because the margaritas had eroded our resolve.
ventually Kim and I decided to head back home. We ate some valium she'd obtained from her cousin and also drank a pot of coffee. Matt Rogers came over in the late evening, and we all had a long conceptual conversation about how to make money on the web without compromising our principles. Kim, disgusted with the selection of travel books about San Diego, wanted to start some sort of web-based travel guide, perhaps with an actual series of books that could be purchased on the side. And Matt, pumped-up on the idea of offset printing, wanted to sell art-books for inflated prices.
I've always believed that the best path for me is to simply give away my writing without fuss to as many people as I can (my principle method for doing this right now is these musings). But I also recognize the need to produce tangible objects if I really want to support myself, if I want to do something other than dreary cubicle work for the greater fraction of my adult life.
As for these musings, and the character I am making of myself herein, I said that I try to be shocking and obnoxious periodically to scare away commercial interests and mainstream press coverage so I can remain somehow in the idealistic underground. This didn't work for Kurt Cobain, true, but the niche world of the web is a different sort of place and I'm not a heroin-abusing emotional wreck. It occurred to me that the best way to use my writing as some sort of self-supporting mechanism without compromising my subversive attitude would be to resume painting and discretely market new paintings through here. I had a taste of the possibilities in early April and I think that's the most viable (and ultimately satisfying) use of my particular set of talents. This paragraph sounds terribly arrogant, I know, but it is based on reality. And the truth is that I crave attention, and am especially pleased when I get it despite how "radio-unfriendly" I make my "rock and roll."
y midnight, the valium, heated discussion and coffee had all conspired to cause a nauseating burning in my stomach. I lay for a time on the ratty old porch couch fearing I would throw up.
Al Schroeder really does believe he is the cutting edge of cool, isn't that amusing!
one year ago
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