I’m back. I think I’m losing a battle with jet lag, to be honest, so this is going to be fractured…
The weather’s gone odd on me. I leave, it’s winter. I’m back, it’s time for the summer wardrobe. San Francisco in Macrocosm.
Some notes from the road:
One: Head Weather
This is the place where the hippies won, is it? This city of homeless people pushing shopping carts, and drug-fractured mental wiring? Clear blue skies, but the fog and cloud is ready to roll it at any time, obscure the way things are. This is the city where they beat The Man, apparently. There’s a Gap on the corner of Haight and Ashbury, opposite a Ben and Jerry’s.
A Beat city, or a Beaten city?
Two: Protest God
Berkley: Birthplace of student protest. There was a man with a cross dencouncing the inhabitants of the campus and sinful, and exhorting them to give thmesvles over to Jesus. Another man stopped to argue a semantic point of religion. It got heated. I thought I was going to see a proper protest. Imagine my disappointement.
Three: Stag Night Blues – Stripped Down
I was flagging when we hit Kerouac’s bar, Vesuvio. A couple of coffees and a healthy dose of whiskey, topped off with a tequila, and everything was going great guns. Then it was off the stag-night staple: a strip joint. I don’t like them. I have a friend (well, we’ve lost touch, but anyway) who worked in one. This isn’t a sob story about her being forced there: she was there because the money was good. I used to meet her after work, some nights, when she finished early.
It was interesting, hearing her talk about work. She didn’t hate these people. She didn’t feel used by them. She just felt a bit sorry for them. Sure, there were the really weird and frightening ones. There were the ones for whom this was the closest to a proper sexual experience they were going to get. She pitied them, I guess, when she wasn’t unnnerved by them. No it was the others. The normal guys. She used to wonder what it was that was wrong in their lives, that this was a satisfying sexual experience. Sure, the stag do, the lads nights out, that she could understand, sort of. But the normal guys that would come in on their own, or in ones and twos. Sober, ordinary people. People who, in her view, should not have had serious trouble getting a date. Not bad looking. Not, as far as she could tell during her (admitedly short) conversations brain damage cases. Normal people. She couldn’t see why they would chose this, this thin fake, over a chance of something better? I don’t get it either. Nor, if I’m honest, do I get why this is a stag night staple. It’s not like any groom worth marrying is going to have any serious reaction, beyond “yes, yes, very nice, now can I go back to my wife-to-be?”