Unaccustomed As I Am

Today was a day when I awoke to an early alarm and got myself on my way to BART and then to the East Bay. It felt like a morning-commute kind of morning, but intents and purposes were at odds with the Typicals and the Normals.

“You are only you and that’s a very brave thing to show the world.” — “Saint Chola” by K. Kvashay-Boyle

Who am I today? Who is it to be shown to that small portion of the world this morning, the one that matters? That’s a Dear Diary page yet to be written here in the back seat of a BART car, a seat that upon leaving the City will have me facing the City. Yes, that quirk of mine still exerts itself.

There are iPod ads all over the Powell Street Station, Apple’s magical genius cut from aluminum and electronica, glass and magic, and Apple is not who I am today—though I’m wearing one of their caps.

Ads for saving Darfur are all around Montgomery Street Station, but who I am right now doesn’t exist outside the EaseInEaseOut shape of the segment of BART tracks from here to my There.

Embarcadero Station has snarky sneaky-peek ads, incongruous and prescient. The aptness is ridiculous and haunting.

We’re under the waters of the Bay now, carving two more traffic lanes between the City ad Oakland. It’s always loud and my ears always pop. It’s a tossup on which feels better: quiet pressure or open cacophony. More portents.

<br/> The Trip Back

Enlightenment. A new window opens. That’s not exactly right, for the window was always there, but the view was never deemed worthy of more than cursory glances: We already knew what’s out there.

But we didn’t. Any given New World comes from nowhere but the Old World, just seen with better eyes, heard with better ears and pondered with extreme care and absent conceit. And didn’t we all know that all along?

Heaven is a city much like San Francisco, wherever your own version of San Francisco situates itself on a map and no matter what it’s called.

Wisdom is a gift that comes in odd shaped boxes and, absent foil and paper and bows, we often mistake it for something we already think we know.

My Television Overnight

Never trust the cold-blooded with matters of the heart; never expect children to be valorous. Reptiles thrive among the humans, as do bait-fish. And children, lacking the physical completeness required to intuit their way through nuance or lacking the emotional maturity to look beyond “but why?” and “more?” are mostly abused by Republicans as political fodder.

Ironically, it occurs to me that the cold-blooded are nothing more than the ones who churlishly answer the children’s questions with “because I can” and “not enough”. And this makes me sad. I’d have said “embittered”, but days like today don’t offer the luxury of gesticulated histrionics.

I was in the Mission today trying to get home.


After a flash-backed event the night before. After sleep never really came down. After hasty morning preparations and a fast walk to BART. After a transbay BART ride followed by a shuttle ride followed by another walk, followed by accomplishing a necessity so complicated and upsetting and relieving and distressing and important and modal that I lost track of time and space and a conscious awareness of the round trip home. Found the shuttle stop. Got to BART. Got to 24th & Mission Street. Google Maps says it’s 7/10 of a mile to my home. I’m dizzy. Legs not working right. Stumbling. Stopping. Looking for a cab. No cab. Walk further. Stopping. No cab. More walking. Cross Cesar Chavez Street. Stopping. No cab.

Cross Mission Street. Walk past the dead shell of Cafe Commons. Like my immediate state of mind (I’m lucky I remember even that). Finally a cab and I get in. Tell cabbie I’m not well and I just need a ride up the hill. Up the hill. Can’t be more than 90 seconds to my place. A $4.00 charge. I hand him a twenty and two $1 bills and ask for a $10 back. I asked if I got that right and he said nothing. Oh well. I tripped out of the cab and fumbled with the car door and then the back gate and then the iron gate and got in the house.

Having not spoken more than a dozen words all day, I have no voice when I answer the grousing cat.

Water. That’d be good. I gulp a large glass and the coldstreak runs down me and spreads through me and pricks those uncomfortable parts that illuminate harsh realities: the house is empty and I am alone.

I dozed off leaning sideways, feet in shoes, shoes on floor, tears in eyes.

I righted myself at some point later and phoned my folks. They’re always there for me; they always know what to say and what not to say and this is a special blessing on a day where my own voice is a reptile and an impudent child.

I am awake. I am alone. I am disagreed.