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2.03.2005

a kindred spirit


discotheque, 2004 - by chad

Again, thanks to Rich for being the inspiration for the title to that photo as well.

Today, it seems as if I was never sick, save for a residual lightheadedness. I simply cannot believe how quickly I recovered. My strength returned in leaps and bounds, and it seemed I felt better and better every minute. In fact, last night, my friend Greg called and asked me to meet him and a friend of his out for drinks and some billiards. Always a sucker for cocktails and pool, and I had been cooped up inside for a few days, I (perhaps unwisely) threw on something cute and headed downtown to the subway to take me to the dreaded Castro, where I was to meet them at Detour, a decidedly cruisy and dirty bar (but with a nice pool table).

I actually kind of like the place. Go figure.

Greg immediately started feeding me cocksucker shots and put a pool cue in my hand. I actually won the first game fair and square, then scratched on the next one. We decided to move on to...yeah, you guessed it, Badlands, where I decided to just get down and dirty on the dance floor and just shake that ass you see two posts down all over the place. It felt good...I actually love dancing and working up a sweat. It gives me a great endorphin rush, actually...they were actually playing some good songs. I got my ass grabbed a few times, too.

It happens.

I started feeling tired, and obeying the signals my body was sending me, I bid Greg and company farewell, and hopped back on the metro to take me back downtown. As I walked up Kearny Street, I could see that all the neon lights of North Beach, along with everyone's apartment windows, were all dark. Bright pink flares were all over the streets, and it appeared that the nightly North Beach party had ended early. What on earth, I thought, has happened now?

Turns out an underground transformer exploded spectacularly and knocked out at least four grids. Great. This made the third time in 24 hours my power had been out...why the hell do I bother resetting all my digital clocks?

As I walked into my building, I saw my building manager, Paul, had set out little saucers with tea lights in the hallways so people returning home would have light. Pretty nice of him, actually. He's kind of an odd fellow, a 40 year-old San Francisco native, friendly, definitely marches to the beat of his own drum (I do that too, except in my case, it's an accordion). He's lived in the same apartment since he was 20, and has had the same phone number since he was born in 1965 (it was originally his parents' number in Russian Hill). During the day, he's a chef at Enrico's, and oddly (for an American, but not particularly a San Franciscan), he's never driven a car in his life.

I eventually ran into Paul and asked him if I could borrow a few tealights, as I'm fresh out, and haven't had a chance to run over to Emeryville and grab another bag of Glimma from Ikea. He happily tossed a few handfuls my way, and we went and sat on the stairs in the lobby and started shooting the shit. We had a pretty interesting conversation...in the hour or so we talked, I found out all the dirt on some of the tenants in the building. We talked about cement trucks, pot smoking, washing machines, ships, levitation, toilet tanks, date-stamping on Western Electric telephone components, and other random minutiae. It was the perfect A. D. D. conversation. I loved it.

At one point, in the low light, Paul looked like a ten year-old, with his hair all wild and crazy, jumping around a bit, and his friendly, almost child-like, quite-animated demeanor. I knew right then and there what it was like to hang out with Paul when he was ten. And I suspect had we lived in the same neighborhood, in the same state, we probably would have been best friends. He told me he had always been a sort of misfit who never had a lot of friends, but didn't really need any. I'm the exact same way. When I was a kid, I barely had any friends at all, but didn't really care. The friends I did have were fellow misfits like myself...shunned by everyone else and ousted from their cliques. Paul was like all my childhood friends all rolled into one...and for a brief second, I felt like a ten year-old again, sitting there, just talking about random shit that nobody else would talk to me about.

Try finding another ten year-old who wants to discuss the difference between a Westinghouse Silverliner and a Thomass Betts streetlight fixture, or who knows how to draw a Honeywell thermostat from memory. It's next to impossible. They'd rather just kick your ass and leave it at that.

I also realized something else...believe it or not, native San Franciscans are not much different than native Clevelanders. Every single one I've met tend to be quite friendly, middle-of-the-road, down-to-earth, hard-working, grounded, and have lots and lots of common sense. It's all the wackos from all over the country that flock to San Francisco that give the city its reputation, and they roll their eyes at the PC out-of-control atmosphere that permeates this city, as do I.

I went upstairs after bidding Paul good night, carefully trying not to spill hot parrafin on my hand as I navigated the darkness...happy I wasn't alone in this world, and a fellow misfit like myself lived just downstairs from me.

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2 Comments:

At 08:14, Blogger Knottyboy said...

You've hit upon the very heart of humanity. Misfit, fringe dwellers sharing a bit of lunacy together. Sharing common ideas, learning new data and witnessing a momentary glimpse of the child within.
k

 
At 11:37, Blogger Mariana said...

I want to roller-skate down that photo...how lucky that you've found a friend! :)

 

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