This life can be so crazy. And I’ve gone through just about everything. Horrific murders. Suicides. Rapes. Diseases. Tragedies and traumas of every stripe. Pain. Sickness. Etc and etc. This life is no bed of roses. And I have no easy answers for how to deal with it. .,. Somehow I’m still a functioning human being at age 66. And still enjoying my life on some levels. Still trying to make sense of it all. Still battling my way through my latest series of problems.
I have this thing, now that I’m an old man, now that I’m 66, a certifiable Old Man, as well as being Certifiable on other levels, too …. I like to go where The Action Isn’t.
If I hear “action” coming from some corridor?? I immediately move. I immediately try to find some quiet place where I can just sit and do nothing. And there is no action.
When I was younger? I wanted to be Where The Action Is. I wanted to make things happen. Nowadays? I’ve already happened. For better or worse. Nowadays I just want a quiet place to sit and nurse my wounds.
You want to see a happy cat??
Find a cat who hasn’t eaten in three days, and has spent the whole time outside in the rain trying to keep dry. And then feed ’em a big can of chunk chicken right as the sun is finally starting to come up.
You get some nice views from the Berkeley hills. That’s the San Francisco Bay, and Mount Tamalpias and Marin County off on the horizon. And behind that is the Pacific Ocean….. To the left, just out of the picture, is the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.
It’s supposed to come down hard overnight — as much as 2 inches of rain. This looks like the worst of it. It’s supposed to keep raining for the next 10 days, though none of the other incoming storms seem like they’re gonna be particularly powerful. But it’s the fact that the rain seems endless that tends to wear you down. We got 14 inches of rain in December. And now January seems like an endless series of storms. You just slog through it, and try and stay on top of it.
I’ve been depressed all day. I often get bogged down in this sad outlook. This life can be very strange. And there can be a lot of sadness to it. The older I get, the more unreal my life seems. It often seems more like a really strange dream, than something that’s solid and real. So many people I once knew have died. Their faces often pop into my head like ghosts. It’s one of the things that makes my life seem so unreal, I guess. The past had seemed so very real at the time. But now it’s just like a barely remembered dream. So much of my life seems like a strange hallucination. I’ve often wondered if I was crazy. I’ve never been a person with a firm grasp of reality, that’s for sure. I’m often not even sure what reality is. I’m sitting here on this huge ball that is hurtling through an infinite universe of endless time and space. I’ve got that much figured out. Just about everything else is up for grabs.
I’ll often do this weird thing in my head. I’ll walk by this building in Berkeley and I’ll remember being here in the past. I’ll think: “Yeah, it was 1983…..” And I’ll do the math in my head: “It was 40 years ago!” And I’ll remember the man I was back then. And the world I was living in then. And now it’s all gone. As if it never even happened. And I’ll think about all the things that have happened to me since then. And how the long and winding path over all the years led me from there, to where I am today. It often seems like I’ve just been walking around in endless circles. Leading me nowhere….
The Hindus maintain that this plane of existence is largely “maya” — an illusion. Sometimes I think God just set this all up as a cosmic play, with all these mysterious and mind-boggling dramas, played out on the stage of His own body, this eternal universe, for His own strange reasons. For His own amusement …
When you live on the streets you gotta do a lot of improvising. Thinking on your feet (literally). Using your wits (what little you still have left after all the weird shit you’ve been through over the years). Case in point:
I woke up this morning around 7, just as it was starting to get light. I slept in a doorway on the campus last night because a hard rain came down overnight. And now I want to pack up my campsite as quick as I can and get the hell out of there before anyone shows up. So I cram all my stuff into my big black garbage bag and head on out to the real world (so-called). A light rain is still falling as I make my way to my stash-spot nearby so I can stash my stuff. It’s this great stash-spot — this perfectly secluded spot behind these bushes — and I’ve been stashing my stuff there for years.
But as I pass by this grate that’s nearby, I hear this clanking sound coming from the grate. I look down in the grate and it’s this skunk who’s been trapped under the grate (you can see his black-and-white outline in the bottom left-hand corner of the photo).This particular skunk has been around the area for years (I’ve had previous encounters with him, not always pleasant). And now here he is, trapped in the goddamn grate. I had heard the clanking sounds a couple days ago and wondered what it was. And now I know. The poor guy has been trapped in there for several days now. He’s pacing back and forth furiously. And he’s making this high-pitched, crying, EEEEE-ing sound that no doubt translates into English as “HELP ME!!!”
The whole area wreaks of skunk smell. And this complicates my situation on several levels. For one, I can’t stash my stuff in the bushes nearby now because, a.) it’ll get skunk smell all over it, and b.) sooner or later somebody working on the campus grounds-crew is gonna find out about the skunk, and in the process of snooping around they’ll discover my stash-spot. And that’ll be the end of my great stash-spot.
So now, I gotta figure out on the fly where I can find a new stash-spot to stash my stuff. Which is no easy task at this point — 7 in the morning, groggy, in the rain, and lugging a heavy garbage bag full of crap over my shoulder…. But that’s life on the streets. You gotta figure this stuff out on the fly (or fail to do so). No matter how smooth of a set-up you may have, it can all fall apart on you in a blink of an eye.
Plus I gotta figure out if there’s any way I can save that poor skunk. The poor bastard.
(I went back to check on the skunks the next day… It turns out one of them managed to escape by climbing up the plank I had propped up in the crate. But he knocked the plank down into the grate in the process. So the other skunk is still stuck down there… I managed to find one of the workers in the building and they’re calling Animal Management to get the skunk out of there. Finally they showed up and rescued the poor guy. The End.)
Some people like to watch movies and television. Mini Scaredy likes to watch the trees. Sometimes she’ll sit there for an hour just gazing out at the woods. . . I’m not exactly sure what she gets out of the experience. There’s not much of a plot. But the special effects can be fabulous.