Sunday, April 1, 2012

Another Day In Saint-Tropez


Another day in Saint-Tropez, and it seems the sun feels compelled to burn this fucker down.

Think there’s merit in its motivation?

Like an activist hellbent on bringing down the circus tent? No. I always found most radical rhetoric retarded. I mean... I could try to get it, but I’m too caught up in the spectacle. Besides, Hartford never put a stop to the circuit. And it wouldn’t have, even if Noah himself had tossed a molotov beneath that Big Top...

On top of that, I’m an avid advocate of hedonism, who the fuck am I to say when enough’s enough?

How about when the exploits become as oppressive as they are excessive? Some would find the detachment here unpalatable.

I’m sure they’re not all blood diamonds... And, if the sum of those ‘Some’ have constructively attempted to turn attention towards the tragedy, then I commend them. But, if they’ve just decided to bitch about it behind email chains, plumes of smoke and fumes of smug at corner cafes from hemispheres away, then they can shut the fuck up and consider themselves the real tragedy. You know what I find excessive? Masturbatory morality. Or better yet, attempting to coerce compassion from others when your own is as fickle as the flame that lights that American Spirit. The American Spirit that’s propping its ‘butthole’ for Joe Camel’s sandy shaft when it’s not making a Manhattan Transfer with the one on your face. The Joe Camel with the billion dollar bank account you feed. I think I saw him at the Plage des Graniers getting blown by Christian Audigier. Heard that fancy designer’s got a taste for the shittier side of the american spirit...

Yeah, I heard Audigier spent a million euro in one night here... Jesus though, wow, how jaded have you become?

The struggle to save the world was abandoned long ago in the struggle to save myself.

Boo-fucking-hoo. How recycled is that rhetoric?

Either way, back to the Big Top. The people love the entertainment. Here, they are the entertainment. I’m coming to love the entertainment. But, I can’t afford to be the entertainment...

You don’t have to shine to be a star.

True. I can’t think of a better place to find myself done up in the dirt. A better place to make a king-sized bed of a humble floor. A more satiating scene in which to go hungry.

A more hilarious place to be homeless?


Fucking Saint-Tropez.

This city is stacked with beds a mortgage couldn’t afford. Serves spreads that could render sultans insolvent. And built on dirt that sells like diamond dust. An irony pipe to the jaw; the Sisters of Fate really stroked the funny boner on this one... What the fuck?

Astrono-me through anomaly.

Yeah, what the hell am I doing here? I must have been a golden ticket holder.

Well, Chuck U. Pharley...

But at this extravaganza, the nose-bleed section is for the VIPs. The altitude is chemically induced via white-line transit, and it seems the majority are granted access. A mass cast of Very Important Performers. My golden ticket only grants me ground level access, from where I mostly watch The Show like Galileo.

A celestial circus. But these lions are truculent tricks, and their tamers are pricks with wallets for whips. At least the ones I’ve heard throw threats and thousands. I’ll reserve my judgement for the rest...

Even so, the display has me hooked like a gaff. Ensnared, on a barb that tickles and tortures. Sometimes I can’t help but wince. I’d be amazed if MTV hasn’t already made an attempt to capture this social carnage for another gut-fucking ‘reality’ series.

Yeah, but here there are no cameras. No directors. No scripts. This is a reality. You know it because you’re a part of it. That’s the real gut-fucker...

I see a deity in Dior step from a boutique and onto the curb as I stroll down the street with my liver in an ocean and my head in the clouds. She’s gorgeous. Her body is Aphrodisian. A high-heeled Helen of Troy with her hands on her hips and her face like one to launch a thousand pricks on million dollar yachts. I know this because I see them clamor like clowns at an auction in her atmosphere. But this one was stolen and sold long ago. I know this because I see her Paris parade his high-priced sense of entitlement around in said atmosphere like he just made it on television for all the right reasons. She turns, asserts her gaze, bares her teeth and barks at him in the most vicious tone I’ve ever imagined could be spit from velvet lips. Her voice is vitriol and her message is murderous. That atmosphere has gone ominous.

“I sed zee fecking black one Tony! I’m fecking tired and I vant go back to ze hotel you fecking idiot! Nessuno me lo ficca in culo!” She swings her purse forward at him like a tethered tomahawk. “Pezzo di merda!” Her scream rips through the air like a chainsaw.

Paris quickly cowers like a cunt before he can eventually muster resolve. He then slowly marches back into the shop to fix his seven thousand dollar mistake. An effort to keep her claws from binging on his blood. They briefly retract.

An exchange that’s beyond enthralling. Sometimes, I can’t help but join The Sisters in their chorus of cachinnation.

I take another pull from the quickly warming bottle in my hand, and glance rearwards to see Old Man X five meters behind me. I stop beneath an awning for a moment to observe the phenomenon. I seem to see him almost every day. He’s got seventy-plus years behind him, and seven billion-plus dollars beneath him. Or, so I imagine. Bills endlessly fly from his crooked fingers in flocks. And my attention is never taken by the presence of Old Man X himself, but the god-crafted creations that circumnavigate his existence like desperate planets. Subservient seraphs from outer space that never abandon their obsequious orbit. And their gravity is ocular. There are six of them. And they may have been engineered in Eden. Three blonds and three brunettes. They wear costly strips of pearl and cream colored dresses, that cling to their figures like the fabric itself is fixated with the flesh. A delicacy of divinity.

One could understand... Like harmoniums in the Sirens Of Titan...

And every strip of dress on those Sirens, as well as the Sirens themselves are bought and paid for by Mr. X himself. I heard his millions unto eventual billions began accruing back in Russia before “Mr. Gorbacahev” tore down that wall. Obviously, a curious enterprise given the circumstances. Though the look on his face would lead you to believe that the majority of his efforts were unwillingly exhausted under Gulag direction. He dons a chronic rictus of repugnance like every day of his life has begun with somebody spraying hot diarrhea onto his cold Cheerios. He devoured the meal in spite anyway. He’s got the paunch to prove it. And he snaps like a doberman at servers and bartenders to keep that belly bloated in a manner that suits him. They all accommodate like sycophants and feed the monster behind that belly, hoping he’ll spare some change.

What a dick...

Yeah, but who’s the bigger beast? The beast himself, or the sum of those who engorge his growing appetite with their unconditional servitude? And who the fuck am I to judge the guy? Maybe he’s seen some shit.

Relinquishing humanity to personal history? Talk about trite...

Yeah... He shuffles and huffs down the street. Scowling, like an indignant walking dead. Escorted past Peter and The Pearlies with angels on his arms.

Seems a bit hot for Heaven, doesn’t it?

Per reminder from Mr. Craig Finn in my headphones, I’m trying to “stay positive”...

Old man X is panting like that doberman beneath the cooking sun, and soaking that expensive white suit in sweat. It seems to peel away, towards the ground in it’s soured weight. His skin seems to follow suit. Heavy and saturated with decades of UV's, cigar smoke, and vodka. Designer shades shield red eyes. Sixty sexy fingers caress the decay like it were Adonis instead. And I’m forced to do more morbid math as I question if this drooping Ruskie has had anything more than just a stiff drink in the last five years, sans the early onset of rigor mortis.

He’s had to, his big white lines are probably laced with that little blue pill.

Regardless, six? Even if with twelve inches of zombie dong between those arthritic knees, that would still only be two inches between them. ... And I’ve never felt so opposed to holding a stale baguette...

First of all, gross... Stop before you throw up all that good wine. Second of all, you should know good and well by now that this place epitomizes the ‘notion’ that the size of your dick is measured in dollars.

Yeah, well, if that’s the case, my colt cock on this stallions’s race track is another testament to the anomaly that is my extended presence here...

I catch my dim-lit reflection in the store front window just earlier at my back, beneath the awning. I’m starting to sweat through the third shirt I own. A black, cotton one with a large Hurley ‘H’ on the front--a treasure I came across in the days when my over-employed efforts for a broadcasting company back in San Diego were compensated with left over swag and a stiff, gold-choked middle finger from the big boss upstairs.

Wouldn’t be surprised if he was here now, with said finger choking the throttle on one of his palatial yachts...

Yeah, fuck that guy... Either way, if black weren’t the only choice, it would have been a bad one...

The chalky grey shorts that hang on my boney hips are a prize from a party I threw years ago at my overly humble abode in college. Scavenged and forced to fit their oversized adopter, they’ve come to look faded and tired in their service. They’re falling apart. And my travel ravaged skate shoes struggle to stay strung together themselves. They look and smell like they’ve spent six months in a rathole with Hussein. The glue is slowly losing it’s will to hold. But I love them nonetheless. Grime coated and all. They’ve carried me through more countries than any pair I think I’ll ever own--thank you, Mr. Dyrdek.

‘Slovenly suited’ has certainly become your style. Thirteen months on the travel circuit has really taken it out of you. You are officially this party’s pauper...

I’m just going to chalk it up to the juxtaposition...

I spin around slowly as I continue my climb up the sidewalk. An attempt to make visual validation of the aforementioned ‘notion’. I feel like a cheap center piece on a roulette wheel in The Monte Carlo Cas. But this bank’s unbreakable. As is the scenery. Continuous circular streams of “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” come to fruition. The current’s forced by currency and I’m dizzied by it’s flow. Gold and gems glint beneath the sun and flash and twist like this corridor’s a kaleidoscope. Diamonds and pearls swing from limbs like grand chandeliers. Lamborghinis and Ferraris rev idled engines in streets they can barely fit on. Throwing waves of heat into the autoclave that already is this narrow space between towering two story buildings. The unabashed passengers and drivers present themselves like they’re royalty for the whole world to see. It’s a fucking parade. Those on foot click-clack up and down the cobble stone in thousand dollar shoes. Hand bags worth more than I’ve ever had in my life hug hips that sway with each step. Queens collect in droves towards the wealthiest kings. Princes yammer and yelp like half-jacked off dogs contending for the bustiest queens. Designer suits and dresses scream as loud as they can to commandeer attention. It’s a shouting match. Everybody is trying to be heard. Ostentation has become the ordinary. My guts attempt to contend with the volume by way of an unnerving growl. I take a look at the baguette in one hand, and the half-pink bottle of booze in the other--my valued possessions. Fuck, I’m hungry...

Got a feeling that the ‘unnerving’ end of that extends far beyond an empty belly. Jealous? Upset? Pseudo-penis envy?

Thanks, but to be honest, I’ve never had any complaints in that department. And in regards to the former two inquiries, I think I’m just amazed. Seems like the biggest worry these people might have is which color to coat their Maserati. Which ten thousand dollar watch to wear. Which six thousand dollar bottle of champagne to throw down their throats. And how many other citizens see the results of those choices made. Any worry later met with anything less than pluperfect satisfaction, erupts Mt. Temper Tantrum. These laneways are swarming with spoiled brats. The only rotten things in this pristine place.

Yikes... Tous ne sont pas comme ca. And I’m sure there might be more to it than that...

Yeah, Townshend’s fucking “Eminence Front” playing out right in front of my eyes...

Huh. Something told me the cachinnation was equally matched with disconcertion...

I don’t know. I suppose it’s just strange to think four months ago, the streets I strolled through were congested with ‘concerns’ of the probability of an evening meal, affording medicine for an illness, or putting a roof over a one room home with three walls that worked less like a colander.

These size thirteen DC’s took me over sweltering sidewalks in Bali and Bangkok that looked like Northridge circa ’94. Rubbled. Ridden with decay. Shoeless, far-from-spoiled children ran rampant over debris laden roads clogged with chaos and hot exhaust from a seeming two thousand two-stroke engines. Kids cut flawlessly past mo-ped traffic, rabid dogs and vendors like mini Heisman winners. Sailing over busted slabs of concrete where their tired comrades slept on sheets of prime cardboard real estate next to piles of slow-roasting dog shit. Always with smiles and laughter on their faces...

Even the crippled geriatrics they blasted past with more fingers than teeth were smiling...

I once made a double day venture into an Indonesian hospital--on account my traveling companion’s bum luck with a possibly rabid animal--that felt like a trip to a Wes Craven film studio. Disarray coated in crimson. Screaming infants. A woman dying in the cot behind me. A young girl with a seething infection on her foot that looked like it had spent six months growing into a purple mass at the bottom of the Red Sea, wailing, while doctors painted it in antiseptic. Her mother stood by her side clutching her hand with tears welling in her eyes. And while a creeping dizziness began to overtake me, I questioned how the fuck the foot got like that in the first place.

Suppose it’s a bit difficult to get seconds on first-aid in the third world?

And even amidst all of it--as I stepped outside for a breath of less-than-fresh Denpasar air--I came to find women, some more-than-fresh in mourning, with smiles on their faces, offering prayers to all those who crossed their paths. Paragons of a people who have seemed to find so much inner peace amongst so much outer strife. A people still so rich in faith while left destitute in so many other ways. I mean, it’s no Rwanda or Sudan, but Jesus...

Maybe they find it in the beauty that surrounds them...

Yeah? Well, then what the fuck seems to be the problem here? This place is like fucking Atlantis. Crystal-blue water, sunshine, sand. And yeah, I’d be full of it, not to admit, “tous ne sont pas comme ca là-bas...” Every place on the planet has it’s share of malevolent assholes. I saw my share of them in Indonesia as well. People trying to rip you off. People trying to rip off each other. Still, there’s something to be said for the majority of the attitudes I experienced there. A resilience in spirit amongst poverty that’s baffling in contrast to some of the discontent I’ve experienced in this posh paradise.

I hear Lupe in my headphones. “This world is such a fucked up place...”

I know... If I think about it too much, it can start to make me sick... But I can’t help but wonder what makes it all so different. How some can have so much and still be so fucking pissed about it. So unsatisfied...

Hold on, I need a break...

I step into the nearest corner store--they’re getting to know me there--and make the most of the five Euros left in my pocket. Another four Euro bottle of vino. Something to wine down the possibly pending upset. It’s too hot to get distraught now.

Besides, it’s Saint-Tropez, it’s beautiful. Just head to the top of the citadel where nobody is. Sit on the wall, relax, and watch the boats go by. See the world through rose colored bottles.

I exit the shop and begin my ascent. Up the narrow cobbled alleyways where the sun fights to crawl down the walls to the cooler earth. I break free of the town and hit the dirt track up to the citadel. A fortress from the 15th century that sits high on the cliffs, overlooking water on three sides. A sea-side cemetery rests in peace below. It’s been there for centuries. I am a speck on the timeline of this shoreline. I take a deep breath as I begin to hike the skyward trail.

And the student of science in me attempts to understand the former query pragmatically:

Obviously not enough booze in the blood yet...

*Some people just become incredibly used to eating grand meals with a silver spoons everyday. And a slip below anything than what has become standard, seems an offensive change--cheated out of what they feel they’re entitled to. Others just become incredibly used to being hungry. And anything that seems to stave said hunger for any moment of time, seems a blessing.

That was your scientific pragmatism?

Well, I was going to go into something on dogs, Pavlovian Response, and behavioral/cognitive development, but it’s thirty-three degrees, and I’m about a full bottle of Rose down--not enough to let this go, but just enough to make certain concepts hard to grasp--and I’m not sure if the examples would hold any water. Fuck it. It’s basically flaccid theory on conditioning. On how it’s possible that some can take so much for granted. On how some cannot even realize what they have and still want so much more.

Like you’ve never taken anything for granted...

I know. If I think about it too much, it can start to make me sick...

I arrive at the top of the trail, just atop the citadel’s inner rock wall. It’s thick and ancient, but only at my waist in it’s highest sections. I follow it around to the cliff above the cemetery, and find a seat on the wall in the shadow of the citadel’s tower. The air is cooler up here. And the slow rolling breeze off of the sea fills my lungs and lightens my senses. It’s slightly intoxicating.

I’m sure the wine helps too.

The water is glowing cobalt beneath the neon infusing sun, hanging high in the sky. The cobalt turns turquoise as it thins and seeks to steal space from the pale shore--revealing shallow rocks and reef below, in it’s clarity. Bronzed belles lay below like living effigies on the sand at Plage De Graniers. Like sculpted stars, radiating all that is their amatory glory. Red-tiled roof tops pepper lush, green hills that roll off the edge of this Eden. Sea birds float on the air like otherworldly entities. A bewildered smile stretches across my face. I take off my headphones for a moment. It’s quiet. Just the breeze to softly stir the ambiance.

“This world is such a beautiful place...”

Nobody else hears it. Just me. I’m alone up here. Happy right now, but alone. It’s a Chris McCandless kind of moment as my mind attempts to manifest images from memories. Names and faces I’d love to share this all with. I miss the friends I left behind... I wish they were here. In their absence, I realize how lucky I am to have them and how much they mean to me.

I tilt the bottle in my favor once again. A venture to dilute any unpleasantness evoked in recalling instances when I may have taken the time we shared for granted...

Told you. Hypocrite...

And yes, I realize how lucky I am to have the friends I have here, but circumstance has seemed to sour what we had for the moment for reasons beyond my control. I’d love to share this with them, but I feel they’d rather share the business end of bullets. A bitter sweet situation. And while the sweet far outweighs the bitter in volume, the bitter has a potency that goes down like glass and poison. I swallow it anyway. Along with my pride. After all, they validated my golden ticket. And I still love them. I’m lucky to be here...

I flip my phone open. Keying in phone numbers forever engrained in my brain--it’s strange that way. I erase them. I key them back in. It’s seven in the morning in California. I think of who would be awake. Jesus, Nate would love it here... I shut it. I have nothing to say right now.

I play out future friend scenarios in my head. Thinking, ‘one day’ when I have money, I’ll bring them here. I owe it to them.

Matt Ferrari would soak himself just upon arriving.

I chuckle at the thought. Flipping my last euro for the day through my fingers. I think, “‘one day’, when I don’t have to worry about losing coins like this through holes in shorts like these.”

A helicopter cutting across my view takes my attention with it. It slows as it approaches the bay below to my right, and begins it’s descent. It’s landing on top of a yacht.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

I’m forced to laugh. Baffled. Lest I shout. “How apropos, you punctual dickbag.”

Why? Like I said, jealous?

At the moment? No. Maybe frustrated... It would just be nice not to stress being penniless for a while, like fucking Diddy over there. It’d be nice not to sweat where my next meal is coming from. And I don’t need a fancy yacht, or helicopter to land on it. I don’t even need a fancy car. A bike might be nice, though...

This is a life you chose.

I know. And to be honest, right now, I am just happy to have my headphones and the view.

‘At the moment’? ‘Right now’?

Yeah... I’ll admit, there are times at night that are a bit rough. When I stroll through the party parades in these streets. Le Cirque de Nuit. When the heat’s died down, and cocktails and chemicals call smiles onto faces. Laughs and lights illuminate the laneways. Some people don’t seem to be so angry. The entertainment ‘I’m coming to love’. Everybody seems to be ‘in love’... I wouldn’t mind being a part of it. Even if I know that most of it’s a show...

Or maybe I’m just pissed. My vision’s rather rosy at that point...

Everybody’s pissed. That’s probably why the indignation fades. Designer drugs and designer bubs will do that to you. Who’s going to be upset with that in their system? And you’re well aware that that’s not always love.

I’m well aware. And that’s what scares me. They’ve managed to synthesize it. And accrue it in seemingly endless amounts. They can detach themselves. The can ‘not care’. Their ‘love’ runs on credit. Returns and exchanges are flawless. Their investment is superficial and carries insurance. They are dead... Stone cold celebrities at their own million dollar wakes. And sometimes I am jealous.

You green-eyed bitch... And what the fuck is that? You been hanging out with Adam Duritz a lot lately, Mr. Jones?

I know. I hate it. It turns my insides. Like a cancerous corkscrew. And I can feel it’s malignancy metastasizing through bastions once built with parts of unquestioned integrity. Like it’s slipping through seeping cracks in an organ I busted like a fucking sucker in the back alleys of Bangkok. It’s mixing like blood and tar.

A bridge I sat on, on Khoasan road, trading tears for whiskey. Tired of rivers, as I stared at the one beneath my wrecked shoes. Tired of letting them take me in its will. I want one of my own. Willing to wash it all away...

And for the first time in my life, I sought to build mountains and climb them in efforts to only stand on top of them and piss down below on every tax that took its toll on that organ. An ascent of aversion. To simply stand on top, and wash it all way, in spite. And die up there alone...

I don’t buy it. Nor do I think you have it in you. Your legs wouldn’t even be able to make that first step without the love inside of you. It put you where you are, and fuck you for forgetting that...


Tuesday, October 18, 2011



If light is a rough third of what allows life to birth on planet earth, I suppose it’s not a far stretch to say that it can also be a third--if not more--of what brings ideas into being as well. Luminous amniotic waves, it coats cognitive calculation in photo-plasm and aids in shaping subsequent spawn. There has to be a reason an illustration of a guy with a lightbulb over his head means: “Boom! Whizz! Fuck yeah, I just figured some shit out!”

Even in the dark, our thoughts come to us illuminated. Even when we dream, neurons and chemicals can fire up like a Chinese New Year celebration, and put on a well lit theatrical piece behind shut shades of skin. Light’s what allows us to see, perceive, and process. And the way it’s shed on what we see, can have a profound effect on what is understood in our head and what we believe. Or, don’t believe for that matter... Perception of reception is ultimately up to the individual, as wavelengths and colors are filtered through apertures and gray matter unique to each of us. I guess it’s also up to the individual how much light they are willing to let in...

Open minds welcome wide horizons...

Blah, blah, blah... Fag.

My point is, the right light can lead to revelation. Or seeing the right light in the right way, can lead to revelation. I already did my dues dwelling on perception with the last bit on imagination. But again, internally it’s something to always remain aware of. Mostly, to not let it become too dangerous. To keep the aperture wide open, let in as much light/information as possible, and effectively filter through what’s worth keeping, and what’s worth dumping along with that hooker in your trunk, without shutting the shades in fear. And every once in a while, with that aperture wide, those waves of color can illuminate that gray matter in ways you didn’t think possible. Some people call it “seeing things in a new light”, “being enlightened”, or “having some light shed on the situation”. Both a physical phenomenon as well as an abstract one. And in an instance we can’t always see it, fortune can bring us friends to act as close conduits, and bend it for us in palpable, and sometimes blinding fashion. For example:

N: “Jesus Christ, Man. You look like shit. Again... Another rough one last night?”

P: “Yeah. Ran into ________ again at the bar last night. She shouted at me for about an hour, punched me in the face, and then got kicked out.”

N: “Ay Puto. So I’m guessing you drank until you puked, then continued binging on self-loathing and beer?”

P: “Yeah, guess it was a bit hard to explain to any other girl in the bar why some chick just Tyson’d me by the jukebox. So I figured I’d be better off alone with an armful of St. Paulie Girl.”

N: “Man, that shit seems to happen every week, you’re fucking miserable. I’m almost tired of looking at you. You drink like a fish to drown out the stress that work puts in your butthole, and then when you get a chance to get out and have fun, you end up swimming in a social-circle where the ugly sharks outnumber all the pretty fish. You ever consider that you might need to do something about it? Maybe get the fuck out of this water? You’ve made yourself the bait. I love having you around man, but you might need to get out of here, Puto. Shit’s not going to change unless you make it.”

P: “...”

N: “You know I’m right.”

He’s right...

P: “I feel edified.”

N: “That’ll be forty dollars. Now, hand me the remote. The Niners are playing, and as a fan, I’m obligated to watch Alex Smith fuck it all up for us.” *This was years ago by the way, in case you're on the A-Smith Train*

Often, we can get so used to a scene that we stop questioning it. Even if it’s miserable. Even if the simplest questions can provide the simplest answers. It can take something else to pose them. It can take some sort of beacon to show us something else; a liberating way out. Sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s an event, sometimes it’s a place. And sometimes it’s a combination of all three. Sometimes the new abstract light is accompanied by new physical light. In my case, bar light. More specifically, Side-Bar light.

And perhaps one of my brightest moments in that bar down below the hostel, was the moment when I realized:

I ain’t shit...

In fact, I even said it softly to myself through a smile on that barstool. And no, I didn’t mean it in the dejected, suicidal, I-should-eat-a-.45-for-breakfast, kind of way. It’s tough to smile with a .45 in your mouth... I meant it as someone beside himself with a sort of jubilance.

I’m somewhere new, and nobody knows me...

I actually got a chance to speak with “N” a couple of weeks ago, and serendipitously he brought up my former disposition in the San Diego bar scene. We put some back-light on it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love San Diego, and I love the bars there. I have had some of the best of times with the best of friends in them. But if you let it, it can really fucking wear you down. It’s a small city, in a small world. You see the same faces in the same places. And at the same time, they’re not always the friendliest. After a while they all start to know your name, what you do, who you’ve done, who you hang out with, how you dress, what your major in school was, where you live, etc. Eventually, you can start to become defined by all of that. Which can be taxing if certain groups tend to staple stigma to whichever of those elements they don’t necessarily agree with. Sometimes they even deck you...

As your worst critic, I feel like you had your hand on the most sizable stapler there, Buddy. Who gives a fuck what they think?

Well, I know that now. Like I said, I needed a different setting to show me some different lights....

In Side-Bar, I was defined by nothing. Except maybe for being a white guy with a black eye... *Which, considering it wasn’t garnered from a girl in a bar, was another point on the plus side for me.* Nobody gave a shit where I went to school, if I went to school, if I got laid-off, what I did for a living, what neighborhood I lived in. Shit, if I kept my mouth shut, chances were that they didn’t even know what country I was from. I was no longer that “broke and brokenhearted” kid on the radio who “pumped cock rock and steroids” because the character fit the show. Nobody even knew what the show was. I wasn’t shit, and most importantly, sans the reflection I saw of myself in old, familiar eyes, I wasn’t ‘shit’.

There was liberty in anonymity.

There, I was just a kid in a bar, looking to have fun. And as I glanced around the joyfully rioting room, I saw a collective of kids looking for the same thing. All from different parts of the globe. Any baggage they had was either left in whatever country they hailed from, or left up in their rooms in journals and duffle-bags. Like where I had chosen to leave mine for the time being... My dumb and dark bullshit had no more purpose in this light. We weren’t our histories, we were just people in the present, and I was in love with that moment.

Additionally, being in the present, without obligation to history seemed to make the future seem that much brighter and wider. I could look forward without feeling compelled to look back.

And yes, at this point I’m well aware that for the most part I allowed myself to be defined back in San Diego. I allowed myself to become that overworked ass-tulip on the radio. And in that circle, and others, I let the judgement get to me. I let the stigma work like stigmata. I took most of the sentiments to heart when I should have thrown them back in bitter faces with a stiff middle finger and a shrug of the shoulders.

And, I should have let up on pointing one of disappointment at myself so much of the time. I had almost begun to view my constitution as a ‘chicken or the egg’ paradigm. “Did I see myself as shit, and so therefore they did? Or did they see me as shit, so therefore I did?” Feeling far from back-brown in Side-Bar, I had to go with the former. But I’ll admit, it might have been a process of loss on understanding that, which started years before I started frequenting those bars back in SD.

Old habits die hard...

That being said--with my newfound affinity for anonymity--for most of the night, I kept to myself. I kept my mouth shut and enjoyed the party. I soaked up music, lights, and lager and sat back. I’d hang on the outskirts and watch Dick Von Disco cut up the wooden rug, until I eventually felt myself gravitating towards the center of the growing mass of dancing bodies. A sensation of elation fueled me through the night. All that mattered was being there. I was a human among humans, getting lost in the flood of high spirits and higher volume.

It doesn’t matter how you’re dressed, or where you’re from, or what you’ve done. Awesome...

And by the time the flood of booze opened up the gates of speech, the music was too loud to make whiskey words audible. That, in addition to the fact that the series of thick, indiscernible accents I’d hear from different girls made whatever was audible, pretty much incomprehensible between thumping bass and whiskey ears. Between both parties. There were a few conversations I had that went on for a couple minutes when I had absolutely no idea what was exchanged. We were like blind pen pals. There were episodes where my mind heard things that have probably never come out of any girl’s mouth in her life. I eventually just got into the habit of emphatically saying “Yeah!” and smiling at whatever was said. Asking her to repeat herself a third time wasn’t going to do much good. It seemed like a solid plan and to solicit a positive response most of the time. What were the chances she was going to ask something that really required a “no”? Sometimes the aforementioned head shake was met with a simper of ‘sorry’, and a slow exit.

Shit, that was it. She just asked if I was gay and then took off.

*I feel a shoulder hit from behind*

What the fuck!? Kevin? How do I always end up dancing next to One Man Stomp? No wonder... Fuck it! Bottoms up.

Your words carry the most of your weight, and these sound waves cripple their wings. Enjoy this place for a bit more, and retire.

Ironically, when the music was low enough for syllables to make audible sense. There was only one girl who trashed the opportunity like a pro. The lovely Tessa B. As previously mentioned, when we were both schlitzed like sailors and subject to tidal waves of heavy tunes, Tessa and I rode the them like a riot. It was rad. But sadly, in the more sober times of the day and early evening, Tessa had a knack for butt-fucking the most buoyant of moments and leaving it face down in murky death, much like that one British Petroleum company in the Gulf Coast. Or something of the sort... I tried to avoid it as much as possible.

She was miserable. Any attempt to cheer her up tended to bring you down. Any joyous joke made by a member of the surrounding group was stripped of its joyousness by whatever vitriolic sentiments she decided to voice. And half the time you couldn’t even make them out completely. You just had to judge that it was bitter, based on the sour face it spilled out of.

Good god, what sadness snake slithered up this one and died? It’s not like we’re in Fallujah. It don’t get it. She has a laugh that’s as contagious as it is captivating, but it seldom occurs, and when it does, it’s usually sandwiched between an incomprehensible slaughter of syllables maimed by a downcast, lazy mouth. And all I can think of, is that one Weird Al, “Smells Like Nirvana” video, where he mocks Cobain’s mumbles with a mouthful of marbles.

And then it clicked. And then it sucked even more. Her stinging sentiments stuck like a knife in places far closer to home than she may have meant them to...

She’s despondent. She complains all the time about her situation, yet does nothing to change it. If she’s that bored here, "go elsewhere". She’s consistently negative and is unrestrained in showering all of those around her with negativity. And when you ask her what’s wrong, she just mumbles some bullshit and shuffles around like a sad gimp in a rainstorm. And, it seems she’s only smiling when she’s smashed...


Oh, fuck. That’s totally been me.

Tessa had become a close conduit. One to bend the beacon onto a shitty act that I had been performing at times. I was able to see myself in her. And I immediately felt sorry for every amazing friend who had stuck with me through the years when I had been that sad gimp in a rainstorm myself. The times they all had to sit and hear me whinge about situations, work, and women, like a record on loop because I never got the guts to break the cycle and actually do something about it when I totally could have. The countless times when they had tried to cheer me up and I only reciprocated with cynical psychobabble. Completely ignorant to the fact that they might have had their own bullshit to deal with at the time. I was that dickhead ready to spear any levitating balloon they might offer because I was just so fixed on bringing everything down, unless I was extremely fucked-up--I was usually all smiles behind a heap of bottles... I did it even in the fortunate company of so many incredible people. In sunny San Diego. And if that’s how I was at moments mentioned above when I thought I was ‘shit’, of course some could agree.

Looks like that chicken just cracked the egg...

Oh, and remember to thank all of those incredible people you subjected to your diaper fodder.

So to those of you, I would like to apologize, and thank you for sticking by in some my most melancholy maelstroms. I have been made fully aware that it couldn’t have been easy, and I owe you more than I can fathom to offer right now.

And I’m not saying nobody should ever toss a verbal tantrum every now and then. I find it to be a necessary and healthy release, when done intermittently. I think when it’s done in a positive manner, it’s called “venting,” and occurs at irregular and infrequent intervals. When it’s done consistently on the same subject, I call it “Chronic Caustic Sadness Disease”. Also known as “Hey! I Know Things Aren’t Perfect, But You’re Being A Fucking Asshole And Dragging Everybody Into Your Sad Space of Shit-Disease”.

I actually came up with a bit of an equation to differentiate between ‘venting’ and the latter two. It occurred to me in Melbourne for reasons I’m unwilling to disclose right now, but it basically states:

“When the energy put into whinging about the problem actually surpasses the amount of energy required to deal with or fix the problem, the biggest problem is not the one in discussion itself, but the fact that you’re just being a bitch about it.”

Also, in an effort to not come off as some self-righteous pudd-monkey, I’ll let you know that even sometimes I have to remind myself of the equation. I’m far from perfect on matters of the sort. Especially when it comes to spilled beer... I know everybody has problems. I know that sometimes life can suck, but consistently reminding unwilling audiences about that is what assholes do. And, I also figure if you do your dose of complaining about your problems while having the ability to change them and choose not to, then it might be in everybody’s best interest for you to just shut the fuck up. Having the power to make a difference and deciding not to is tragic and can be offensive.

I actually hear Tessa is doing well now, and no longer ‘sooo bored’. Apparently she’s happy somewhere in New Zealand, and for that I’m glad. She’s was great to be around when she was happy. Well, three sheets at least in Sydney... Maybe she got a glimpse of things differently, or was subjected to the sadness molasses from some other sorry sap who put things into perspective for her.

Changing time and placement has a way of doing that...

As for me, after about a week of illuminated epiphanies beneath those bar lights, I was ready for a change of times and places. The party had begun to take it out of me. My body and bank needed to be elsewhere. One sore morning for the both of us, I made mention to Kevin.

“Hey, we should probably get the fuck out of here.”

“Oh my god, Bro! Yes. Please! This city is like a gorgeous hooker. She takes large sums of my money every night and leaves me alone and sick in the morning.”

“Yeah, I think between grey skies and black eyes, my jovial outlook is beginning to wane anyway. Strobe lights are starting to becoming a lousy substitute for sunlight. ... Hookers leave you sick in the morning?”

“I meant mostly sick in reflection on my own behavior. But yes, some of them do.”

“Fair enough... We’ll book the bus today. We should be able to head out tomorrow or the next day.”

“Yes! Kirtlan is ankling!”

We booked the bus for early the next morning and decided we might as well make the most of our last night in Sydney. For Kevin, it wasn’t much of a switch. Another night out until four in the morning was regular. The roommates decided to join us as a group to either commemorate, or celebrate our departure down in the bar. Johnny, Sharon, Tessa, and a few others all in attendance. And in the good fashion of well-seasoned drinkers in celebration, we went full-throttle on every full bottle in sight.

Ha. What comes next is great...


It’s been my experience with goodbyes, that no matter what bad water runs between two people, if there is anything good that they share, then it’s probably a plus to build a bridge, get over the bad water, and share what can be shared. Even if it’s just for a while. At least for the sake of a pleasant parting of ways.

Maybe that’s why they call them ‘“good’byes” there, Slick.


You never know when you’ll see them again, or even if you’ll see them again at all. So you might as well enjoy the time that you have. Bitter goodbyes can leave you with an awful taste in your mouth for extended lengths of time.

This is such bullshit.

Now, it’s not like Tess and I had any bad blood between us. She was just a bitch. And she possibly might not even have known that I thought she was. But, who was I to judge? I had been known to pull the same shit at times. It wasn’t my place to tell her to ‘sack it up’. I had only known her for a couple weeks. Besides, maybe there was something tragic in her history that I was unaware of, that had left her so sunken. I figured maybe I should find out. Maybe I should get to know her better. I was going to be gone in the morning anyway.

With that said, fueled on piss and pumping beats, I took to talking to Tess like I never had before. We chatted and chugged, and eventually I saw her face beam forth in that way it did when it went flush with and abundance of cranberry/vodka. A smile seldom seen opened up and added a little refulgent ambiance to the room.

“Do you want to dance?” She asked, half laughing.

She is pissed...

“Uh... Sure!”

Making the most of it.

And somewhere on that dance floor, between the multitude of trips to the bar, I caught a sight of Tess in a new light.

Jesus, she looks amazing right now.

You are pissed...

I watched the hot soft neons fly across her face and the smile she donned. That sad and sober sallow had all been washed away. Reflections tumbled about in her giant eyes. Every now and then they’d tilt towards the ceiling while she danced. A look I seemed to like for some reason. She shouted something I couldn’t make out. I made a motion suggesting I could’t understand. She stepped into me and put her chin on my shoulder to whisper something in my ear.

Jesus, she smells amaz...


And there it was. I knew exactly where this might end up sans self-control. I didn’t even hear what she said. All I heard was an epic battle of conscience.

Dude. She is waving every red flag that should alert you to her being a big ball of crazy.

Yeah, but maybe I was being harsh.

You are a veteran psycho-dater! You came out here to get away from crazy shit like this. You know the answer to this one. GTFO! Plus, you’d just be a scum bag.

Uh, last I checked, she knows I’m leaving tomorrow. And, I’m leaving tomorrow! She’s a big girl. We’re just both having fun.

Sure, she’s having a blast right now, and in the morning she’s Ann Colter with a cactus tampon. Does bi-polar mean anything to you?


Those lights are playing tricks on you. All the more because your filter is under the influence. Do not get yourself tangled up in this one! There’s something wrong here. You know better. You have a chance to make a pro-active difference here.


Oh, good. Your mouth too busy voicing silent sentiments elsewhere?

I smiled and nodded in affirmation to whatever she said. I followed with telling her I was going to close out my tab.

“Me too.” She grabbed my hand. I pounded the rest of my drink to drowned out the conscience. We climbed into the elevator and I subsequently found myself tangled...

Knowing better and doing better are two very different things. That’s something I have worked on...

In my defense however--you may or may not believe this, but I swear on all three inches of my junk--before anything happened, I did offer a disclaimer of “Hey, before anything happens I just want you to know that I’m not looking for anything really beyond this.” To which she replied “Oh, no! I totally understand.”

Now, whether that’s a valid defense or not, I still took the time to make it a point...

In my drunken slumber I had a dream about ________. I woke up, and saw her next to me. But it wasn’t her, it was Tessa.

Well, there’s the dance and glance at the ceiling connection. Awkward. Well, hopefully she’s still cool with everything.

It was 5:30 in the morning, and the room was draped in dark. Our bus was set to depart in half an hour.

“Hey, we should totally meet up in Cairns.” She whispered as I began to gather my things.

Well, shit... Look what you’ve gone and done.

Calm down, maybe she just wants to hang out as a drinking buddy or something. Besides, she’ll be back to normal once the booze wears off.

Wow. Really?

“Sure, that sounds good.”

“What‘ your number?”

“It’s (insert number here).”

Slick... You do it to yourself once again.

I turned to Kevin, “Hey, let’s go, Dude.”

We flung our bags on our backs, and headed out of Wake-Up to see a bright sun waking up Sydney under a cloudless sky.