Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Fifty-two

Posted by ilbebe on May 19, 2010

It is you. With a little bit of luck, you will never stop being yourself, and unless yr mistaken, you’ll never become someone yr not.

Sometimes we feel that our bodies are cages. When you shed this mindset, and acknowledge that you are you, and it is you, you’ll feel that pressure drop.

Two nights ago, for the first time in eleven years, I kissed a girl without first asking her if I could. I’d forgotten how good it felt. I slept on her couch, curled up in a modified fetal position. In the morning she drove me to the train station, and we discussed when we’d be able to kiss again. We agreed we didn’t know, but we’d figure it out. Early that afternoon, I realized I could simply invite her to the concert I was going to be attending that evening. She said yes. At 3:30 I took the train back to the city. I met my sister at her work to give her spare keys back. I ate a sourdough bread bowl of broccoli cheddar soup. It was delicious. I ate slowly; savored the flavor.

I made my way down Market, towards my office. I had no sooner sat down than I heard back from my old friend Phil that he was headed my way. We met at the Edinburgh Castle a half-hour later. Phil is my oldest friend in the world’s younger brother, and in recent years, we have become friends in our own right. He was with three co-workers, in town from New England for a Google conference. Funny side note, the outdated word processing program I’m typing in is telling me that Google is misspelled.

Kevin, Jeff, and Woody were great guys, and we had a lovely talk that literally ran all over the map. Sean McAllister showed up around 6:30, and he had found a prime parking spot just around the corner. A good parking spot means so much some times…

After Phil’s co-workers bid adieu to head back to their hotel for some rest, Sean, Phil, and I had a cigarette and talked about the astounding good fortune we’ve had. The last time I had seen Phil, I had slept on his couch, and by eight AM in the morning, it was humid. I left without my sweatshirt. I contacted him the following week and asked him to just mail me the buttons back. He did, in a hilarious little envelope he’d crafted from construction paper and decorated with monsters. That envelope is hanging on the wall in front of me now. I retold the tale, and his response was a chuckle and Oh Yeah, I Still Have That Sweatshirt. Ah, a fair trade. Are you listening, Wall Street?

Phil left to get pizza and coffee and then go back to the hotel and sleep. Sean and I already had tickets for the show; he had won them on the radio eight days earlier. THAT was a hell of a day too, but I’ll save that story for later. I left the bar briefly to go get a ticket for my new romantic interest, and found one immediately, on the corner, for less than face value. The transaction was paid in cash and concluded in less than a minute. No names were exchanged, and the fellow’s parting words were God Bless. I’m not joking, Wall Street, are you listening? I went back to the bar where we had shared our table with a group of five people awaiting the pub quiz that would be starting shortly. Their group included a very sweet and friendly German girl who they had met two days earlier at Bay to Breakers. Sean charmed by calling her a beautiful snail in her native tongue. Unfortunately for him, we had to go.

We went back in and he bought me another beer. I supplied the Ronnie in Ronnie James Dio, a man who had gone to God a few days earlier and was part of the current events section of the quiz. Having given what we could, Sean and I left for the show. I left my NRI’s ticket at the door under her name and sent her a text message advising her as such. Sean and I got a couple of beers and we talked about the strength of friendship. We embraced. My NRI showed up. In later drafts of this work, I will identify her by name, but for the moment I still need to ask her permission. Sean introduced himself and told us two crazy kids to go get a drink. I kissed her in line. We got beers, and then the band started playing. The timing was sublime.

A hype man, or toaster, if you will, came out and said If You Didn’t Already Know, This Man Invented Reggae. (He originally spelled it Reggay, fun fact) Ladies And Gentlemen, Toots, and the Maytalls! I realized that the two gorgeous women who had walked across the stage a moment earlier were singers, not boobie girls, and I stood corrected. They had lovely voices. Toots was dressed in blue vinyl clothes, it looked like to me. He had a marvelous grin, and the music instantly got everybody on fine rockers. Sean advised me to dance with my girl. I took his advice. An enormous dose of kindness circulated, and the dancing got closer. Sean advised me to get my lady to the front, so I did. Unfortunately, he bumped into a woman once we got there who got upset, so my girl and I went back to the back. We danced and we danced, and the music seemed like it was getting louder. I heard some insane guitar soloing, and I knew I’d never be able to forget it.

After a while, Pressure Drop came. HOLY FUCKING SHIT, everyone deserves to feel that feeling that we felt. My NRI and I went outside to smoke a cig, and a woman advised us that I’ve Seen This Guy Like Thirty Times, And More Than Once I’ve Seen Them Have To Use A Shepard’s Cane To Get Him Off The Stage. A guy in his fifties danced with me and hugged me. Me and my NRI kissed and embraced. We went back inside and found Sean, who had moved back to the back. We danced, and the band stopped playing after their, oh, I don’t know, third or fourth twenty-minute medley of the evening. We walked out to smoke another cig, but it turned out that the front door was a point of no return, so we went back into the ballroom. The band started playing again. We resumed dancing. There was more kissing.

The band stopped and then started playing again two or three MORE times. I didn’t get to see the shepard’s cane come out, but that was fine. I didn’t think it was possible that I could dance for so long, but hey, if Toots can do it, everyone ought to be able to. That guy’s in his seventies! Man, he had some killer moves…

Sean went back to his prime parking spot to sleep it off. I walked my girl down Van Ness to the train station and kissed her good night. I took a different train home, and slept in my own bed. I dreamed about dancing and kissing.

I woke up in the morning and drank a cup of coffee. I texted Sean to make sure he was all right. He was fine. I smoked a cigarette and called Phil’s cousin Angela. She was walking somewhere in Seattle, and apparently I caught her just in time; her phone’s going dormant next week for an indefinite period of time. She’s gonna spend the summer healing her digestive system and gardening somewhere in British Columbia. She told me to hurry up and send her a copy of the new work. I told her I just had to write this, and then I’d get something in the mail.

I wrote this on Pacific Standard Time and finished shortly after noon.

It is you.

Peace.

12:05 PM, 5/19/10, Oakland, CA. Sitting in bed, smiling.

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