Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The ticket window was on the side wall of a head shop in an old Victorian in the sad little town between us and the city. My mom dropped me off there to wait in the freezing cold for spring tour tickets. Sweet coffee in a dented thermos. Camel unfiltereds snuck in my coat pocket. Just putting my hand in there would make it reek of that dark, sweet perfume, Turkish and domestic blend. But my mom didn’t know. Or she did.

The line snaked back into the dirt parking lot behind the building, filled with beaters and VW buses. It became amorphous there, people playing hacky-sack or huddled in little circles to get high. I sat on the embankment by the wall and watched. Someone blared a live tape circa 1979, “He’s Gone.”

A Deadhead invited me into his car, a beat-up old boat, to warm up and smoke a joint. He put on Neil Young, “Down by the River.” I’d never heard it before and it took a hold of my brain, that da-da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da on the guitar and the refrain, which I didn’t understand at first but then I understood and then misunderstood again, in circles and circles, shudder day, shutter day, shotty day, shut her day, shot her dead, shut a day, shudder day.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

We looked for the prickly pear and I didn’t remember what tree I planted it by. Finally I found it, lying flat on the dirt and leaves. It was gray and withered but I stuck it back in as best I could, tamped down some dark soil around the bottom of it. Who knows.

I told Jackie and her friend to stay away, it has prickly bits that fly through the air.

“Really?” he said.

“No, not exactly. But be careful.”

Then they took off running down what they called abandoned paths.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

I titled this Usual by mistake. That is to say, that’s what Apple autocorrect decided to name it. So here goes: Usual.

The world is converging on us, collapsing, like a dying star. Everything we believe and everything we desire. Even when those are in opposition. Music and video streaming. Porn. We’ve been hypertargeted to the point that soon we’ll all be demographics of one. The ads, the content presented to us now almost seems to wink: There you are. I know you. And here I am. For you. And then it’s a solipsistic dance until your synapses are exhausted and you die. E pluribus unum.

We urgently need new algorithms. Some that say: People unlike you like this. And Here’s something you won’t like. Based on nothing you’ve listened to. Nothing you’ve seen. Really: Here’s something for people who aren’t you. Or: This is not for one. It’s for everyone.

Otherwise we’re fucked.

Friday, March 06, 2020

I sat at my desk at work as the world fell deeper into dread and paranoia, wondering: Am I getting sick? How does it feel to be getting sick? A vague, watery nausea on the tongue. An aching head. Fatigue.

Of course I felt that way.