Wednesday, Nov 7th — Ranting, Lunatics?
Last night after I realized I was stuck on the street, I cracked. I was piss-broke and I cracked and sent an email to my parents asking for a plane ticket home. The plane ticket came through this morning via email. I have to go print it out and hope that my last dollar is enough.
Yesterday after I showered at St. Joseph’s I signed up for a meal. I’m hungry and sick tired of peanut-butter sandwiches. I walked to St. Joseph’s this morning and the man at the counter gave me directions to a small restaurant a few blocks down. You can’t see the ‘restaurant’ from the street but it’s on a corner and I saw a couple of street-sleepers straggling around to the alley. I followed. In the back of the building is an overhang and then a door with a metal-bar gate. Some people were waiting around the door, sitting or standing and looking worn-out weary. A woman in front of me walks over to the gate and the man sitting closest to the door stands up and holds it open for her.
‘What, are you just opening it because I’m a woman?’ She puts her hands on her hips.
‘I’m being a gentleman!’
‘Yeah, but you’re not opening for everybody, obviously.’ She juts her hip out to the side.
‘You can hold it for me –‘ The man holds it open and I walk inside. The ‘restaurant’ is one room the size of a two-car garage. Tables are set out, napkins and utensils and chairs, but the room lacks the comforts and furniture, the nick-knacks and picture frames of a for-business restaurant. The place looks bare, naked. I see a man walking around setting out cups and I get his attention.
‘You have to wait outside. Are you signed up? Okay, yes, what we do is we have everyone wait outside and then at 9:30 we open the doors. And you can sit down where ever you want, we’ll bring the food out to you. All we ask is that you clear your place.’
I walk back out. More people have arrived. I walk through the crowd by the door and into the alleyway to smoke a cigarette. The woman is still arguing about the door. Her face is dirty, she’s mid-forties and she has thick, blonde hair past her shoulders. She’s wearing a jacket and a skirt, skinny smooth tan legs. She’s surrounded by men. They’re bickering about the differences between men and women, serious but joking in a flirtatious sort of way. She had a big mouth that didn’t close and she’d egg them on, then they would volley retorts and gender-specific insults, and the man who had originally held the door open, he wouldn’t stop talking and the woman would put her back to him so that she was facing the other men, twirl her hair and make her hand talk in mimicry. Then she’d say, “Yeah, right, Okay. Whatever. Mm-hm. Sure.’ She was loving it, egging them on to keep their attention, soaking up the attention like a school-girl being flirtatiously teased by the popular boys.
Along the back of the building was a fence. There was a man sitting here, perhaps twenty-seven years old. He had an average build, brown hair, a friendly face, and his t-shirt was worn thin and ripped wide around his neck, his baggy black pants covered in mud and ripped along the back of both pants from foot to knee. He was sitting on the fence talking and talking between periods of sedated concentration, but there wasn’t anybody in front of him.
‘How is it in the desert? How is the Salt Lake? Can you transmute for me? Transcend and send me the energy because I have none.’ He sat there talking as if it were an ordinary conversation, his face relaxed and serious. ‘Can you reach the Death Star in my dimension? I’m stuck here, transmute me the energy.’ Then his eyes closed and his elbow rested on his lap, his hand upturned as if a bowling ball were placed in it, his fingers straining against an unknown force and his face tightening to a strenuous grimace, his whole body began to shake. Then he relaxed. ‘I could not receive it. The energy was cut off by an unknown force. Destroy all life-forms in the empty void.’ Destroy all life-forms in the empty void. That really got me.
For breakfast we had Spaghetti Obama. I sat next to a tall black man who wasn’t much older than thirty-five. He told me he used to be a boxer. He was very friendly and spoke with an accent so that I assumed he had immigrated here when he was a teenager. I forget his name and he told me that boxing, that being in the ring and trying to read the other boxer while being punched, that this had knocked something loose in his head so that he could now read everyone, feel them, he said. He explained it like being in the woods and searching for someone or an animal. You can’t see them but all of your senses are heightened and you see over here and over here, everywhere at the same time. You cannot see but you can feel it, you can feel them and where they are. That is how it is, he said. He proceeded to read the three of us at the table with him. You, he said to me, you are out there. You, you will never change, and you are uninteresting. We all laughed.