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Thursday 7/14/22

I had a nightmare last night. I was in college, about to graduate. My father was still alive. There were so many books and records in my dorm room, and I'd finally made it so that it was at least possible to move around somewhat, but I'd be leaving in the morning. It didn't hit me until then. I had some doubt about whether I'd graduate, because I hadn't gone to so many classes, and I was pretty sure I'd missed some finals, but I figured I would. For so long it seemed I just wanted to be done with the the masturbatory experience that was college. That's how I was in real life. I came into college an expert on literature, film, music. I was not a regular eighteen-year-old kid. I knew more about those subjects, to go along with my abilities as a writer and thinker, than any of the professors who were going to "teach" me. What I saw from the first day was that those people knew nothing. They simply talked. Boringly. And the students wrote it down, like the professors knew, because they, the students, didn't know any better. They didn't know anything. There aren't many worse people to talk literature with than most college English professors, though, yes, most publishing people would be far worse yet. Tough to get the mind around that, true as it is. But in this nightmare, I hadn't figured on where I'd go next. I didn't have a place. And it occurred to me in that moment that I would be leaving the east, and this terrified me. I'd be going to Chicago. There was nothing for me there, and who I was was not there. I went to find my mom and talk to her about this, because for some reason she was in the area. I found her on a hillside, leading some kind group. It may have been a burial ground. She walked over to me after she'd said to them what she needed to, and I started to discuss the matter with her, but then my sister Kerrin--or her ghost--arrived. She really needed to talk to my mom, so I stayed back, and they took this footpath, this bridge, to a nearby island together.

I encountered two quite annoying people the other day. The first one was this guy at Anthony's, the breakfast place at the end of my street where I often get coffee. I don't have to order, they just know what to get when I'm there. This customer was at the counter, the kind of guy who is probably five years younger than I am, but looks fifteen years older. Overfed. Not obese yet, but well on his way. Pinkish. He looked like an undercooked sausage. He was doing his comedy routine for Anthony's wife, who also works there. Anthony was coming in after setting up some tables outside. The guy says, "I don't care how old she is, I care how she looks. Just so long as she doesn't look like my wife." He turns to me because he wants approval, but he's an idiot and I don't have time for this, so I keep looking where I'm looking. No eye contact. Then he sees I'm wearing a Boston Bruins shirt, and that starts him again. "Hey, look at this guy. This guy likes old time hockey! Eddie Shore, eh? Dit Clapper! Milt Schmidt! Get this guy a coffee. He likes that old time hockey!" Anthony has come in now, and he puts his hand on my shoulder, as if to say, "Yeah, this guy is fucking annoying," and I get the coffee and go.

About twenty minutes later, I'm at the Commonwealth Ave. Mall end of the Public Garden, where you cross Arlington Street. There's this guy, fairly oblivious, who has stepped off of the curb in anticipation of the light changing. You have a crosswalk and a bike lane, and at one point they kind of tangle together. There's a lot of white paint on the ground. At that one place, he's standing in both, where there are these poles, too, so it can feel like you're in this secure box. It's easy not to know, and it was early, you're trying to get across. Along comes this woman on her bike. You could tell exactly the type she is. Man-hating. Says "patriarchy" a lot. Embittered. Nasty. Likely has an advanced degree. Toxic. Has her pronouns everywhere she can find a place to put them. Depressed. Broken. Over-medicated. Has the BLM filters, some Ukraine filters, all about the vaccines. Dumb. Lonely. (It's this kind of person that will typically be an editor at a literary magazine.) She starts screaming at this guy, who has no clue what's going on. "Seriously?! For real?I Are you being serious?! Seriously!!!!!" She was trying to escalate this minor transgression into a public scene, a public shaming, a preamble for a hanging. Keeps screaming and looking back--in the coward's fashion--as she rides past. Someone who, I have no doubt, services her cat at night. ("Just lay back and relax, Miss LickyLips...) Yes, the guy was in the wrong spot, but it was an easy mistake. I'm sure he sucks, too, but that's part of the point. People suck. It's not a man or a woman thing. It's not a conservative or liberal thing. Most people are truly awful.


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