The last few weeks have been fairly intense. There’s no need to bore you with too many details: wedding, comedy shows, recording more podcasts, new job, dogs with diarrhea, purchasing major appliances. I’ve been pedal to the floor.
It does feels a bit like the prequel to Fight Club, like how the narrator went crazy polishing his Scandinavian furniture.
My time these days is almost completely accounted for, but I have made a good effort of seeing friends. Usually I’m pretty bad about it. If you’re reading this and thinking “what an asshole, I never get to see that guy,” well, I’ll try to do better.
If you’re wondering how that whole writing a book thing is going, it’s not going. After leaving Whole Foods my interest in food culture got turned way down. Since The Goblin Chef is so rooted in food, that’s sort of a problem. I might revisit it eventually, but getting acclimated to tech and finishing up some projects I agreed to work on for other people is talking priority.
But inspiration hasn’t abandoned me. I’ve written quite a bit in support of Scary Thoughts (very raw, not publishable). Most of that writing informs what I bring to our conversations. After I read The Argonauts, I started thinking a lot more about the possibilities of blending theory with biography. I haven’t quite figured out a way to make it less solipsistic. Maybe that’s impossible.
Books and films, are as always, a source of inspiration, but what’s really breathing life into my ideas is my physical navigation of Oakland and the trains of the Bay Area. When I took this new job I thought I’d need a car, but it turns out I can save money and have more time to read on the trains. The grime of the city, which used to just bum me out has started to color my thoughts in unexpected ways: I’ve been writing short pieces, taking loads of photos.
Hell, I’ve even gone out a bit more than usual.
The proximity to my fellow primates has also put me in conversations I never thought I’d have.
This morning I missed my train and spent about ten minutes in conversation with a dude in seriously rough shape. Two weeks ago he was helping a friend put a motor in an old Buick and their makeshift lift failed. He was under the car and his knee was crushed.
He had surgery eight days earlier and showed me a scar that looked like something out of the Civil War. He needed help with his fare to Santa Rosa and I had a few bucks to spare. He said no one had given him a dollar since 4am. But what was most upsetting was no one even said a word to him.
Now, I know the world is full of creeps and scammers, I’ve seen the same woman tell the same story about her kid being stuck at the same airport three times in the last year. But some people are in obvious need of help and it’s a shame we get so hardened.
I don’t really have a prescription for this. No one does and it would be pretentious to assume you had the solutions (I’m looking at you boomer liberals). I think we can do better, though.
This is a major change in my earlier outlook. I used to be a pretty hardcore social Darwinist. And in some ways I still am. If you’re an able bodied young gutter punk asking for beer money, I’d run you out of town like they did in the old west if I could.
I guess you never really completely change.