Journal of Pirate Lingo*


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* not an actual journal
of pirate lingo

10.18.04 - 10:41 p.m.

I'm digging this song, en la ciudad de la furia... Chuck Eddy was right! There's all these Spanish-speaking bands who weren't embarrassed about liking the Police, and they went on to write some of the best 80s music you never heard. At least I never heard, until now... but I think Soda Stereo was huge outside the US. For other Latin Americans, I wonder if it's like being all excited about Depeche Mode. "Um, yeah... welcome to decade before last. Will sir be joining this century anytime soon?"

I dunno, maybe this song's cheesy, but I'm digging it right now. Perhaps this moment and some other moment tomorrow will contradict each other. I'm trying to learn how to be in the moment. One of the things I liked in Infinite Jest was the observation that when you're an alcoholic, enrolled in AA and trying to kick the habit, cliches take on a whole new meaning. They're no longer banalities; they express deep truths. "Take it one day at a time:" this means you build a wall at midnight, and imagine not drinking for just that long, and don't dare look over that wall.

Be in the moment

I wanted to tell you about a moment-- Sunday evening, when I stood alone on a slanted San Francisco hill in fading light, listening to the city breathe. It was quiet in the city way-- muted whoosh of traffic, occasional passerbys talking on cellphone, faint whine of a jet far above. There were crickets starting to chirp as night approached, but it wasn't that dark yet.

I'd been wandering aimlessly for a while, but to say "aimless" was not entirely true. I was aiming up. I'd been climbing random streets for some time, and I'd ended up standing in the middle of a sharply inclined residential alley. It was relatively posh-- some of the apartments looked to cost a million or more. I stood and checked out the view, and then on my left I saw this guy standing on his doorstep, fiddling with some wires. He was turning on his Halloween decorations. Momentarily, a skeleton waved back and forth, while various jack o' lantern lights began flashing. It was Christmas-like. I involuntarily smiled and said "yeah!" He didn't respond-- don't know if he heard-- and walked inside his house, leaving me standing alone, looking out at the city lights.

It was a beautiful night, room temperature. The world literally felt like a vast, airy room. I could see the neon sign for Castro Theatre in the distance. Dolores Park. The familiar landmarks were comforting. If you stay in one place long enough, roots will grow.

The trees lining the alley swayed in the wind. I felt peaceful, and was surprised to realize this sensation was unusual. This disturbed me, but not enough to dispel my peace. I put it aside as a thought for another time.

I lit an American Spirit, more for the gesture of it than out of any desire to smoke. I liked the idea of myself standing alone on that hill in the twilight, smoking a cigarette and watching the twinkling lights. I wondered if I actually was enjoying it, or just enjoying the idea of it. Thoughts entered my head ceaselessly. I took a drag and exhaled smoke from my lungs, trying to exhale thoughts from my brain at the same time.

I was already thinking of telling you this. I was in a movie. I was in the moment, but only at certain moments-- at other moments I was here with you.

I record the cinematic moments but they're cinematic only for me. For you this must be like hearing someone else's dream.

I try to hold on, but the days are like sand drifting through my fingers. The sand thing is a cliche. I'm learning it for real.

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