In the earliest hours of this year I sat at a plastic table with something close to what I’d ordered. Happy New Year’s from the joyous confines of Javier’s where the food might not be warm or good but it’s here. A scuffle broke out at the end of the counter. Women——friends too deep in the drink at the end of an unfulfilling night or complete strangers——were grabbing hair and whacking one another with purses. Some guy wearing a Fubu track suit tactfully and quietly soothes everyone’s sore feelings: Let go of her hair and Why don’t you just sit down for a minute and Everyone calm down. I almost asked him if he had a handle on things, but it was three in the morning on New Year’s Day and I barely had a handle on myself.
This was the first outbreak of violence I’ve witnessed in Portland. Like everything else here it was a sad imitation of what you see in other places.
‘I’ve got your weave! Happy 2014, bitch!’ rang out across the restaurant.
Why not? Let’s grab this year by the weave. I was excited. I was galvanized. I was going to own this fucking year.
But here we are in the buckshot of February and I’ve lost my grip on the horse hair. After a long couple of hours struggling to stay seated for bouts of spreadsheets and e-mails which comprise my part-time employment I can’t seem to focus on scribbling down thoughts or reading up on the world around me. Once a certain hour chimes I settle into reactionary drinking and staring off into space.
I have been bowling twice, and only fell down once. I crossed the Columbia River to check out The Brautigan Library and was underwhelmed by its collection of unpublished manuscripts. Sitting along the riverbank watching thousands of birds explode into the deepening night sky was time better spent. I worked some shows at the infoshop, bored by watching the door and worrying whether another fuse would blow before the night’s end, or trying to guilt trip spoiled kids into throwing more than a crumpled dollar in the till for whatever band was failing to raise my spirits. I’ve spent untold hours arguing and pleading with various agencies to straighten out my Obamacare, although I’ve spent more untold hours listening to the hold music of various agencies. Sometimes no one answers. I’ve gone to see a couple of movies, and I’ve picked up movies from the library, and I’ve met people for drinks. Sometimes it’s nice, but it doesn’t get me anywhere.
Nick and Chad threw a launch party for the second issue of Nowhere is More Important Than Here, and even if he looked like he’d rather be anywhere else rather than standing behind the microphone I was happy to catch my roommate doing something he cared about. Sam fucked off to Hawaii for several months to help his job expand, bequeathing us Matt and Gina who eat insane amounts of food in between insane bouts of race training. Edward finally sold his house. Kendra got a promotion. Pete came back from Philadelphia where he curated an exhibition and met with social justice activists and photojournalists. Aaron and Harmony came back from Los Angeles where they rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous. John and Jamie spent the night in a tree house near White Salmon. I took a trip to the hospital to have one of my little problems put under the knife.
I haven’t played guitar for months. I’m not sure what I’ve been doing for months. I can’t check. I haven’t written in my journal for months.
But I do know that I don’t got your weave, 2014, and I need to get a grip on that.