Oh. . . I used to be a fun guy. Recently divorced, I entered the new century shirtless wearing a pareo and taking selfies to prove it. I ran, played b-ball, and went to the gym so that I had a flat belly. I travelled the world, raced ocean sailboats, climbed famous rock faces and mountains, rafted and kayaked white water rivers, ran long distance races . . . . I drove a white CJ 7 with my well-known canine companion, a Shepard/Huskie mix, and made little packages for friends from the "treasures" I had gotten around the globe. I burned mix CDs and made my own album covers. Early on, I was making digital videos. And, in spite of being a bohemian, I became a foreman at the factory.
Man, I thought I was something. I was invincible and it would all be never-ending.
Yesterday I found out that I got screwed out of probably half a million dollars on my retirement payout. So did C.C. and so did my old college roommate. They recently changed the conditions of the program that I entered so that one can stay in the system three years longer and receive a higher interest rate on the money being placed in their retirement account. Half a million dollars isn't a lot of money, but it is much more than I am worth. I would be retiring in February. I could have worked from home through the whole Covid thing rather than sitting alone, watching television and moping. I would have been getting paid double.
I am sick with it.
When I complained to my mother, she said, "it's just life. There is nothing you can do about it."
That didn't help. I am still seething. I'm sick of worrying about money. It's hard to be a BoBo without some. I'll just be another hillbilly stealing hubcaps for a living.
I don't know.
The house across the street from me just sold for 1.6 million dollars. I saw one of the rich gymroid builders over there after it sold. Yesterday in the gym, he asked me where I lived.
"Across the street from the house that just sold. I saw you there on Saturday."
He explained that he was building a house a street over for a doctor. Her mother had bought the house across the street from me.
A bit dismayed, I said, "They just put a 'For Rent' sign in the yard. What the fuck?"
He told me the the mother is a doctor in Grosse Point, Michigan. "Pretty ritzy place, I think."
Indeed it is.
"She isn't moving here yet. She wanted to be near her daughter. She wants to tear the place down and build something. She is trying to buy the land between her two backyard neighbors so she can easily walk to her daughter's house."
Jesus. She spent 1.6 million to buy a lot. I'm worried about my car breaking down.
The entire day was upsetting.
I brought a big container of prints to the house. I could barely lift it into and out of the car. Carrying it was out of the question, so I dragged it across the driveway and into the house. There, one by one, I began to take the 16"x24" prints out and place them on the floor where I could view them. Hadn't seen them in a long while. Years, actually. Holy smokes, I thought, these are beautiful. Repetitive and gorgeous. I'll need to count, but there are between one and two hundred prints In the container, all of them from the Polaroid process I invented. It occurred to me that instead of burning them, I should sell them. I thought small at first. Put them on Etsy and sell them for a low, low price. Then I thought maybe someone would just buy the entire container for the price of a new printer. A big one. And some ink. Maybe $5,000. Tennessee, maybe. Maybe some of the rich gymroids. But the more of them that came out of the container, the more I wanted to see them en masse hanging on gallery walls. Maybe I could choose twenty of them to put in a large portfolio and carry around to some galleries. Yes. Miami. Atlanta. New Orleans. Santa Fe. L.A.
I came across a piece of paper I have saved since I was so cool, back from the turn of the century, a torn scrap that was left on a girlfriend's car that was parked at my house.
I sent a scan to my New/Old/New friend and asked her if this was her script.
"not i, my love. must be another Own True Love. you have so many! 😉 "
I was sorely disappointed. I have held onto this for so long believing it was evidence of her undying affection. I guessed I could trash it like so many of the prints. I told her of my dilemma, what I thought to do with the mass of them. She encouraged me to go out and try to get a show.
The weight of that, though, began to sink in. How many galleries would I walk into and get a "No"? I can't stand rejection which is the reason I don't ask women out. There would be a whole bunch of rejection, I reckoned. I'd be lucky to find a gallery who wanted to hang them at all. I began to crumble at the thought. I didn't want to do it. I don't have a business mind.
If I were to do it, though, I would need a website. I've been thinking about building one. More work. Lots more. I'd need help, I thought, going through millions of images, selecting--how many?--to put on the site.
I am a lazy man, I guess. It was all getting to be too much.
I texted C.C. He was as angry about the retirement thing as I. We were notch babies. We got screwed by the factory every time we turned around. But he agreed that I should try to get my work in a gallery.
"Make them say no," he said. "Just force them to."
C.C. is a working artist. I mean, he makes money. He acts, directs, and sells his scripts. He does what it takes.
His son is a working artist in NYC. "I'll ask him what website builder he uses if you like."
"Sure. But I will need a Bourdain noose if I do this."
Piss, shit, fuck. . . I was sinking further and further.
But. . . I've been eating well. There is that. My insides feel good. Outside, though, I'm still a tub of guts. I decided to clear my head. I headed down to the Cafe Strange to get one of their good green teas. Green tea is supposed to be slimming, right?
When I walked in, the place was hot and crowded. There was a long line to get to the counter. I was bored. How did I look? I pulled out my phone and made a picture when I was in front of the cream and sugar stand. I've done it my whole life, you know, looking into reflections. What do I see?
Man. . . I've been battered. I have fallen down a glacier and been run over by a car. One knee is done for. I can barely walk let alone run. How will I ever be slim again? I should never have taken the foreman's jobe, maybe, should have stayed in the mountains and on the seas. I shoulda shoulda shoulda. . . .
We all know slim is everything.
At the table with my tea, I was thinking of what my old girl said about having so many Own True Loves. She told me once long ago that nobody could love like I did. In writing. On paper. I still have that. I do love with all my heart and soul, and I have had more than One True Love. But only one at any given time. It's not my fault. Eventually. . . they break my big old heart. What can I do? My heart is as broken as my body. I'd never made the connection before. Food for thought, the extended trope, etc.
I looked around the cafe. It is indeed weird. The clientele is mostly young strangelings. Visually unique. I want to photograph them. I want to set up a camera and make portraits of them all. I want to ask them questions and let them talk about their lives. A singular place. Cafe Strange: a People and a Place. Something like that. It would be spectacular. A spectacle, perhaps. You wouldn't believe.
I wish I had an arranger, a manager, an assistant of some kind who could set it all up for me. I will never ask on my own, I know. I've tried. I just couldn't stand the rejection.