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August 21st, 1999

No Danish
Today was better. Go to sleep with no lights, get up and take a bath by candlelight. Still, I felt some energy inside, enough to try out the washer and drier ten steps down the hall. (I keep repeating this ten steps business because, like moving, doing laundry is one of those things I avoid. The prospect makes me fall down all catatonic and stupid. I think that qualifies as avoidance behavior with some added butterfly like neuroses for flavor and clinical discussion.) Put the bed back together, fold the laundry as it emerges one load at a time from the dryer, find more records and put them up on the shelves, clean up the bedroom so it begins to look comfortable, take another crack at the kitchen and the living room. It looks like an ice sheet that is slowly melting so pretty soon now there will be enough room to maneuver little ice berg size pieces of furniture among the boxes moving them into their final positions. And then, like a picture under a safe light in photographic developer, the room emerges and I am finished and astonished. Joy and stuff.

I'm trying to think of the last time I've lived in something that would pass the Karin test. She, seeing my old apartment on Potrero Hill in San Francisco for the first time in the mid 1970's, suggested if I ever wanted to bring a woman to my abode, that I get an abode, as this thing I was living in didn't match that definition. That old top funky flat in a two flat building that was known to us then and now as the Rip Off Ranch, home of many a Rip Off Press employee and some rock and roll musicians from Austin during the early days of the Avalon Ballroom. Quite honestly I loved it. It was cheap, had three bedrooms, two of half way decent size, one tiny, a large kitchen and a large living room split in two with an archway between them and a small library tacked on the back. This was my home for ten years of listening to rock and roll, to writing a book, to meeting some women more interesting than my school boy imagination had ever invented, ups and downs and dead air and live wires and I wouldn't trade it for anything, although I'd entertain offers. Karin never understood this, but she understood other things.

Well, other places. I did rent a condominium in Napa that qualified as a decent place to live if you overlooked the lack of living room furniture and the second bedroom stacked with (these every present) boxes. That was OK. The apartment I had before moving to Oakland was a large one bedroom carved from an old Victorian, so the living room and kitchen area had 12 foot ceilings and great sliding doors that separated them, but it was filled with work benches and computers: another abode that didn't allow for civilized living. Karin saw that one as well, as I recall some ten years later, but knew me well enough by then not to say anything.

This new place is different. There's a desk and a work table in the living room filled with computer equipment, but there's a small alcove around the fireplace with a couple of leather recliners and ottomans and the short hall that leads to my bedroom has mirrored sliding closet doors on either side. This verges on tacky, but nice tacky as in maybe a lady would hang around for breakfast. Actually, breakfast is a sign of commitment. Maybe hang around until morning light and coffee, no Danish.

The banner photograph was taken through a store window on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley.