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They have better beds on the A ward.


San Francisco Presidio

July 6th, 2000

We'll See What Happens
Wednesday. So, this weekend, I didn't get out except for meals and coffee. I didn't attend the fireworks display in Jack London Square. I didn't do anything about fixing or replacing my bed. I didn't take any pictures. I wrote a long entry for the 4th about my own experience of late 20th century American history. The big stuff. Civil rights. Feminism. I deleted it. It was boring and pretentious. Well, it was pretentious. So shoot me. It's OK. I needed the rest. Wuss needed the rest. The entire world needed the rest. The four day long weekend is over. Just like that.

There's little to say about today. I drove into work thinking I was possibly having dinner with friends this evening in Fremont so I'd better bring the car. Not so. Tomorrow. We went to lunch with my soon to be ex-manager. People bought him lunch. People are visiting his office now that they've heard he's quit and urging him to expedite whatever project it is they may have parked on his desk before he leaves, some of them, I think, suggesting he keep them in mind wherever it is he's going. He claims he's quitting to take a year off. Or two years off. The stock market has been good. He doesn't need the income. He needs peace and quiet. The swine. I can't think of a better way to rub our noses in it. A year off. The concept is almost disturbing. I recall my own plans for a six month sabbatical. I said I would at least plan a sabbatical to see where it might lead, whether the planning itself might not just push me over the edge and out of the door. I have yet to lift a finger on the project. Consistent, at least. My behavior.

So we'll see. I have an odd divorced from reality attitude at the moment, watching the world as I might San Francisco Presidio watch someone dissect a fish. I need to reinvent my life and my job and slap my interests around a little to focus my attention and I think it's starting to happen. Maybe by the end of the summer, here at my current too comfortable company or somewhere out there in the greater corporate cocktail shaker. It doesn't seem to matter. I am experiencing the freedom, perhaps, of a small mind in small space, and if I were writing this as a story I would give myself a somewhat self satisfied unhappy ending. One can be dishonest with oneself, but one should not be dishonest with one's writing. Pompous, yes. And overly alliterative. But not dishonest. You get the idea, I hope, that I am tired right now, unable to sleep, and I've just finished watching something totally incomprehensible on television. Even Wuss seems wired.

Thursday, after work. Well, so much for complaining. One thing about periods when you can't write or sleep, they're followed by days when you can and do, not to mention when you sit down at the keyboard, the pictures are already scanned and all you need is to write a couple of closing lines, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" and "We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold." kind of lines, and what the hell: when you're ready, you're ready.

I was going to have drinks and dinner with Dick and Sam after work down in Fremont, but unfortunately SF Gay Pride Parade something came up and we had to cancel. I'd already driven down to Palo Alto during the noon hour to have one final last checkup after my jaw operation. For those of you who don't know the San Francisco Bay area, it involved driving down the East Bay coast and then crossing over to Palo Alto on the Dumbarton Bridge, a distance of perhaps 40 miles. I made the appointment for noon precisely because this is one of the most travelled commuter corridors in the entire area, trying this in the early morning or late afternoon is really stupid and even then if you're driving during the off hours, any sort of accident can turn it into a parking lot.

Palo Alto is a town where the median price of a home is something like $500 to $600 thousand dollars. I think I'm right on that, but it could be more. It is also the home of Stanford University and a large medical community associated with the university hospital, the reason for my visit. I once worked in Palo Alto. I had a friend who lived in Palo Alto. I believe Chelsea Clinton occasionally eats lunch in Palo Alto. University Avenue, the main street through Palo Alto, is lined with shade trees and parking spaces without parking meters and there's a movie theater that shows classic films. There are other things to be said about Palo Alto that are positive. I am thoroughly ambivalent about the place and would never want to live there. Reminds me of Bronxville. Another story altogether. I appear to be drifting.

Still, the traffic was relatively light except for the fucking container trucks and, although I discovered my new 1988 Toyota Corolla will not comfortably go quite as fast as my old 1978 Toyota Corona would go, the day was sunny and nice and the trip was a good one. Palo Alto was crowded, but I found the way to my medical building. The doctor was in. He looked at my mouth. And my nose. I said he'd reworked the nose and the air passages over quite a bit during the operation, hadn't he? Yes, he said. I thought so, I thought.

It's been obvious to me for some time that I can now breathe more easily. A side benefit. The mouth is still quite numb, particularly the front of the upper palate. Feels clumsy. Hurts when I eat ice cream. Yes, he said. It will get better, but slowly, which I translated to mean I've got a numb palate now for the rest of my life so learn to live with it. We talked briefly about cameras. He had two or three in the examining room he uses to take what I assume are before and after pictures. He asked me to go with the nurse so she could xray my mouth on the house. No charge. I assumed he was adding it to his before and after xray collection. Which is fair. One photographer to another.

What does any of this mean? Why am I writing this? Hard to say. I filled out a questionnaire he'd prepared. How painful was the operation (not so bad). All things considered, would I do it again knowing what I know now? Yeah. I was sleeping with a face mask attached to an air pump by something that looked like a vacuum cleaner hose. I'd learned to sleep with it without discomfort. Still, who needs to sleep with a hose clamped to your face that's attached to a small machine on which you must change the air filters and hums on a table beside you? That you take with you in a special travelling case when you travel? Not everyone.

Still, it was a big deal, this operation. I remember driving down to Palo Alto over a year ago to have the wires clamping my teeth together removed at his office, not feeling all that well and wondering if I should really be driving, remembering I'd forgotten the surgical clippers I was supposed to carry with me at all times just in case I should become nauseous and throw up, so that I could clip those wires and not choke to death. Would I do it again? Yeah. But with apprehension. With apprehension.

This rambles. Tomorrow is Friday. The weekend is coming. Normally I would write down a list of things that I should or would or could do over the weekend. Fix the bed, shoot a picture, walk a block to breakfast. We'll see what happens.

The first two photographs were taken at the San Francisco Presidio during a night photography session. The lady on the motorcycle was celebrating in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. I'll let her enthusiasm be my visual firecracker for celebrating the 4th. The quote under The Sole Proprietor title is by Oscar Wilde. I've got a new one for tomorrow.