It was September 2009, and San Francisco then Yosemite
SAN FRANCISCO Someone came from upstairs as we made it to our floor at the Green Tortoise and in a distinctly British accent, called us “cunts” and went on down. We stopped and looked down the stairwell after him. My friend said something funny neither of us would remember in the morning, then we were struck with a fit of laughing and stumbled toward the beds behind our broken door.
(And in the morning, my friend woke up to move my car so it didnt get towed.)
The bartender reminded me of someone or some type and I knew her and loved her having never met her before. I wasn’t yet to a point to be love drunk, although I would be, I knew. And I did, to prove myself right.
— The urinal had ice in it, filled to the brim.
The homeless man walked with a cat on a leash, and it was the oddest thing I’d seen so far.
—I enjoy the song of fools more than the rebuke of wise men.
When I tell her I love her, or say nice things, I mean them, but know I mean nothing.
—It was not my business to get involved in their romantic affairs, but she made it my business. Foolish me, but better they despise me than long for one another and sigh might-have-beens.
I marvel at overpasses. There’s something grand and fantastic about the accomplishment of them, the utility and the scale. American monuments exist for the people to use, not just gawk at.
—In the hostel lobby I said fairly loudly, “I don’t know why I worry about my bag. If anyone wants it, they’re welcome to my dirty underwear and original poetry.”
—”Yeah,” Will said. “Just skid marks and shit.”
YOSEMITE The way in has the most expensive gasoline I’ve ever seen, but it’s not price gouging when you choose to go there. A little further on, a recent landslide has buried most the road, and we drive around it.
—Ravens are everywhere around the convenience store/gift shop/supply post parking lot. Clever as obsidian is sharp.
I take a shit and see cum drip out of my flaccid cock. Weeks later, the doctor tells me it’s normal, I just need to jerk off more.
—Up, up, up the mountain, where there’s small forest fires burning in the area and construction to add better concrete curbs to the road so we all so many may enjoy the serene wild better.
The campsite has few spots to pick from, but there is one near a rock, and soon enough we can park and start tenting, with Will doing most of the work and me meddling.
—The all-purpose store had gifted two bottles of cheap enough Barefoot red wine, and the skin feels warm by fireless night’s end when we climb in to the tent. But by morning it’s really damn cold and my throat feels scraped out.
Some Germans came up in their car and asked if we planned to stay at the campsite another day. We said no, so they said they’d register and clip their form on the post right away.
“Go ahead,” Will said. “Just take it. Take it like you did Poland.”
—American history seems to stop about 1949. The U.S. is the greatest nation on earth with the most dominant military, we fight for freedom and liberate the oppressed, and Commies are bad.
—This is our mindset, and we can’t understand why someone might dislike us 60 years later.
The Sequoias are very large and Europeans love them. Germans especially. I was surprised to hear anyone speak English of the American flavor.
—I said to Will, “I wonder what the explorers thought when they came across this place. Enormous trees, huge stones and mountains.”
—”Probably, ‘Oh shit, look at this shit. This is some big-ass shit.”
One of the trees was cut open in the late 1800s and used for promotional material, like later a car driving through it.
People have been vandalizing the park forever. That tree has been carved into by hundreds of people, many of them dead. Some are just names, others have dates (1896), but while someone doing it now would be frowned on, I saw an ” ’08” and realized I may have met or yet meet that person, or that person may have been older than my great-grandparents. And to the tree it makes no difference.
—Will said, “Do you want anything from the gift shop?”
—”They don’t sell what I want,” I said, eyes feasting on some too-young pretty thing’s bare legs.
“I’m drowning in a sea of Eurotrash.”
On the way out, we stopped and at Oakhurst’s Family Dining & Saloon. There were other vehicles in the parking lot, but when we got inside, there were no other customers. An explanation for why became clear with time.
The service was exemplary in terms of courtesy but little else. The waitress was an old, grandmotherly type, and seemed forgetful, about our orders as well as us being there at all. The other staff were busy with phone call throughout. My food fame with hair too short to be mine in it, and a boiled egg with pieces of egg shell still attached. The biscuits took several reminders to arrive to us, and then had a surprising amount of gravy for a menu item that said nothing about it.
Will wanted a dessert, but all they had were deserts.
We tipped 10 percent.
When back in Texas, my thoughts turned to California and its numerous wonders. Its natural marvels beyond compare, its people, beautiful and clever. And how it’s $50 billion in debt.