Be careful what you joke about. In January 2019 I began speaking with Chris, the owner of Backflows Northwest. He asked what I wanted to do. I said that I wanted to write in a cafe, drink too much espresso, and smoke cigarettes. The only thing that I am missing right now is the cigarettes. I\’m back at Storyville in Queen Anne. I drove up here. It\’s almost exactly one mile. I rather would have walked, but I have therapy in one hour, and I\’m going to sit in my car because that\’s the only place that feels private.

I\’m sitting on what must be an expensive brown leather couch with my MacBook in my lap. I\’m wearing a white tshirt, olive chinos, light gray desert chukkas, my Stowa flieger, a leather bracelet made of one strand of black leather cord wrapped three times around my wrist, a black bandana around my neck because of COVID-19, and my navy twill messenger bag from Filson with a small black-and-brass crow pin. There is a copper colored chainmail curtain to my right—for decorative purposes only; after only a few adjustments it could be a Faraday cage, which would make getting wifi signal problematic, but maybe it would keep the voices out. I cannot see the espresso bar because it is hidden behind a column veneered by wood. The mood is quiet; soft voices are used at the counter. There are four people, including myself sitting at computers. One person is at the counter. There are two baristas. The vibe is expensive more than it is sophisticated. But their coffee is good—better than Cafe Ladro\’s right up the street (or down the same street depending on how far you\’re willing to walk). 

I enjoy being able to look put together—not that my execution is particularly good, but at least I make an effort unlike most Seattleites. Anyway, I would rather be getting my hands dirty. I could never just be a scholar. First, it would make Nietzsche sad if I only used my brain. Second, it\’s not who I am; I am not only a thinker. I need a close relationship with my body. I am beginning to realize that when I was in college, a big part of my life was weightlifting. I think motorcycle and hiking are a part of that. Weightlifting alone is too ascetic and severe—boring, really. 

Too much of what I say is not from my own voice. But I guess that\’s because my own voice never really had much to say; other people said it better first. but then the problem was that I wasn\’t paying attention to my own being, and other people\’s words led me away from myself; their-words-in-my-mouth painted over my window into the world. Most people are better off not looking through their crystal window; better to watch the veil-and-screen. Information is easier to consume and incorporate when it has already been digested and then regurgitated. We—the non-enlightened, the poor, the non-initiated—are not equipped to face our environment because it\’s so ugly, harsh, and cruel. But that is where value is…

So, what do I want?

I thought I wanted to work a corporate job in downtown Seattle, so I could get experience, find a wife, then move somewhere else and raise a family. That plan has changed. I did not fit the bill. I had no business working for a corporation. Maybe I could have survived in a small business. But I\’m a fucking asshole who doesn\’t do exactly what he is told. I always think I know better—especially when I don\’t. \”I learn the hard way,\” I have said many times.

Well, now what? 

Move to New Mexico. Attend SJC. Ride motorcycles. Probably get a dual sport like a WR250R and then maybe trade in the T100 for something tall that is good for long rides and commutes. Working with motorcycles and fixing them, sounds meaningful. Getting into something even just tangentially related to motorcycles seems like a move in the right direction. I never thought I would consider becoming a mechanic…. It sounds better than anything I\’ve done before. I don\’t know if I would be a good mechanic. I wouldn\’t want to work in a big shop. I would do it for minimum wage or less probably, which is a good sign.

Do I want to be a mechanic? Not exactly. I want to learn how to work on my bike. I don\’t want to work for someone else. I don\’t want to make someone else rich. I hate the idea of making someone else wealthy off of my labor. It makes me sick and furious. 

See, this is how I am a piece of shit. I\’m pretty sure this is how people can end up homeless later in their lives: they just don\’t want to just accept the opportunities society gives them, so they (read: future me) sits around being resentful with no excuse.

After the cafe I stopped by Safeway for orange chicken. I ate it on the sidewalk on my way to the car. A beautiful woman of mixed race, part black with pale green eyes caught me off guard and asked me what I was eating. I hadn\’t seen her, and I felt bad about being on the sidewalk without a mask. The most I could manage while trying to keep distant from her was to say, \”—The worst orange chicken I have ever had.\” She left as quickly as she came. My first thought was that she must not be from around here; no one is that friendly on the street here in Seattle. 

Therapy was good today. I sat in my car after taking a piss behind an almost-well-enough-wooded-to-hide neighborhood bus stop in upper Queen Anne. I used refining gold as a metaphor for self-development but then—organically—by the end of the session I used growing a tree which sat much better for the two of us. 

I bought two bottles of bourbon, a gallon of milk, and a bag of frozen Orange Chicken. That hot blonde woman was working the register. She\’s tall and has a perfect figure. She can\’t be older than thirty. I always remember she\’s there. But if I saw her on the street I wouldn\’t be able to recognize her. She\’s a body behind a mask. Public anonymity. Shallow personas. Masks greeting masks—literally and figuratively. I guess it has always been that way. It is always that way. It\’s masks all the way down. …No that\’s not entirely true. 

….