If this place makes you cry come on baby stay a while – B Side Part 2
The history of that year catalogues itself in my memory by what job I was working. I am not completely sure of the chronological accuracy of what I’ve associated with which job, only of my minds association of each with the other. I worked, in succession, at the adult bookstore I mentioned, Einstein’s Bagels, Togo’s Sandwiches, a sandwich shop that had been a Togo’s and then became a Togo’s knockoff, and somewhere along the line as a Kirby Vacuum salesman for two weeks.
The adult bookstore was an experience in and of itself. The nervous patrons, the self doubting sex industry workers, the random sexual propositions. I worked there for four or five months to prove that I didn’t give a fuck about convention. It was strategically planned to impress the punk rock scene I felt I was a part of and in so doing get myself laid. The biggest benefit to working at an adult bookstore was that Satanic Panic and I always had an excellent porn stash. This was handy given his girlfriend was in another country and I was a virgin. I naively believed my plan had worked when I lost my virginity and started dating the woman who was kind enough to help me with that.
It was around this time that I started visiting UCSD to skate with Satanic Panic and see my girlfriend. UCSD was different than SDSU in that it seemed academic. The students were less interested in drinking and rushing (not that these elements were totally absent) and more interested in art, science and humanities. My girlfriend would get fired up about the failures of governmental systems, society, or people in general fed by statistics and data supplied by her most recent lecture. I would just sit and listen. It began to seem to me that She and Satanic Panic were accomplishing something. I don’t think they or I knew what it was (and maybe still don’t) but I was interested in what they were doing and I wanted to be able to engage in those conversations. More and more I began to feel like a boy with nothing but a penis to offer my girlfriend, and envious of the world that Satanic Panic lived in. Everyone on the scene was intrigued by the adult bookstore for about a week. After that it became just another retail job. Being dissatisfied with the status quo, and realizing F street wasn’t going to help me change that, I quit the porn shop and resolved to go back to school.
I went to a local community college aiming for a degree in Radiology Technology. It was a vocational degree with a pretty much guaranteed livable wage waiting at the end. Over the course of the semester I worked at Einsteins bagels and Togo’s. I am not sure when it happened but my girlfriend and I went to Disneyland with a couple of her friends from high school one of which I knew. I had gotten some acid from a friend of mine and we dropped and fried about the park for an afternoon. In my fried out state, I made the mistake of going on space mountain which is a ride I can’t tolerate sober. It ruined my trip as well as the trip. Between being high and not giving a shit, I couldn’t figure out how use the phone to call in sick to work the next morning and was fired for no call no show. I also had morose sex with my girlfriend and it seemed the beginning of the end.
My memory of the time at Togo’s is dominated by two people. I had met this raver chick through my girlfriend and then through her this fucking weirdo with aspirations toward baller status in the local drug trade. Elena (raver chick) was super annoying mostly because I didn’t see what my girlfriend saw in her, and because she was always over playing her access to whatever it was you wanted access to. I don’t know how many times she told us “oh yeah, I can get that” only to spend the night looking and coming up empty when the night was already too far gone to salvage. Keith (wannabe baller) was as tall as he was confused about how to make friends and impress people. In another misguided attempt to eschew convention I agreed to drive my 89 ford Aerostar down to Tijuana with Keith to have it packed full of weed before bringing it back state side. Luckily for me Keith’s connection was unable to get anything while we were down there. Despite the company and being there for completely exploitative reasons, spending the day in a village in the hills outside of Tijuana is the best memory of Mexico I have. On the way home Keith got a blow job from a transvestite prostitute (intentionally), and months later he was thrown in prison for trying to smuggle a pound of weed across the border taped to his back.
I can’t remember how Togo’s ended. I know that by the time it had my dissatisfaction with the difference between what I wanted and what I could get had lead me to believe I needed to leave San Diego. I vacillated on this need which meant I quit Togo’s too soon. Luckily I was able to get a job with a friend at a place called Dagwood’s in the college area. I never got to work with my friend. He had organized the schedule so that he and my other friend could work the same shift leaving me to work with the other closer. A woman whose company I didn’t enjoy. For some reason his choice brought into clear focus the envy I had been living with for the last several months, the absence of any real friendship outside of Satanic Panic (who I felt I was beginning to fail as a roommate), and my lack of ability to do anything about it without the assistance of my parents. For all my desire to be independent the exact opposite was the truth.
As far as I can recall in a hasty mess of activity, I broke up with my girlfriend, traded my Aerostar for a 79 Caprice, cried in my fraternal grandmother’s arms, and had breakfast alone at Denny’s in Pacific Beach. Eight hours later I arrived in Santa Cruz to live with my maternal grandparents while I went to school. En mass I have fond memories of the times spent living with Satanic Panic at the Pacific Beach apartment we had rented. When I think about individual experiences I simmer with shame, guilt, and am baffled by the stupidity of my choices. I am not sure how to account for the dissonance between my general recollection and my specific recollection other than to say it is all mine, or for that matter me. I still can’t figure out when in all of this my stint at Kirby happened.