POCOS AMIGOS Y POCOS LIBROS — the modern woman metaphor & LOOK DOWN SYNDROME — drawing by david oslo, scott richard
Image by torbakhopper
what i like about you
the new romantics
i don’t keep many friends anymore.
when i was a wee lad, i came across a mexican aphorism when i was trying to learn spanish. for me, learning spanish was such a strange thing.
i didn’t really understand english and had missed schooling and exposure to GRAMMAR. so i didn’t really know what a verb was in english, but i was a skilled reader of adult level literature and non-fiction. i just didn’t know the "rules" for why and how literature was formed. so how was i going to know what the present participle was in SPANISH for fks’ sake. it was greek in english to me…
besides, as a kid i went to so many different schools (8) and transferred between all those schools (12) even more AND never at the actual starts or finishes of the schools themselves. so i didn’t learn a WHOLE bunch of things that continuity and one path clearly gave to all the other children. i have big skips in the curriculum. i saw a lot of things twice and many things i never saw once.
but i wasn’t stupid.
i could read and i could listen.
and a majority of the people around me looked DOWN ON MEXICANS. most didn’t really understand that mexcio was a bunch of states with a lot of different regions and people.
instead they considered them a group of second-class people. and i have INTELLECTUAL hangups with people who look down on others. you have to have more perspectives to really get at something, so if all you ever do is look down, you become fking stupid really fast.
so i hated it when stupid people who suffered from LOOK DOWN SYNDROME wanted, nay, required me to spend two years in high school struggling to learn the language that these alleged but clearly NOT "inferiors" speak?!?! what fking social pretenses. and french was the other option and again, the stupid sht that americans say about the french is an abomination and effrontery to culture itself.
we are such shtty people. damn.
so i had it out with my dad on the topic when i was 16.
we were in a car on the 805 heading north to the 5 and he was going on and on and i finally just said, “you guys aren’t racists because mexican isn’t a race, but you sure are ethnicists or supremacists. and you have an "illegal-alien" mexican maid working for you every week. so you’re basically stupid and backward which isn’t really very SUPREME in the first place.” he told me that i should shut up in his car.
and i said something like, “yeah, cuz i really want be here. you’re sooo fun.”
and that was the last time i treated him with any respect because we’d both covered our positions perfectly. our silent detente goes on to this day. i just don’t respect stupid people and “supremacy issues” make people stupid almost as fast as cocaine. and hanging out with stupid people is like doing cocaine — it may seem you like you have to do it and you don’t have a choice, but that’s a fking lie. you ALWAYS have a choice.
besides, it’s just too weird. what the fck are those kinds of people thinking? it’s intellectually baffling to run across people who are “supremacists" and then want you to learn an "inferior" language. it was like saying, “we don’t like mexicans, but we all want you to take two years of their language in school."
and i GET that hypocrisy is such a HUGE thing for people. it is the "alcohol and cuckolding" of the moral world of people who aren’t actually brave enough to destroy their lives with drinking and cheating. the WHITE GRAYS. and these are the kind of people who LOVE their secrets and their tucked away world of lies… but it’s still stupid to choose lies over the "truth" of any matter. you’re gonna wish you were drunk or at least got fkt because these GRAYWHITES or WHITEGRAY moralists end up with NADA!!! fking NADA. even jesus tried to warn you of this.
THE LUKEWARM SHALL BE SPIT FROM MY MOUTH!!!
THE WORST OF THE WORST are the lukewarm.
lame ass christians can’t even read their own bible!!!
anyway, everyone around me with very few exceptions, just assumed that mexican people were inferiors. i had a good friend in my last year of high school at my second high school — valhalla — the one from which i actually graduated.
he was of full mexican heritage. and his parents were not born in the united states. but his dad worked for the IRS and he had two older brothers. and their entire lives were somehow a REACTION against this "mexicans are inferior" dogma that was playing in the social air waves. or so it seemed because they all turned out to be cheating liars as well…
anyway, as a child i had read too much extra-american literature to have the same notions of racism or ethnicism that most of the people i experienced were susceptible to falling prey. plus, my parents chose to get rid of the television when i was four. so i had zero media background installations.
instead, i had been left in libraries for hours and hours with nothing to do except look at books about the world. big picture books and storybooks.
no one had taught me about maps and geography so i never knew anything "translatable" about our world. but i did read endless story books and international aphorisms and global proverbs and collections of short stories.
and among all these little wise phrases and story versions of lives and choices people could make and the consequences for these actions one stood out for me.
i think it stood out because i was engaged in a lifestyle that was 100% the opposite of the aphorism.
it goes like this:
pocos amigos y pocos libros.
i loved how short it was and precise.
there was no extra room to wiggle past much of it. it was a bizarre declaration AGAINST the promiscuousness of literacy and relationships.
for me, left alone so often with books as a guide instead of the television or a supervising person, all i had were books. and all i dreamed about was having relationships one day.
i dreamed of being liberated from the prison spaces of my childhood — left at home alone, left inside locked cars, left inside libraries, left inside churches, left at new schools surrounded by new strangers, left at after-school events, left at summer camps. everywhere i went with my parents they would leave their kids.
it was a game of endless abandonment set ups. we were constantly being left places.
so the idea of being alone without books jumped out at me from this aphorism. and it didn’t make sense because i was filling it up with my own world.
what would my own life be without all those books filled with stories about people?
now i understand that as a child i didn’t understand that those characters were NOT people. they were no where near the fulfillment of people.
absurdly, they were the imagination of a person merely writing about the "fullness of people".
which is pretty much exactly the way everyone around me seemed to feel about mexicans.
to me, money makes a huge difference. and money is an illusional intelligence structure that we all honor at some levels — even thieves and murderers and the criminally insane participate in this gambit.
but it is MERELY a gambit.
one of the big ones in our lives.
like the one we use to get fresh meat into our bellies on a daily basis. it’s the gigantic EATING FEAST we are all participating in and perhaps deflection is our greatest strength.
still, i see MONEY as this language. it’s not a tool. and it will NEVER understand YOU. so don’t fret that part.
an interesting sidenote to the story was that my friend from high school and i split ways right after we graduated.
i was gay and we never talked about that.
i was never into kids my own age and my own personal story, which i didn’t even know at the time had focused my homosexual tendencies on men, not boys. so i was never attached to any boys my own age and i didn’t have or choose to maintain any sexualized friendships.
i just had friends for friends.
and always have.
people don’t seem to understand that once you fk someone, you can never be friends again. so your friends should literally be your friends. you don’t fk your friends…
but i was waiting until i was financially stabilized before telling anyone in my world that i was and had always been gay since i’d known them. mostly because i knew my parents would disinherit our connection and i’d be on my own. and san diego was pretty homophobic in the "let’s kill fags with baseball bats in the park" kind of way. hate crimes were originally men hunting gays for sport. it happened all the time in balboa park when i was a teenager.
still, i never felt very comfortable with secrets. and being gay was the kind of secret that INSTANTLY destroyed everything no matter what. and i was not into being gay or spending my life identifying with being gay. that sounded almost as bad as AIDS.
and that’s why so many people in my kind of situation attempt suicide. we want to kill our way out of the position.
it’s logical and the desire to reboot is deep inside all of us.
what if we were better than we actually are?
and a secret that can destroy a relationship is the worst. so i didn’t have any genuine relationships before i killed myself.
how weird to wake up and be rebooted!!!
i hadn’t really thought it was possible.
it just seemed like it might be true.
but no, it was all true.
everything was almost exactly the same.
the whole world was still the same, but i’d been replaced.
and the lies were now VISIBLE AND EVERYWHERE.
so i started "to GET" that this is what americans seek inside their relationships — they want the dreamy quality of lies and promises and the ability to have fantasies about ‘the other’, the imaginary perfection. ultimately, they actually SEEK this kind of deviance as a core strength. and over time this has become a manifestation of how LYING — which half-lifes into CHEATING almost instantly when the "lie" requires any kind of support or substantiation — is the MORTAR of modern america.
no wonder we have so many problems.
there is too much power in the very "IDEA of LYING" for money NOT to exist. these fabrications of the mind have become the fundamental glue of the social fabric — debt and delusion begetting the offspring of gluttony and fabrication of waste.
but flashback some two years earlier from this sad event of 1989 to 1986, a summer’s day in the afternoon.
my friend from high school shows up when i was visiting my parents. and we were sitting in my parent’s new driveway on the side of mount helix. they had built a dream house the second that we had graduated from high school. as if to erase any and all connections we might have with the idea of a "childhood" home. but in real life it was more of an "empty nest dream house" for my mom to show off to the world.
and it had these amazing views of 200 degree panoramic perfection. which was where we were sitting when my friend from high school explained to me how much we all had changed and how he had a new best friend.
and he was right. i had gone off to college and was living on campus down by ocean beach. i had a whole new set of strangers filling up my weird reality. i had a bunch of classes and a part-time job and i was still trying to surf and make it all work at the same time. so i rarely saw my "old" friends anymore.
and i had really enjoyed my previous friendships but in our case, he was more into partying and attention than i was so our last year in high school had been less fun together than our second to last year in high school. in all honesty, i don’t remember much of it with him because he had tried surfing but it wasn’t something he had wanted to pursue.
we’d first met when i’d transferred in to his school my junior year. we’d had a great class (humanities) together. it was one of those classes at a test pilot school for advanced education. so the class lasted two periods and covered literature and history. i really liked it. it was the first time i really enjoyed a classroom environment. learning and knowledge finally felt like a bountiful garden and at last i felt surrounded by IMAGINATION and possibility.
sadly, our professor died of AIDS a couple of years later — they called it stomach cancer to make everyone feel better. this was back when that’s how the disease was being hidden and the fear was just starting to be born — 1983. our professor was one of the first people i ever met who was clearly gay but not a shrieking gay. he was just a smart man who dressed dapper and was living a rather ordinary life in our presence.
anyway, the classroom was filled with a mercurial range of great genius and bubbling personalities and cliques with all the standard "sixteen candles" stereotypes represented.
we even had a lesbian jewish hippy chick named joanna who told a sweet little christian girlfriend of mine (who had also transferred out of christian high school at the exact same time that i had into valhalla’s more academically advanced and challenging program) that her admiration of boy george’s outfit was a sign of her own lesbianic inner struggle. i thought that was so awesomely funny and off the mark and SEXIST. it was like a PICKUP line for chicks by chicks.
my friend’s surname was youngflesh. it was such a provocative last name. that might have made her bristle even more when being accused of harboring latent or hidden lesbianic tendencies.
and yet, at the same time, i really liked the bravery of the kids who felt pressure at this time. there was a fierceness to those who were different.
i’m old now, so my eyes can’t see like they did when i was young. my eyes have seen too many things too many times to be able to see with the "not knowing" quality of the young.
anyway, the kids at valhalla were awesome. it was better than the movies about kids in the 80s. it was fuller and more complicated and people KNEW the stereotypes from the movies but most people were NOT the stereotypes. those people were like SIGNIFIERS of attention. they were STREETLIGHTS for the traffic, but the traffic was never the streetlights.
so when my friend dumped me as his "best friend" i was surprised. it was a heavy moment for me.
i didn’t even know i was his best friend.
i found this bit to be the most strange and unsettling.
and we sat there looking out at san diego county from the mountain top as he explained to me that he had a new best friend. having been through so many schools and pulled in and out at weird times, i’d gotten used to never saying goodbye to anyone. it felt like a letter being read out loud. there was something very third person about it all.
i was embarrassed that it made so much sense and how accurately he had summed it all up.
i had instant closure and tucked it away in my DO NOT FORGET pouch and kind of agreed — i didn’t deserve to be his best friend. heck, i wasn’t even performing any significant role as even a friend.
fifteen years later in my life i was dumped in a restaurant by a tall hunky man in santa barbara. we were in some crappy mall pasta joint that i would never have ever been in except that’s where he wanted to meet. earlier the week before we had broken up. things just weren’t working out and as much as i really liked him he was a deviant sexual addict who needed sex ALL the time. which i guess might sound fun to some of you, but the reality is that it’s an exhausting addiction for the person because it’s a numbers game, not an experience game. they don’t LOVE sex, they LOVE the numbers.
so from a sense of hygiene i had downgraded our relationship to a non-sexual friendship. and he had seemed really cool with it. we talked about it and came to the conclusion through shared discourse. i thought it was over from that angle.
but this was payback. guys have a way of wanting to ditch each other. i don’t get this. this seems lame. don’t date people you want to ditch. it LITERALLY means you moved too fast if you need to DITCH people. and that’s on you. so if someone has to downgrade your SHARED relationship, and they take the time to figure it out with you and don’t just drop a bomb, don’t be a dck. or do. it looks hilarious.
anyway i still remember sitting at the restaurant and staring at the menu over and over again and not being able to figure out any entree that sounded like something i wanted to eat. and it was one of those restaurants that i had walked past an infinite number of times in paseo nuevo that would close after three years and be replaced by something nearly identical and just as unsuccessful. a friend of mine had already worked there in one of its earlier incarnations and even then we never went there. i should have known something was up because i could smell pascucci’s fking amazing garlic bread from where i was sitting in the lame restaurant. oh yeah, dump people in crappy restaurants, never in ones you like…
so there i’m sitting in a daze of confusion looking at the menu and he starts in with this retaliation-dump.
it was hilarious, even in the moment.
at first i wasn’t processing any of it but then it had this TV quality.
like it had been rehearsed and there was a script.
and the script actually included all of these pause moments where IMAGINARY me would talk.
but REAL imaginary me just laughed and laughed and laughed. and i remember getting up and saying, "oh my god, you’re fking hilarious. you watch waaaaay too much tv." and i walked out laughing and laughing. it was so funny. i had been so played and it just tickled me pink. it was incoherently the funniest sht ever. i wish it had been on film. it was so cheesy and i felt like nachos.
and i was so naive. and open. and friendly.
that’s the part that still kills me.
i’d do it all over again if i didn’t know it was the same thing twice!! somehow i will always maintain that fresh view that refuses to be a tv actor in real life. i will always strive to be the WRITER/CREATOR/ULTIMATE PRODUCER.
i won’t be great at reproducing other peoples’ lines.
in fact, i suck at other people’s lines!!
and if i needed their criticism, who would i be?
the birth of lies begins with other people’s lines!!
and finding freedom from this weird fetish — the approval of others — is at least one of the reasons why i still have a soft and happy etheric layer that glows all around me. even now, everything i liked about that man is alive and well inside me and hopefully inside of him. i wish him the best, fkt up as he is. good luck with that, david S.!! sorry to have to name you, but there are enough tall hunky men in santa barbara reading this who simply might think this is about them… or something like that.
however, in the moment i also thought, "ah, this is exactly like when alex ‘dumped’ me as his best friend fifteen years ago." and i tucked that information away — BEWARE: dramatic people fabricate huge breakup scenes in advance.
so this was strange.
this visitation of separation and separating.
and hearing someone reading something off in their mind like they were reading a letter is challenging.
it’s a tonal shift.
it makes the concrete that you’re sitting on feel harder and more real than the words. the chair in the restaurant suddenly feels like its actual form. i can feel my body. i’m landed. dumped.
and back then with alex all i’d really done was to go off to college. it was only 8 miles away. everyone else did, too. it wasn’t an orchestrated split.
still, it was a completely different life and existence.
and he was still living at home and attending community college. i think he was even hanging out with my twin brother. most of my old friends had all transferred their friendships over to my twin anyway. like a bank transaction.
my twin liked to party. i didn’t party at all and had gotten bored of going to parties really fast since people acted like how i imagined tv characters would act when they got drunk — stupid and pathetic.
so my twin had ended up hanging out with my friends as the partying thing became overwhelming for all extra-social activities. everyone just wanted to get drunk and laid. and they called that fun. and i stopped hanging around them and vice versa. we just went different places. i went to punk and ska shows and they went and drank and parked their cars.
during my last year of high school i did a lot of surfing and stopped hanging out socially with my old group of friends. except the few who surfed. my new group of "friends" were dedicated to the activity of surfing and finding surf and we all knew that it wasn’t an activity that would ever be as free as it was then. we knew "surfing" was a disappearing and beautiful thing. we knew that the thruster was the final evolution for shore surfing and that the number of waves versus the fast-growing population of san diego would soon make surfing no fun.
and it was hard to know this. it was a life lesson that we all face. there’s always some disappearing beauty in our lives.
several months after my friend had delivered our friendship termination/status notice, he called me up to apologize. i was confused. he said that he hadn’t really meant any of it. "but it was all true." i said. "i heard everything you said and every word was true. we have split up, we do never hang out, we do never see each other and you deserve to have any friends you want. it made sense. everything you said was on point."
i never actually saw him again in person. and like i said, i’m pretty sure he was still friends with my twin, but i never really saw my twin after i turned 18 and went off to college. i never had a home when i was young so it was easy to leave. well, that’s a lot of “nevers” for one paragraph.
never cheat the IRS. there’s another good one.
my friend’s dad, who had worked for the IRS, ended up in jail along with my friend’s oldest brother for some kind of fraud scam where they stole a bunch of money from the IRS. great examples of first generation mexican americans, lol. throwing huge lavish and authentic mexican parties in their expanding home (they were always adding a new room in the strangest ways to their home when i knew him) at the expense of the u.s. tax payer. bravo!! and again, lol.
let me know how your time in jail went… and his poor mom. how fkt up that must’ve been for her to roost over that household and i know for a fact she was the ring leader because her hen-pecked husband wasn’t smart enough to pull sht off without expertise and she was always way too paranoid as a overstuffed farm hen who lets the fox into the hen house through collusion — translation: let’s just say she was a total puta and any bad sht that falls on her head is fine by me. the rain falls on everyone and you losers got caught. stealing from u.s. citizens in your new country. that’s fking shtty behavior.
just like all the shtty behavior my parents did, just WAY MORE ILLEGAL!!!!
tantalus from the greek myths is confronted with this sadness forever. as a character, he is constantly reaching out for that which he desires. and it is constantly pulling away from him in direct proportion to his reach.
and this is the lesson of FEW BOOKS, FEW FRIENDS.
sit and be still.
words will land on you.
that which passes by will greet you.
soon you will be the few books and the few friends.
your existence will make these things true. your life will become literature and you will be read by others and among them — all those people — you will not be forced to hold any.
your TRUE friends do not need you. they do not require you. they are not unlike books.
your true friends will be like those few books — you don’t need to read them to keep the story alive.
the story already lives inside of you.