of course, i'm too much of a beginner for the pros

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I was spoiled. It had to keep sounding like music to me or I didn't want to put up with it. I started to reclaim Sausalito when I was in my thirties... figured it might help me stop hating things in the "real world" too much to bear... and so spent many evenings at the no name when the music wasn't going to drive me out the door. The bartender would clue me in as to whether it was going to be musical or experimental, dizzy mathematical, and I'd show up for the musical stuff. It was always me and about twenty middle-aged white guys in there on weeknights. The confirmed bachelors had enough money to live on their boats in the yacht harbor across the street. It was like the common area in a home for wayward beatniks... almost all of whom are uncompromisingly-tenaciously-single white males... and... well... once in a while there is a plucky broad who goes in there with them. That would be me.

It was mellow. It was somewhere you could go to have a good conversation with someone who wasn't a moron. However skittish about relationships they might have been, they were almost all capable of engaging in really satisfying conversations... sipping cocktails... smoking cigarettes... going for a coffee break down to Trieste, a stroll, back in for more music and mellow conversation. They gave me shit for not wanting to bother with the unmusical jazz, but I didn't mind. They're men after all. Brilliant, but ultimately, in an important aspect, clueless... which is why we need each other, at least to talk to. It was darn pleasant. After they became confident I wasn't scheming on them, basically one of the guys, they liked it as much as I did. Took turns sitting with me. Darn pleasant evenings... really helped.

Maybe even saved my life.

But, of course, the tide was too tall, too harsh. The agonized, and agonizing, masses were not just spritzing hurt spume into my air. They had become the ocean and I was as a fiddler crab clinging to that pounding shore. It got so I could not ever go to sleep, and that's when I finally bolted the responsible mover and shaker gig back to Mendo World for keeps. You might think thirty-seven is too young to burn out so hard, but you probably never had a job that kept you eighteen, twenty-six, thirty-two hours for weeks on end... working until you literally dropped and then working again the moment you got back up. Whole cases with rooms full of documents were dumped on me in their wild state when they had not been settled by six weeks before trial. Six weeks is more like six hours when there are millions of dollars on the line.

Ah, give 'er to nines. She'll nail 'em in time.

I damn did!

Every time. I'd been working like that for seventeen years by then....

There would be weeks here and there where I could work pretty normal hours, but... but mostly it was "finely-tuned high-performance race car" who had to fit her loose steering wheel in between epic bouts of intense concentration and productivity.

I've been thinking a lot about all that since I ran into the bit about avocado... started googling. They turned our gorgeous old building with the fancy sandwich shop on the ground floor into a condo complex! Dick's office is a fucking awful kitchen and dining room now. I luckily didn't find a picture of what's happened to Pat's office or I'd probably have stroked out. The building had started its run as an icehouse just after the quake of aught six, brick so it wouldn't burn down, only four stories. It had been retrofitted with exposed steel crossbeams and open ducting for when we moved in. It used to be a masterpiece... and we took up the whole top floor with an option on the whole third floor, which we eventually also filled. We turned into they and they moved the whole show over to the Wells Fargo Building and another mob of smartly-dressed, horny, confused, vacant young fucks after I left them for my real heart.

I must be feeling better. Finally. Because I'm smoking as many cigarettes as I did when I worked all those insane hours, before the surgery decked me and my tanking thyroid let me slide down to almost none, not enough lights on to bother groping for my pack, and preferring to chill with Miles instead of chasing some outrage against all sentient beings down into submission, and thinking of places to walk instead of thinking of naps, and thinking of things I love as much as things I hate, and slipping into not thinking, not doing, without so much difficulty, so much forbiddingly stultifying need.... It can't last.

Can it?