[ j o u r n a l ]
The following online journal entries are from June 2000.
They are taken from my written journal and email updates to friends.
[ 0 6 . 2 2 . 0 0 ]
Thursday. 3:02 PM.
Here is another email update I sent to everyone -- after a very, very long silence:
Tales from the City: "Turning Thirty by the Bay" and other
Gruesome Stories (LONG)
Friends, family, confidants, acquaintances, angels--
It's the start of summer as of yesterday. I hope everyone's
solstice was full of sun and light and even a hint of celebration.
I think the aboriginal beliefs of many ancient cultures and
particularly powerful and poignant in this post-post-modern age;
we must pay attention to our environment, our weather, our
living spaces, our harmonies and discordances, our communities,
and our world. A little feng shui of the soul goes a long way.
It's been a handful of moons since I sat down a written a proper
letter to everyone. Since my return from my East Coast trip, I
have turned most of my attention to grounding here in San
Francisco. In doing so, my life has turned introverted,
introspective, and incognito. The weather's changed. The
clouds and rain of winter have faded. The sun shines almost
every day. I need to find a place in the light. Why let all
this solar energy go to waste?
Those of you who are familiar with my past letters will undoubtedly
chuckle at this disclaimer. The following will be just a few
thoughts... But all is not smoke rings and Carnival parades in my
corner of the world. And I forewarn those with little patience
for melancholia to set my missive aside for a comfortable
afternoon, perhaps late evening, to read over a cup of coffee.
Print it out. I print all of my letters "home" (an interesting
locus of thought these days) and meticulously gluestick them into
my journal. They are definitely a better read on good, old
fashioned 20 bond white. And certainly leave it be if you don't
have the mind or the stomach for drawn out entrails (entries).
And definitely skip subheadings that seem too boring, too 1999,
too gritty, or plainly too punny. I very much want people's
responses, answers, suggestions, comments, footnotes, marginalia --
but not too many criticisms -- it makes me happy to know
someone has something to say about me. I welcome fan letters,
too. All in all, delight! It is all performance. And it is all true.
BE A SUPERHERO... OR JUST DRINK LIKE ONE >>
POW. Onomatopoetically, the word conjures Adam West and Burt Ward.
It's the name of the little corner bar I have recently called my
favorite watering hole in town. Located at the disastrously seamy
corner of Mission and 6th,
is an unassuming one storey building of yellowish bricks. Two
backlit signs on the buildings corner above the doorway read in
cartoony graphics: "POW, A Cocktail Lounge." You've been to
sports bars, country western bars, and karaoke bars. POW is
the theme bar for the Nintendo jetset, the comic book cool,
and the anime elite. What could be better than booze and video games?
It is the home of drinks served up in a heroic-sized martini glass
called the "Evil Genius" or "Tidal Force" or "Gamma Ray." My
favorite is the "Antidote" made from house pineapple infused
vodka, cranberry juice, and a fresh lime. Very tasty.
[ 0 6 . 2 2 . 0 0 cont. ]
A guy I chatted with online (see later section) named Rob
introduced me to POW. Now I'm a regular. All the bartenders
know me. The owners buy me drinks. I enjoy its atmosphere and
its clientele. The bar is mixed: straight, queer, male, female,
young and young-at-heart, punky, trendy, trashy. It was voted
one of the best "geek" bars of San Francisco. It's a good bet
that on a Friday night I'll be sitting at the bar. I have since
converted many to the ways of POW. If you visit me, you'll be
taken to its comic book bedecked walls. As their ads in the
locals say, "Be a Superhero... Or Just Drink Like One."
If anything, I definitely have become part of a bar culture. I
meet a number of people at POW or at the local no cover club The
Cafe on most weekends. It gets me out of the apartment and
interacting with live human beings. I've had a lot of fun. I've
also longed for something a bit deeper and more profound.
I did have an incident while out one night. One fateful Friday
night in March, I met some people at POW. We had a few drinks
and chatted. Then meandered from POW to The Cafe. All in all,
I did not drink any more than I normally do. Sometime late that
night, just as The Cafe was winding down and people were filing
out into the 2 AM air, I turned to my friend Rob and said that
I wasn't feeling too well. He asked me if I was all right. I
said I felt really dizzy. I told him I thought I was going to
pass out. He looked surprised and that was the last thing I saw
before I completely blacked out. I fell stone cold to the floor.
Minutes later, I woke up to a bunch of people around me trying
to stand me up. And then I passed out again. And according to
witnesses, a third time. After I came around again, I finally
managed to drink some water and gather up enough coordination to
go to the bathroom. I thought if I made myself sick up, I'd
feel a lot better. Rob went to get the car and I went to the
bathroom on my own power. The other people we were with didn't
really know quite what to do, I don't think.
I got home safe. I climbed my two flights of stairs all right.
Drank a lot of water and went directly to bed. It was probably
one of the most mortifying and frightening experiences I've ever
had. I am not sure what happened that night. My body chemistry
must not have agreed with what I was drinking. Rob was thought
I had been doing some sort of drug. I swear all I had was what
I bought myself from the bar. I have never reacted so
dramatically to drinking.
The whole incident was the subject of some humor for about a
week. The rumor mill in SF works just as well as it does in DC.
It's all but forgotten. But I did walk away from the experience
hurt, scared, and isolated. I remember very clearly thinking
how alone I felt, especially going to the bathroom to throw up.
People were very thoughtful, but I didn't really feel like I
had anyone at my back. Really, truly behind me. I didn't feel
like I had made that kind of connection yet in the City. If I
had hair, who would've been there to hold it back for me? I
know I wasn't alone and I am thankful for that. But the feeling
of being alone was markedly there. I haven't felt that lonely
in a very long time.
[ i n d e x E D ]
© 2001 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
Email the webmaster of this site.
These pages are best viewed with
Open your browser to the largest viewable area.