I hear that this city is really just built on landfill… not really made for what mother nature has too offer, thus a common occurrence is the sewers exploding from time to time. Not for any other reason than, it just rained kind of hard on and off for a couple days. Usually what happens in California when it rains, other than all drivers speeding up and trying to stay as close to one another as they can. I’m assuming so they don’t get wet. They form a protective clump, like penguins in a storm. Only that it’s moving a lot faster, talking on the phone, and really feels that this is all inconvenient, although the states in a constant drought. If citizens could vote against it, they would in a heartbeat. We’d all put aside our differences to get rain, aggression, negative thoughts, friendly competition, and reptiles “OUT OF CA!!!”.

I heard thunder once in Berkeley, a tiny little clap. Like an upstairs neighbor just scooted back their chair at dinner. Shortly after, all the shop owners and residents walked outside, eyes fixed to the sky, all facing the same way, like the mother ship was descending on the town, mindless. I’m from FL… no big deal, but it sure didn’t help their defense of me calling them a bunch of indoor cats. I used to wonder how long it took the Bay Area to not fear the vacuum.

So as the sewer was exploding in North Beach, and the waste was flooding businesses and apartments, sticking to the ceilings, ruining the toothbrushes, and the fresh roll of toilet paper now soaked with the business of an entire city. Bay street became a brown river. There is no dirt anywhere around here, so I’m assuming the “brown” isn’t the same substance as the muddy mississip’. I was just in the middle of falling in love with a girl, now I’m barefoot with a mop, placing fans by the doors, only thinking about her. I should’ve been a little more present and found some boots, but I’m usually barefoot or in flip flops, and I’m not ruining my new flip flops, and I don’t carry boots… feet can be washed, and hepatitis, well, I wasn’t thinking. If I were to catch it, at least I wouldn’t have to throw out my flip flops too, they were a gift.

When all of this was over, the streets finally draining, I’m still thinking of her, tired, and cold. Looking at the city drain. I sometimes feel like the leaf that was just a little too big to fit between the grates, adding as a catch for whatever flows by. The line sick of hanging out with plastic bags and bottlecaps all day, was exactly what I saw. A leaf, stuck on the grate, and trash all around it. I’m sure that leaf is really let down. It was floating away thinking, here I go… out to sea, an estuary, or a marsh, I’ll become part of the earth, and serve my duty as a leaf. Nope.. it’s gonna get caught in a grate with a bunch of trash, and that’s about it.

This is often what I feel in cities when bad things happen. I never question the good of humans. We really come through when we need each other, but I do wonder, how long will it take for people to stop looting, and start helping one another if the big one comes. To realize the TV their running down the street with is wet, ruined, and the city grid is fried. The further disconnected from our basic communal instincts, the longer it takes for them to resurface. The more plastic covering that leaf the longer it will take for it to get back into the earth and become part of the natural order again. Some will never make it.

Speaking of disconnected, I’m a bumbling idiot when it comes to girls. Really. There’s a voice in all of us that never lies, and it’s always right, and will never lead us down the wrong path. That voice is like a great singer-songwriter, sitting in a bar with a guitar. When we’re young, that bar is empty, our voice is beautiful, our song is heard, the jokes are funny, and people come and go, they listen, they sing along. As we get older, more and more people come into the bar until the bar is full. The guy is drowned out now by angry couples, depressed drunks, a girls night out, the macho pack of boys that never had a chance to prove themselves, the “funny” guy, and now… every time that singer is about to sing or say something real, the drunks in the back burst into a big spirited “Happy Birthday” or just a bad request of some song that’s familiar or overplayed, and reminds them of the good times.

I use this metaphor because I’ve been with people before, in a club, ignoring the person on stage, as I watch uncomfortably as the room is being rude and loud. Then got in the car and they’ll put in the cd of the guy that was just onstage. I said, “Hey, we were just at this guys show and you guys didn’t even listen…”

and they replied, “Why didn’t you tell us that was him?”

I’d think to myself, I shouldn’t have too, if we’d just take a minute out of our own self-centered crap, maybe we’d realize that we’re in the middle of something great, other than ourselves. That’s what I was in the middle at this time… covered in shit and hoping I don’t have some kids dead goldfish stuck to the back of my pant leg, I’m here and realizing that I’m really into a girl that has been there for a long time. I was never listening to that voice, I was wrapped in everything else.

“A NAME TO THE FACE, A MOUTH TO THE TASTE… BUT IT NEVER MADE IT ACROSS THE BAY…”

All the way home I’d compare the girl I’d just met to her, the girl I was with to her, and now I realized who she really was. Driving across the bay bridge I was having a moment of clarity, I was hearing that voice. It was calling out her name for years, and I never stopped and listened to it, until now. I just thought it was another stupid song that was a cheap version of something I’ve heard before, another song about another girl. So grandiose, romantic, and idealistic, really designed to make the other girls in the room envious of whoever she is. So they just might try and pursue me, because obviously, artists talk like this all the time, constant romantic poetry, and the passion will never fade, they will be the muse and don’t tell me that this is just an assumption. If not with me, it’s a common thread, we all love to be revered, and to inspire. I knew that the only thing that was gonna be harder than hearing that voice among all the others trying to compete, was to actually take it’s advice, to hear the song.

We always know when it’s real, when she likes you, when he’s into you for more than just sex, the hard part is admitting it. I used to think it was arrogant to think that someone would really love me, or was into me. The arrogance comes from thinking you’re gonna find all of this tonight.