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2003-08-22 10:36 a.m.

Last night I met up with David Cutler and went to an art exhibit on stencil art—temporary, anonymous art made with spray–paint and stencils. David's housemate Art was there with a film crew and asked to interview me and ask me what I thought about the art. (Wow, I said "art" twice in that last sentence.) I love being in front of a camera. I am such a camera whore, so I gladly obliged. Asking me to be in your movie or photograph or whatever is like asking a twelve year old boy if he wants to know where all his dad's nudie magazines are hidden.

After that I walked to the Mission, the part of San Francisco best known for having "lots of night life", which from what I have observed seems to translate to mean "there are Mexicans pissing on the sidewalk at any time of day, there are lots of bars where it is too loud to have fun, your car will be broken into." Since I was all alone with nothing to do and nowhere to go I decided to have a little adventure. I decided I would go bar–hopping, only with some new rules. Unlike normal bar–hopping which involves hanging out with friends, I would be all alone. And, instead of drinking alcohol, I would compare each bar's diet cola selection.

The first bar was called the Kilowatt. It was big and loud and stupid and full of people so that I had to physically touch at least ten of them just to get to the bar. Not that I mind touching strangers. In fact, that is usually the sign of a successful day. But this was not the sort of touching I am necessarily into. The bartenders had tattoos all over their arms, which seems to be a requirement in any bar in the Mission. They played horrible speed metal from the 80s—that one Metallica album that went JUNG JUGGA JUNG JUGGA JUNG JUGGA JUNG with the "Jump In The Fire" song on it—and I waffled between feeling discomfort at the volume of the music or discomfort with admitting that I used to love that album in 1988.

I spoke with some people at the bar. I watched the faces swirling around the room and wondered which of them would get laid on a Thursday night. Surely I was not going to, so I hoped that someone was! The diet cola was terrible, but I drank it anyway because I can't imagine wasting the $1.50 I spent for two spoonfuls of taste–free, cola–colored fluid in a glass full of ice.

Bar number two was a lot like bar number one—the only obvious difference was the address. Loud music that was terrible, packed full of people who I didn't know or want to, bartenders with tattoos on their arms, the usual fare. More people looked like they were going to see one another naked this evening and the diet cola was excellent. But, I guess no matter how much I tried I still didn't get the joke of why bars are fun. It's like Björk or reggae or smoking pot—I wish I could enjoy it, but I just can't. This little bar adventure game wasn't turning out to be as fun as I had hoped, and I was ruining my ears.

So I walked back to my car, past shopping carts full of the last of someone's earthly possessions; past the speed freaks who wouldn't sleep again tonight; past the Mexicans drinking beer so they could fuel up to urinate on more sidewalks and parked cars; past the occasional "my clothes don't fit and I like to look like I hire a blind retard to pick my wardrobe out of dumpsters and I have a black hooded sweatshirt with buttons on it" indie rocker who's heading home to angst out to bad music recorded badly.

I listened to bluegrass as I drove home and wondered if my fingers would ever move as fast as theirs did so many years ago when they recorded those songs. And I collapsed into bed, feeling a little alone and wishing I had someone to tell about my day.


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