The American Dream

I use to spend most of my time in the sky. Running between the 26th floor of the Alcoa Building and the 20th floor of my office at the evil corporation. I’d take pictures of the sunsets and send them to friends or post them on Facebook so acquaintances could be jealous of my beautiful life. Once the novelty wore off, I was left with the same empty feelings. Is this as good as it gets?

I had 45 minutes for lunch each day, and I’d power-walk back to my absurdly expensive box in the sky so I could eat and let the dog out. Sometimes he refused to get off the couch, and I’d stop waving the leash in front of him. Let him pee on the floors. At least someone was enjoying them.

I asked Denny once “does it seem weird to you that we spend all day running around doing shit we hate for people we can’t stand so that our dog can sleep all day?”. He laughed, but I don’t think he understood what I was getting at.

My girlfriend took me to a bourgeois poetry bar this year for my birthday. She gave me a handwritten letter, and I made a scene by bursting into tears. Then she gave me a watch and the tears faded to giggles. It probably didn’t help that she demanded that they bring me soup upon sitting down because I had ‘low blood sugar’. I just forgot to eat all day because I was busy writing and rearranging the bedroom closets.

We don’t stay for the comedy show we paid for because I’m an emotional disaster and the floor manager keeps glaring at us. I need cigarettes since nicotine is even better after a good cry, but my girlfriend is in a small black dress. I’d insisted she wear it in case we see someone we want to bring home, so I walk her back to the hotel and head for a 7-eleven.

The hotel is in the kind of place where there can be a Hyatt on one block and an open air drug market on the next. This was actually the main selling point of the hotel. Even though I’ve sworn off narcotics for awhile (because even drugs get boring), I still like to watch drama unfold.

I’m ripping a pack of camels open when a homeless guy walks up to me and asks for one. I’m feeling generous since it’s my birthday, so I oblige and we start talking. He wants me to meet his wife who is in their tent under a nearby bridge.

Of course I say yes, and we head off for the bridge. He’s walking fast, like all homeless people, on a mission with nowhere to go. Luckily I walk the same way. I comment on it, and he says it helps him think. Walking is when he processes.

He tells me to stick close to him when we enter the encampment. Fortunately nothing really scares me anymore. When we get to the tent, I go to put my cigarette out but he tells me I can smoke inside.

The stench is overwhelming, but I want to meet his wife. There’s another guy in the tent smoking crack from a glass stem. He offers me some when I sit down, but I decline like a gentleman. I promised my dad this would be a sober birthday.

You can tell his wife use to be beautiful. Turns out she’s actually a lesbian and was discharged from the military years ago for it. They only say they are husband and wife for protection.

We talk about choices. Getting clean and falling off. Why life is still grand even when everything seems to be falling apart. They are excited about a set of plastic drawers they found outside the other night. I can see the orange syringe caps through the clear fronts.

I know my girlfriend is going to start worrying about me, so I tell them I have to go. His wife tells me she wants to give my girlfriend a present, so we both make the short trip back to the hotel.

I bring his wife into the lobby because they are overcharging us, and I don’t care what they think about me. When she meets my girlfriend she whispers in her ear and sticks something in her hand, which quickly disappears into my girlfriend’s purse.

We hug the man’s wife goodbye, and when she’s gone I ask my girlfriend what she gave her.

“It’s Narcan, in case you relapse, she told me to take care of you because you’re a good person.

I keep thinking about all those articles in liberal trash rags like Time or People. The ones with the pictures of city roads filled with tents and high rise condos in the background, lamenting the growing disparity between the rich and poor.

They are missing the entire fucking point as usual.

We need to start tearing down the condos to put up more tents.