I drive into the city after finishing a few cups of coffee and reading the morning
newspaper. Little did I know that I had timed my trip just right. Several cranes bound for the
Oakland port had just passed under the Bay Bridge. Both directions of traffic had been stopped
while this occurred. Traffic was backed up for miles and there I sat. Eventually I paid my $3 and
crossed over the bridge. I reached 9th street, went to Market and circled, and circled, and
circled. Where I had intended to park, which had had an attendant the weekend before, was now
closed with the parking lot obviously in the midst of being destroyed. Joy. I eventually decide to
return to the lot which has a machine to pay for the privilege of parking. I know I have 20's but
hope for the best. I park, I attempt to put in a 20. Nothing. I turn it around. Insert again.
Nothing. The machine says I can use a credit card. The two coffees are craving my attention. I
insert my credit card. Unable to read card it says. I insert again, nothing. I try two more cards,
nothing. I change the direction of insertion, nothing. The coffee is beyond craving and is becoming
irritatingly demanding. I decide to try a $20 one more time. It takes it. I thank the bladder gods.
I grab the parking receipt and the 14 one dollar coins the machine has deposited into its
receptable. I walk quickly to the car, grab the camera bag and walk in an almost composed manner
and as quickly as is seemly to the hotel. Restroom, restroom, restroom, ahhhhhhhhhh.
I return to the lobby. I see Cheryl and Mog. They're just sitting there, watching people race left and race right, calmly amidst who knows what. I ask where registration is, they indicate the Mezzanine. I proceed upstairs, register and take a bunch of pictures. The panel I happen upon is "Better Fiction Through Chemistry" but it is close to over unfortunately. I had hoped to listen in and ask questions about the use of SD. Oh well, another day. I proceed down the stairs where the speech is taking place. My cell phone rings. Very entertaining considering the panel is still going on and I'd shoved it deep into the camera case. It takes what seems like many minutes to find and eventually answer. I am unacceptably rude, both to the audience attempting to listen and to the person who called me. Alas. I am a horrible person. I take more pictures. I do find or am found by Mark Plummer who hands me a Banana Wings (Many, many thanks!) He indicates he finally figured out who I was at the banquet at Corflu, went upstairs to get a copy and returned to find me gone. Fortunately, he found me today. Claire Brialey also arrives. I take more pictures. They say they've had a grand time at Spike and Tom's and there have been gatherings and parties and restaurant trips. Hm. Unfortunately we have missed all of them. Another day.
I go upstairs, check out the dealer's room, talk to people, take more pictures. There is Mog and Cheryl. They have majestically risen, still sitting, from the first to the second floor, still sitting, still watching. They must have powers beyond human reckoning. No doubt. I take more pictures
I return downstairs to the next panel, "Transrealism and the Ghost of Philip K. Dick, or , Everyday Life is Science Fiction". Interesting authors but the panel has settled on a word of the day, quotidian*. It infests the audience. Questions are asked featuring the word. Lenny Bruce was persecuted for words which are used in daily life. This word is not. Persecution should have occurred here. Police should have come in, handcuffs at the ready, hands bound behind the offenders and they are led out, heads bowed.
Again and again the word is used. It is insidious. Again and again the scourge of quotidian is laid upon the backs of Rich and I as we sit in the last row. The pain. The agony.
Finally the panel ends.
I take more pictures.
I head to the party suite. My thirst again must be slaked. I find a diet coke. I return to the lower levels of the hotel and proceed to the Tiptree Bake sale and buy several cookies. Donya, being unfamiliar with the coins of the realm, berates me soundly for attempting to slight the fund with lesser coinage. It is not so, I beg. These are dollar coins, not quarters. Oh, she replies, and allows me to partake of the food offerrings. (Please note, she is a nice person. I am taking artistic license. Well, an attempt at artistic license.)
I talk, sparingly, and take more pictures. One of these days I surely must learn the art of conversation. Of course, those days are numbered and decreasing. It will probably not come to pass, alas. I will never master the art of idle banter, of witty repartee. I will never be invited to those special tables in the bar where people take part in their soirees and delightful witticisms.
Rich offers to buy me a beer in the bar and I acquiesce. We sit, we talk (my side, of course, haltingly, sporadically) while Rich, witty and erudite, holds up more than his fair share. He eyes the other table, the soiree (remember?) and thinks to himself, I could be there. (okay, maybe he doesn't but I'm trying to make this livelier so someone might actually add comments to this stupid LJ). He buys the first round. I buy the second. I repair again to the lavatory. (is that right? how does one repair to the lavatory?). I must go. (okay, I feel the urge to depart because my entire stock of conversational oddities has been used up and I've become weary of taking pictures and carrying the huge, heavy camera, (which I hold, endearingly, with love and caring)). I return to my car. I head to the East Bay. I'm at 150th. Now the beer sends urgent messages to my brain. Messages initially slight but ever growing. We must depart, we must leave this body. The exorcism proceeds. Fine, fine. Memories of Larry Rehse demanding to be pulled to the side of the freeway on the way to band practice enter my brain. They will never leave the living mind, the gestalt, of certain Bay Area fans. There he is, Larry, demanding us to stop in the middle of traffic. The bladder gods demand sacrifice. Okay, okay. I find a 7-11. Staff only, sir. No one else allowed. Aaarrrghh, the pressure builds. I proceed, oh, there's a sports bar, yes, yes. I pull in. I walk in. I note the crowd is somewhat rowdier and different than my run of the mill neighborhood bar. It matters not. There is but one thing that demands satisfaction. Yes, the restroom beckons. (Yeah, yeah, stupid junior high humor, but if you're male, particularly an older male, if you cannot relate, you live in another world. This is, indeed, the quotidian world in which we reside) Relieved I return to the car and home.
Of course, the gods are not smiling on me. Traffic slows. There is no reason. 5 or 6 motorcyclists have pulled to the side of the road. There is no accident. There is no body. Nevertheless people must slow and see what is at hand. "Mabel, Mabel, it's a motorcycle gang. What are they doing? Surely they are Satanists. Do you see the dead baby they are about to sacrifice. Mabel, Mabel. Speak to me. What evil are they doing there?" Oh well, traffic finally returns to an almost reasonable speed and, at last, I am home.
At least I was able to listen to the entire "Shangri-La" album by Mark Knopfler, which was enjoyable. Then, onto "the Pearl" by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. It would have been soothing had not the bladder gods been banging at the stupid door.
Anyway, I had a decently good time during the part of one day I spent at Potlatch. Hopefully later tonight I'll post some almost-in-focus photos.