Gobsmacked by dixē.flatlin3

alyssaGobsmacked by dixē.flatlin3

In April of 2017, I flew in and out of Southern California twice in less than week for job interviews. During this blur of travel, I happened to drive past a tattoo shop an old crony was said to be haunting. I admittedly showed up very early by tattooist time (noon) and chatted up his apprentice. I handed him a business card and asked him to pass it on with the warning I’d be back.

A short time later my travels took me by the same area and I once again stopped. Now, usually I am not a boisterous presence, but since I knew he was there, I decided to walk into the shop and loudly call out his name. I should probably mention that I have not seen this dude since the 80s. For real. Neither of us can recall if we ever saw each other in the 90s or not, but a voice out of the past might freak some people out – never crossed my mind.

He had cautiously leaned around the corner and said my name in a notably incredulous tone. This motherfucker has seen as much crazy shit as I have, so it takes a lot to rattle him. As his friend’s (ex)girlfriend, I had been cool by proxy. There were also crazy parties at my house, and again, I had a car. Never underestimate the importance of that currency in our formative years. But he and I had never been particularly close, but we were part of the same crew.

So here we were, almost three decades later, me grinning like an idiot and him standing there, gobsmacked. As he had said my name in the form of both a question and an answer, I finally spoke up ‘you act like you haven’t seen me since high school, homie.’ We chatted for a few hours and then I had to drive back to the airport.

Since that day, I have relocated to back to the area, accepted a job position and reacquainted with my old chum. We see each other more often than the rest, most likely the shop connection. I lived that life for a lot of years, and we came up as pups together – I get it. We also both have done a lot of drugs, so we can help each other fill in the gaps. Win-win.

Our most recent discussion was around a series of concerts that took place one summer, back-in-the-day, that we all attended. It had drawn a very wide crowd, and there had been a lot of LA-ites. He had graduated before me and headed off to art school in DTLA, so I asked him if he recalled a very specific car from that summer. One that I had somehow ended up spending an evening in with its bizarre occupants. He immediately remembered the car. When I asked who the fuck they were and why would I have been in the car, he replied, “I have no fucking clue who those people were.” Neither of us had any idea. And I had always presumed he had known these clownshoes.

Needless to say, my adult brain knows a lot of the answers to the whys of that night, but I am often surprised that I managed to survive and come out of it all relatively unscathed. My friend has gently reminded me of how unseemly we had all been back then. That combined with the reputation of the area’s occupants being druggies (or closely connected to) who could easily bury you in a hole in the desert had added to our uncanny abilities to evade calamity.

I remember weird details about that car, but that’s a whole different story.

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Get up, eat jelly by dixē.flatlin3

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Get up, eat jelly by dixē.flatlin3

 

 

I visited with the very ill mother of an ex-lover yesterday; more of a matter of convenience and proximity than anything else. I know that her son and his family live out of state and travel on a moment’s notice is not something a lot of working-class folks have access to. And I have always appreciated the spirt and will of the woman herself, whom I have known since she was in her early-40s. She made her way as single mother in the rough landscape that was once heralded as a 60’s desert utopia – let’s call it the greater Joshua Tree area.

Now having grown up in the lo desert myself, Yucca and beyond were always these places we associated with peers who had burnout hippie parents and names like Rainbow and shit. Oh, and drugs – lots and LOTS of drugs. It was bad enough being sequestered to the lower desert areas, making our way to those parts was always an entire production for my crew in high school. As one of the few who routinely had both a car and a job, I feel I can speak with authority on this matter. I had thankfully met this lovely woman’s son after high school, as there is no way I could have handled the roasting from ALL of my male friends had I done it sooner. Dating someone who openly listened to Depeche Mode back then was tantamount to treason, which is funny for someone like me who, as a tween, was (is) very much an avid Duranie. I had briefly dated one respectable punk rock boy from the area and that had been tolerated. Barely.

As is often the case, young love did not last, and once her son and I were truly a couple, it was over. That is a very pretty way to summarize a rather traumatic time, but that is exactly what time does, makes things prettier to look at. I have visited with her frequently since the advent of social media, which coincided with my begrudging willingness to return to the area. Her personality and stories of essentially being a groupie in the 60s were always amusing to an introvert like me. She lovingly tells the story of me being on the last bender she had that made her realize she needed AA. To me it was just another random night out in the high desert doing what we do best – getting fucked up.

Flash forward a few decades, and here we now sit in the emergency room of a prominent Coachella Valley hospital. I had snuck in under the guise of being her daughter and soon found myself in the room with her, her live-in boyfriend, and nary a blood relative in sight. And I feel that from the core of my soul as my mother has chosen to live several states away and I would be hard pressed to drop everything to fly to her aid. But I can drive to a hospital a few miles away and comfort an old friend.

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I am blessed to have always unearthed wise elders to counsel me. Or perhaps I am blessed that I paid attention to what my elders were saying. Growing up in the area I did made it apparent that both fame and youth were fleeting, so enjoy the ride as you go because you will soon be dead or worse, irrelevant.

Creeping around the Burbank-area estate sales of old Hollywood as a kid profoundly impacted my worldview. With this lovely woman I have always listened attentively to her tales of what mid-century American women in Southern California endured. A generation that were raised to truly believe that their value was determined by the success of their husbands.

My friend was a tasty little dish when she hooked up with a married musician in the late 60s. She quickly found herself at the center of a messy divorce (not her own) and was then quickly married and expecting her first child with her older spouse. I try to wrap my head around how an eighteen-year-old girl handled all that, but the world she describes is such a patriarchal clusterfuck of beehives and miniskirts, it’s hard. Needless to say, drama, drama, drama, and she somehow makes her way to the high desert with her son in the 70s as a scarlet woman. And she wore that letter with pride and was always a thorn in the side of small-town gossip.

I recently read someone describe the process of living and aging as one having to “bear the weight of time,” And that gave me the feels. Maybe because of my age. Or perhaps it’s because I am surrounded by elders who I know have impending expiration dates. And it scares the shit out of my inner child because it means I will be left standing on the front lines. Alone.

Sitting on the edge of a hospital bed, looking into the face of a woman who wanted nothing more than the acknowledgement that her life mattered, I can report back from the trenches that the roads to the frontlines are rough and fraught with unimaginable terrors.

We laugh a lot about her missed opportunity to have me as her official daughter-in-law. And of course, the one that she does have never stood a chance against the memory of me. I can readily admit that. I gently remind her all the time that it would have ended, no matter when, and I view the ending of my relationship with her son as me having dodged a bullet Matrix style.

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That is why our friendship so great. What I see as saving me, she views as having negatively impacted her life. And she truly believes in her heart that things would be different had I become her “official” daughter.  She is also the second mother of an ex-lover who has plainly stated to me that their son has always been an asshole. Little consolation, but funny coming out of the mouths of seventy-something women. I do not share their beliefs because I have known for a long time now, in my heart of hearts, that neither son was ever the person for me.

Keep in mind, the drive home is down the same streets I drove as a kid and it’s very much returning to the scenes of the crimes. And as I drove I was overcome with nostalgia.

So here we are, words and the song that inspired it all on this rainy day.

Anyway, enjoy. No proof reading. just. hit. publish.

Algorithmia by dixē.flatlin3

giphyMore than a decade has passed since I embraced social media with open arms. It feels like it has been a part of my life forever, but of course it has not. Earlier, as I opened a browser on my computer, I realized that I really did not have a website in particular I wanted to visit.

I gave up on Facebook (FB) long before it became the ruler of Algorithmia- the land of the lulled, content feeding masses. I disliked it solely on the fact that it required users to conform through abject banality. There were absolutely zero modifications allowed to the profile, thereby creating a false sense of inclusion. Fucking fake as fuck in my eyes, but whatever. It came, it saw, it manipulated users into believing they were a part of a larger, global community. When really everyone’s been mostly talking shit to the people they never liked in high school, because hey, we’re all old now, right?

As FB became the dominate online destination, I noticed the subtle manipulations in the feeds. I went so far as to conduct the research for an academic-style article to address how transparently evil FB was. The numerous FB sanctioned experiments conducted on users were never secret, not really. There were cookie crumbs that individuals could have followed to find the truth, but as the oft quoted movie line goes, “you can’t handle the truth!” This was during the early days of the 2016 American presidential campaigns. Early 2014 would be my best estimation, although I could refer to the creation dates on the original outlines, but I digress.

I came back to this article outline every time there was a ridiculous headline regarding the erosion of privacy, or a blip about the collection of behavioral data, or massive data breach. But I could never bring myself to finish the piece because it was glaringly obvious that the average user had no interest in the numerous ways they were being tracked and manipulated online. In fact, they were totally cool with it as long as the echo chambers they’d safely secured themselves in stayed full of the sweet, sweet smell of confirmation bias.

The election cycle came and went, a reality TV star became the 45th president of the United States, and the echo chambers have remained. Hell, they not only remain, they have become the norm. Thanks to algorithms, users are guaranteed to feed their favorite biases daily! No contrary or transgressive thoughts will ever pollute their online shopping experiences. Because that’s what social media has become: The planet’s largest collection of shit you don’t need, served up on ADHD satiating platters of click-bait.

As the rock stars on the social media global brand management teams continue to quantify the amount of clicks a rousing hashtag can bring, I’ve decided that there is not much I want to view on a computer anymore. When it comes to social media, mobile content is key. I don’t want to think, I just want to be fed content. Let the algorithms amuse me, I don’t need to think for myself.

The machines know best, right?

 

Desert Shores by dixē.flatlin3

Googly-Eyes-Jim-Morrison“Before you slip into unconsciousness, I’d like to have another kiss.”
(Morrison, 1966?)

Driving around the barren, California desert, it was somewhat appropriate to make The Doors the soundtrack. Having been born and raised here by Boomer parents, I suppose my earliest memories are melded with this musical genre-no matter how much I innately despise hippies and hippie culture. It was therefore inevitable that I share it with my own child, whose immediate revulsion to it made me smile.

We were driving through the ragged and unkempt streets of Salton City and Desert Shores. Now this was not the oft lauded North Shore side of the Salton Sea, which has been well documented by hipster culture and abandoned America programming. This would be the south side of the sea, in which there are humans very much living in mostly non-decrepit housing. Mostly. The side not experiencing an ironic renaissance at the hands of wealthy millennials. This is the side where poverty and the last vestiges of the 1960’s ideal of California are hanging on by the grace of the gods. And the deep pockets of state and federal aids.

For me, it’s the end of a long journey and the precipice of something unknown. Having abandoned the corporate world and working for others, I remain unemployed-not even pretending to look for work-have yet to decide what comes next. The past nine years have been a blur of firsts: parenthood, college, full-time, corporate work, and adulting so bad it made an ass hurt. But life is full of firsts, as prior to this stretch of time, I was a first-time business owner coming off the 90’s bod mod boom. By the mid-00s, I was more than ready to be done with the generation who failed to understand permanent. Or perhaps I just don’t “do” comfortable.

I am assuredly uncomfortable in my current circumstances. This life out in the boonies is driving me bonkers, or perhaps it is the not working. I knew going into this where we were headed and what it entailed: living with my father. The very one who as a drug-addled, Vietnam Vet filled my head with the same music I was torturing my son with, only I wasn’t smoking weed as we drove around. The very father who now requires daily assistance in his beloved barren wasteland that provides the isolation and solitude he desires. Which is perhaps the biggest WTF I have encountered: why am I helping?

For a control freak like me, this whole thing is bizarre. Maybe I just need to start smoking legal weed and listen to the words of the Lizard King.

“I think that you know what to do, girl, I’m sure that you know what to do.”
(Morrison, 1966?)

The Christmas Ornament by dixē.flatlin3

img_7314The Christmas Ornament by dixē.flatlin3

My son and I recently unpacked our Christmas trees and decorations. We spent an evening drinking hot chocolate, setting up the decorations and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s a ritual I have had since the mid-90s, no need to exclude the kidlet from my fun.

As we were unpacking the decorations, I came across a familiar box, one that I have lugged around for over three decades. It has not changed much over the years, but this year I was struck by the peculiarity of my having kept an item for so long. Given its roots, why did I carefully tend to this heirloom?

It is simple ornament, a delicate, hand-blown glass orb with a few nibs in the shape of circles. I distinctly recall being highly unimpressed upon receiving it. And yet, I have kept it safe and sound despite its inauspicious roots.

I told my son that I vividly remember the circumstances of receiving the orb. It was a gift exchange in elementary school. Back then, I do not believe that these events were voluntary, and every kid had to draw a name and bring a gift. Or god forbid you did not bring a gift, and then the recipient went without…the horror! This was back in the days when you could only bring Valentines for the kids you like, so gift exchanges were odd. Given this Lord of the Flies setting, I also recall the poverty lines being very distinct in school. We were divided up into the: rich kids, poor kids, in-between kids, immigrant kids, unpopular kids, and the misfits. We were slowly forming the cliques and social groups that would carry over into middle school and beyond.

Why I vividly recall this is likely because the kid who gave me a gift this year was one of the poor, unpopular kids. Now, I fell somewhere into the in-between/misfits group, so I wasn’t high up on the food chain myself. However, I can still remember in detail the soft features of this pale-complected girl with gentle brown eyes and mousy brown hair. But I cannot tell you her name, and I know I do not have any yearbooks to discern who she was.

I sat with my child and showed him the beautiful ornament, which he admired, and I told him I would likely pass it on to him, should it withstand even more time. And I told him its origin story, emphasizing how disappointed I was when I opened the gift, which came in the same plain, brown box that houses it now, wrapped in nothing more than bubble wrap to protect its delicate contents. I could not tell you what anyone else received that day, I just know I thought that a glass ball was lame.

And yet, here we are, more than thirty years later, and that same fucking, glass ball endures. And it allowed me to show my child that one should never be ungracious for anything anyone gives to them, because you never know what will last.

Happy Holidaze,

df3

 

Eat a Dick by dixē.flatlin3

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Eat a Dick by dixē.flatlin3

And so it has come to pass that our (that is the American) election cycle has ended. The people have spoken and they have chosen a man that most of us did not believe stood a chance at winning the presidency. I could go into this in detail, but it has already been covered ad nauseam.

I want to describe the discussions I had on the eve of the election with two males, both of whom I have known for over 20 years. It has taken me several days to process these conversations, given the state of the America, I believe this is allowed and appropriate.

The first conversation occurred with a friend who I know from my days in the bod mod business. Having been born in 1963, he is what some would consider at the tail end of the Baby Boomers. Without a doubt he has a level of white, male privilege few attain. He is a trust fund baby who has never had to work a day in his adult life. Not that this money did not come without it’s disadvantages, but it afforded him a point of view that is enviable, nonetheless. Now that the funds have come to a bitter end, he is forced to subside on a meager 40k a year.

Perhaps I should digress and mention that I am a collector of broken people. As one of the gentlemen in this tale pointed out, I am the rock that things cling to, to tell their tale to, before succumbing to the tides. And I agree that it is my lot to bear witness to the horrors of humanity. It is simply my nature.

And so, there I was, listening to the litany of woes that was the norm for this poor soul. It was the standard fare as he is one of those Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better sorts. I was accustomed to having every anecdotal story shared countered with something far more grand than a mind as simple as mine could conceive.

When the topic of the election came up, he launched into the sad story of how he had, through no fault of his own, of course, failed to properly register to vote upon moving to another state. Given I myself had recently moved to a different state, I could appreciate the paperwork involved with ensuring the right to vote.

When I stated that I had voted for a third-party candidate, he immediately and emphatically declared in slurred speech, that I had thrown my vote away. I retorted that I had not and launched into the reasoning behind my vote. Likely given the fact that he was drunk, he listened and agreed with me that the two-party system was broken. I would like to mention that he was a Trump supporter.

Upon concluding that phone call, I was immediately on the phone with another male. This one I have known since I was 16. We met in high school, and to say that we go way, way back is beyond an understatement.

I began to share with him the ordeal I just endured and when it came to the part about the previous caller insisting I had thrown my vote away, my friend quickly replied “You voted for Trump.”

Our conversation went like this:

“You voted for Trump.”

“No I didn’t.”

“You voted for Trump.”

“No I didn’t.”

“You voted for Trump.”

“You didn’t even vote! You don’t get to say shit!”

“I couldn’t vote.”

“Well you could have checked your registration online or gone to the clerk’s office, like I did, to ensure that you were registered to vote.”

“You voted for Trump.”

NO I DID NOT!

“Don’t you speak to me like that.”

And with that, he hung up.

I was so incensed by the entire event that I immediately decided that I was done. I blocked this person from all means of contacting me. Because I would be goddamned if any MAN was allowed to speak to me this way AND continue to have the privilege that is my friendship.

I should mention that he too was unable to vote due to moving to another state. He too had failed to follow up on the status of his registration and simply assumed that he was registered. This one had been a very vocal Bernie supporter, who had decided that Hillary was the only option.

In the days that have followed, and the stunning failure of the Democratic party to stop a misogynistic, reality TV buffoon from taking office, I have had time to ponder my conversations. And I have decided that patriarchy in America and the true intent behind both of these conversations, are things I will forever rail against.

As a female, I am not afforded the privilege of not voting. My gender was considered the property of their husbands not that long ago in American history. And in some cultures we still are property. Hell, in American pop culture we are reduced to the sum of our parts. The images propagated as the female norm are fucking disgusting and something no man (other than perhaps gay men) would ever subject themselves to. We are asses and tits and pussies. We are rarely seen as mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and most certainly never as equals. Bitches were beat for me to have the right to vote, so you can bet your sweet ass I am going to vote HOWEVER I FUCKING WANT TO!

I have also realized that both males in this equation have physically abused women. One having been convicted and jailed for the offence. The other has never had to face the consequences of the abuse judicially. And I guess that’s how it works. We normalize the abuse as women. We are raped and abused on a regular basis and it is somehow our fault. We are to blame for men’s behavior, right? Well this bitch has decided no mas. I am done. Done with enabling abusive men. Done with indulging male privilege. Done with the fucking patriarchy. Done with normalizing the heteronormative bullshit that the fucking Kardashian brand wants to sell me 24/7, 365.

I will defend my vote to no one. It is my choice. I have the autonomy to cast my vote however the fuck I want to. A fact that seems lost on a lot of Americans right now. But I will concede that the state I live in voted blue, which is the main reason I went third party. I made an educated guess, not based on the polls, but on the vibe of the people around me, that it would go to that way. And you know what? I was right. And I am sick of the having to vote for the lesser evil. It has become taboo in America to discuss who we vote for. It has also become taboo to be tolerant because only acceptance is allowed. Guess what? The majority just shit-stomped all over this fantasy. Maybe now we can find a common ground and rebuild.

And to anyone one who would like to tell me otherwise, might I suggest that you eat a fucking dick because I can assure I do not care what you think. I sincerely hope that doesn’t trigger you, but if it does, get the fuck over yourself. We have much bigger problems in this country right now than your fragile sense of self and overly sensitive ego.

Hugs and Kisses and Shit.

df3

(An unedited version of this was posted accidentally last night. It has been removed and this is the final version that has my seal of approval.)

 

I Love the Smell of Leather and Lube in the Morning! By dixē.flatlin3

65.02_RetouchedI believe it was mid-1991 when I completely withdrew from mainstream, heterosexual life. I had gone through a bad breakup. And by bad I mean that my fiancé had dumped me over the phone- a pay phone no less- and proceeded to immediately hook up with a girl I was close to. And by hook up I mean no sooner had I moved out of the apartment we had just moved into, and was around the corner from the salon I worked at, than her car started showing up outside on the street. I would like to note that she was a Too Live Crew groupie because to this day it makes me giggle and makes him cringe*.

As I mentioned, I worked in a hair salon, which was on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills. Having been enrolled in beauty school since the age of 15, I had easy access to gay boys. And gay boys had always loved me. Perhaps my bawdy sense of humor had something to do with it, but whatever the reason was, gay boys and me have always just gelled.

Post break up I was immediately taken under the wing of a boy who had numerous ties to the entertainment industry. We quickly began a routine of hitting up the leather bars on Santa Monica Boulevard and crawling back to his apartment, which was an alleyway away. Or ‘stumbling distance’ as I liked to say. I still have a deep appreciation for leatherboys and all their accouterments and eventually worked as a body piercer. Go figure.

Quickly I became immersed in the WeHo life. I hung out with a lot of female impersonators, or drag queens as we called them back in the day. Some of who gave me the best makeup tips I have ever received. I was completely removed from the world where my sexuality mattered. I was invisible; I was totally free, in a sense. I was introduced to people who worked on major television shows, and I fell into the world of the indulgences that can accompany that lifestyle. And I loved every minute of it.

I bring this up because I have always struggled with heteronormativity, particularly as it pertains to females. I have never appreciated the rules that were pushed upon me because I was born with two X chromosomes and therefore possessed a vagina. There are numerous environmental factors that also contributed to my rebellion, but the expectations of being female have always pissed me off. And thusly, I have never really “acted like a girl”.

To this day my most favorite smell in the world is when I first walk into a leatherboy store. I have a very dear friend who can attest to this, and it makes her smile whenever I show up and say ‘I love the smell of leather and lube in the morning’!

There is no real point to this, other than I felt like writing.

As you were, fuckers.

*told you I’d forever and publicly mock you for that one, douchebag.