Dec 26, 2014, 05:34AM

Observations in Gainesville

I’m where I belong, for now. 

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I’ve been in Gainesville since August. I’m always wary, never smug, but so far, so good. I’m living in a Korean-War vintage quonset hut in a predominantly black neighborhood south of town. It’s $450 per month, which fits neatly into my budget. The neighbors are terrific, solid hard-working people who look after each other. I’m far removed from the drunken antics of the students attending the University of Florida. In the absence of the medical marijuana capsules I was taking in California and on the road, I’m in a fairly constant amount of pain, but I’d rather put up with a little physical discomfort in a pleasant place among good people than bliss out in a bucket of crabs like Silicon Valley. I refuse to use Vicodin or any other opiate: those drugs are just training wheels for a heroin habit, and only an idiot would drive on them. Smoked marijuana is good for anger management and inspiration, but not much else. The real medical benefits come from orally ingesting concentrated extracts. It’s coming. It’s inevitable. Greed will always triumph over stupidity.

For the first time since leaving New York, I have a good landlord. Requested repairs are made promptly by skilled professionals. The cops here are polite and professional. Everything is slower. People are courteous, even on the roads. Everybody speaks English. All of the issues that anger me are now distant abstractions. I seem to be calmer. I wouldn’t say mellow, I don’t have a mellow bone in my body, but the boiling rage is definitely gone.

I refuse to have a television in my home. I spend my weekends at Daisy’s, binge-watching shows on Hulu and Netflix. Little Betsy the cat loves her new home and adores Daisy. She catches lizards and frogs out on the screened-in porch on the side and brings them in for Daisy, who promptly liberates them via the front door. They had quite an adventure, the two of them, driving together from Mountain View. There’s a children’s book there, and I’ve been urging Daisy to write it. She updated me on the aftermath of our departure from the little shack on Murlagan Ave.

Chris Hopkins, the property manager, did some remodeling in the kitchen and annihilated the garden which was the one redeeming feature of the place. He put it up on craigslist with pictures. The garden is gone. The rental posting went up in the middle of June. With the garden gone, it’s just an ugly little shack. He listed it at $2395 per month. By the end of July, he had no takers. He lowered it to $2195, and at the end of August, some chump took it. It’s highly doubtful that he insulated the place, and rents are dropping in Mountain View, so it’s a good bet that the new tenant will leave as soon as the lease is up. The full extent of the trichloroethylene contamination in Mountain View is slowly making its way into public view, and the overbuilding is gradually putting the town in a state of permanent gridlock. Where the water will come from is anybody’s guess. California has been unusually wet for the last 200 years or so, and it seems to be reverting to its original arid condition.

Back in Vegas, Academy Collection Services paid out the biggest fine ever levied against a collection agency, owing to their abusive tactics: $2,500,000. That gantry crane stage at Cirque du Soleil’s KA finally killed someone. On June 29, 2013, a 31-year-old acrobat named Sarah Guyard-Guillot with 22 years of experience fell 90 feet to her death when her harness somehow became disconnected during the climactic battle scene, when the stage is vertical. Her screams were audible to everyone in the theater, and she died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She had two children.

In New Jersey, during one of my beloved 94-year-old aunt’s weekly trips to the ER, a skilled doctor using his intuition, training, and hands, discovered what tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-tech tests could not: one kidney was dead, and the other was infected. With proper treatment, she regained her absurdly robust good health and she’s in great shape today. I don’t know what became of Tim Kerry. I ceased contact with him when I left New Jersey. Some people are simply too depressing. I don’t have time for that.

Caitlin had a wonderful Amtrak adventure on her trip back to Oakland. Crossing the Rocky Mountains in the privacy of a sleeper compartment is definitely on my personal bucket list, and if I ever cross this country again, that’s how I’m doing it. She’s weaned herself off the Zoloft and onto the magnificent green caps made by Organicares. The big dose of THC in them works synergistically with the CBD and CBN cannabinoids to not only stabilize her mood, but also relieve the chronic pain she gets in her knees. This is why Big Pharma fears legal pot.

I’m the first to admit that I’m wired a little oddly. I’ve harbored serial killer fantasies since childhood, but LSD and my extensive training and experience as an actor left me with the gift of empathy and a severe aversion to physical violence. The cops in this country are out of control. For some perverse reason, I’m more troubled by cops killing dogs than the rampant killing of unarmed and non-threatening civilians. Chalk it up to misanthropy: I’ll plead guilty to that. Humanity is the worst thing that ever happened to this lovely planet. I had a list. Copious amounts of ingestible THC and Caitlin’s presence in the car kept me from summarily executing 17 cops on my way across the country. I had gone so batshit crazy in Mountain View that I had a very detailed and excellent plan involving a wide variety of untraceable weapons and tactics. I was seriously considering becoming Zodiac IV, replete with taunting letters to the media and obscure literary references. I’m too old for that shit, and it’s a fundamentally fucked-up approach to a serious social problem. Violence is a symptom of a lack of imagination. Nonetheless, something must be done, and there is no shortage of youthful wackos willing to correct the imbalance. As I predicted, they’re coming out of the woodwork and stepping up to the plate.

If there really are good cops out there, they need to do something about the bad cops, pronto. Otherwise, they’re all targets in a war that they declared and endorse. The American people are the most well-armed population on the planet, and we’re obsessed with violence. The only form of entertainment in this country bigger than pornography is carnography. Witness the popularity of violent video games and shows like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, or Sons Of Anarchy. It gets back to Admiral Yamamoto’s response to Emperor Hirohito’s query regarding a Japanese invasion of the USA during World War 2. Yamamoto suggested that it would be a very bad idea, saying, “There would be an armed American behind every blade of grass.” We’re the country that decided that sex and violence could be consolidated into one word. Declaring war on the American people in the name of drug prohibition is as idiotic as invading Afghanistan, and considerably more self-destructive. Prohibition was and is a complete and utterly immoral failure.

I’m cautiously optimistic at this time. There’s a fine line between hyper-vigilance and paranoia. Hyper-vigilance is a good thing: surrounded by big rigs in a vicious hailstorm in the mountains of Wyoming on Interstate 80, it’s the only thing. Paranoia crushes reason and rationality. There’s a lot of it around. The primary difference is that the hyper-vigilant pay attention without taking it personally. Paranoia is essentially a function of narcissism. Paranoids take it personally. That’s what makes them dangerous.

I’m where I belong, for now. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. Gainesville seems right. It’s smaller, slower, and smarter than any place I’ve ever lived. The art scene here is amazing. I’m trying to take a looser approach, not necessarily mellow, but more laid back, more appreciative of what is actually going on in my life, as opposed to what is going on Out There In The World.

Go thou, and do likewise.


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