Friday, May 05, 2006

Sinking in Santa Rosa

Retired at 10:00 p.m. pooped out, but lay reading my 2005 Journal - the first four months of the year - reliving the insanity of those final Mondavi days. The trip was an interruption in that process of degeneration, and I’ve returned, only to continue in the same depression I was in before I left.

At 1:00 a.m., I awoke from a tumultuous dream, dehydrated. I dreamed I was on a ship sailing up a narrow inside passage towards glaciated mountains.

***

Hey wait. Cathie is e-mailing Jess and me! It’s as though she never went to Peru. (But she did!) I didn’t even think to say "welcome home" and ask how it was!

Speaking of not thinking - there are so many things I haven’t thought about because, essentially, I’ve been so buried in my own self-indulgent world. For instance, there are many friends and family members who don’t have e-mail, or don't spend their days on the internet. This group has nearly ceased to exist in “my increasingly-electronic world”! (Janie, Matt, Becky, Ted & Jackie and Aunt Clare immediately come to mind.)

I thought of including my blog "travel companions" on the blog - maybe post a biographical sketch, photo, and mention of their dreams and pursuits.

“Is this corny, or what?”

***

I went out for an early dinner at East-West Cafe. I was seated in a section that was opened then promptly closed again, leaving me the only diner in that area. But I had a window table, with a pleasant view, where I could watch the world go by. Wrote a few notes.

"Jana", a server whom I've known for a long time, came over and asked about “my world”. As I answered, I was ashamed to realize I couldn't recall what was going on in hers the last time we spoke.

I have just the vaguest sense of what it might be like to be homeless in this society, at least certain aspects of the condition. Of course, something always comes along to bail me out. I can pull out $20 and buy a nice meal. Or drive to my apartment. But I’m getting nearer to that edge. No job, no health insurance. For now, I do still have some money, and that makes ALL the difference. It’s undeniably a fascinating feeling.

(“You chose to put yourself in this situation.”) Well, not entirely. I would still be in my job, sinking further into the muck. I chose not to resist.

I’m at a complete loss because nothing is being asked of me, and I seem to require that! Everyone else is too busy to notice, and to ask for help! (Except, that is, for the 100s of organizations asking me for money.)

Ordered a glass of wine with my meal: 2003 Sandoval Cabernet Sauvignon. $5.25 per glass, $18 per bottle. Napa Valley appellation! Made in Graton. It’s (relatively) cheap, and the quality is decent. The back label description conveys a "wine incognito". No specifics, just generic "romance copy" alluding to “Benches”, and vineyards near Silverado Trail, words that carry a certain cache in some circles.

***

I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods today. Talk about "sticker shock"! In the past year, there have been some amazing price increases in products I’m accustomed to buying: almonds, last I recall were about $6.99 a pound, now they're $15.99! Tangelos $1.99 a pound ($1.29 elsewhere). Honey is now over $5.00 a pound. Elsewhere in the store, I notice the expanded presence of proprietary brands (such as "365") competing with name brands. I suspect Whole Foods makes little effort to control prices on their non-corporate brands, providing a gentle nudge to the consumer to switch to the proprietary brands. Eventually, those non-store brands can be dropped from the shelf. Generic brands may in the short term reduce prices to consumers, however, it eventually leads to less choice, less competition, and likely, higher prices.

I went to A'Roma Roasters this afternoon to do some work on the computer. “Shayna”, the acting manager, marched into the back room where I was seated and told me and another fellow “we don’t allow connecting (plugging into an electrical outlet)!” (All the outlets in the front room had been covered, locked, and labeled off limits.) But in the back room there was a duplex receptacle that many of us used.

After she left, I talked to the other fellow, "Tony", a young businessman from Forestville. He looked up dumbfounded, “what just happened?” We had both been off in a different universe. (I had been listening to “XM Radio" for the first time, prompted by Drew’s alert that Bob Dylan’s new show was on.)

It is becoming more difficult to spend time at this coffee shop. A'Roma's could certainly take a lesson from most other coffee shops I've been in. I've done some quick calculations and estimate that I've spent over $10k in the years I've been coming here! Not exactly the kind of customer they can afford to lose.

Tonight’s BBC News remarked about the U.S. rhetoric and posturing on Iran. We're saber-rattling again. I'm tempted to start a blog, or forum that by-passes this fucking Administration and reaches out to the people of the “Axis of Evil” nations! (I have nothing better to do!)

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