Monday, January 26, 2015

An Alternate Reality

            The Green House is where I lived after the Haight-Ashbury experience in the 60’s.  Me and my friends.  And it’s where most of them died after the Haight.  It’s where I had some of the best days of my life, and some of the worst.  It’s where I first found family outside of my birth family.  It’s where I initially found independence.
And escape from an authoritarian rule.

            Jim, and Jon.  They were my best friends.  There were several of us.  We were all close.  But Jim, and Jon, and I were inseparable.  We used to surf together, making the hour-long trek to San Clemente well before sunrise.  Sitting on our boards on the water, hours of ocean time and talking.  Riding waves and trying to describe the sensations, of the surf, and of the LSD rippling through our compliant minds.  It was all mixed together during those times.  It was all a blur of induced consciousness, natural phenomena and laughter.  It was all smiles and good feelings, hallucinations and exaggerated sensations.   Limitless expression.  Sometimes silence.  Total immersion in the flow.  Unqualified co-operation with the experience.  

            We surfed Trestles on the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, and Cottons Point out front of Nixon's Western White House.  The Riviera and T Street a little farther north.  The Secret Service used to patrol the beach at Cottons.  We weren’t supposed to surf there, but the break was pretty far out, and they were not about to come out after us.  This was in the days before leashes.  If you lost your board at Trestles or Cottons Point you had a long swim into shore.  Not always the ideal situation, especially in big surf.  And especially when peaking on acid.  But we were not to be dissuaded in our pursuit of the ultimate wave, the endless ride, the perpetual thrill.  At Trestles the marines would wait on shore in their jeep, and when a board would wash in they’d throw it in the back and drive it about a half mile down the beach, leave it there and have a good laugh while we made the long walk after the long swim in.  It was like something out of a movie.  In our altered state of consciousness it usually felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone, rather than an actual event.  But for us it was really all part of the reality carnival that was our lives at the time.  

At the Green House we had an enormous living room upstairs, surrounded by several bedrooms and a kitchen.  The living room looked out onto a busy boulevard.  It was noisy, but provided a lot of cheap entertainment.  I was in a Life is a movie phase.  Everything reminded me of a script.  Relationships, experiences, feelings, everything.  It got to the point that I really began to believe it.  We had sofas lining the walls around the room, and one afternoon when everybody was gone I lined up all the couches in front of the window, facing out like theater seating facing a big screen.  I made some popcorn, took a seat in the front row and spent the rest of the afternoon watching, what I believed was, a movie.  Throughout the day, as friends began to wander in, they quietly took a seat on one of the sofas and stared out the window along with me.  No one ever really commented on the arrangement.  Everybody knew I’d been dancing somewhat out of sync for awhile.  The room was left that way for a few weeks.  Then it mysteriously returned to its original configuration.  Nothing was ever said.  

In the meantime, I had gradually returned to an acceptable level of insanity.  Life was not as interesting after that, but it was certainly more manageable.   

The Police kept a pretty close eye on the Green House.  Always had someone parked outside, under cover, and often not so under cover.  They’d actually gather outside at night, late at night, parked in their cars in kind of a show of force.  We always referred to it as a show of farce.  We were like the local donut shop.  Cops on duty, and even on their breaks, used to stop by to check in with each other, but while there, they would usually do their best to intimidate and antagonize us.  They would shine their spotlights in our windows, and talk to us through their bullhorns.  Always talking crap, always talking tough, but always with a sarcastic slant.  They seemed to like us in an odd sort of way.  Seemed to envy our freedom, even though they called us queers because of our long hair. 
We’d get tired of being kept awake all night, and placed quite a few calls of complaint to the station.  Obviously to no avail.  I can only guess it probably just fueled their resolve.  The spectacle of all those cops parked outside our house, day in and day out, left me really with only one prevailing conclusion. . . . . . . . . We must have put a lot of the local donut shops out of business.
The cops didn’t know what they were doing back then.  And neither did we.  This was all new to everybody.

Life worked itself out for me eventually, but I’m sad to say that was not the case for my friends, Jim, and Jon, who died before their time.  And I miss them.