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What I Did Today
Molly and Kevin both smoke cigarettes. They smoke them while they eat their cereal, they smoke them
while they talk on the phone to their parents and sometimes even when they sit on the toilet,
separate toilets though, not the same one and not at the same time. But today, they are smoking
cigarettes in Kevin's car. I am held captive in the back seat and I am trying to breathe through
I have never been in Kevin's car before because I just met him today. I fled from the swampy
subways of July in New York City to visit Molly in San Francisco for the week. I am also taking
this trip because Molly is my best friend. I used to think putting the word best in front of the
word friend was too precious but in Molly's case I have no choice.
We are on our way to consume the first of many cheeseburgers to be eaten and cherished during my
visit. There is nothing noteworthy about this burger, it leaves no imprint in my mind and I forget
about it while I am eating it. On the way back to the car I picked up one of those Real Estate
catalogs. I still have it. I even brought it to school with me. I love it.
Now we are on our way to Oakland to their friend Bryan's house. They are still smoking cigarettes,
I have given up on trying to breathe through my eyes and have moved on to breathing through my ears.
When we arrived Bryan and I shared a brief reunion moment. I met him last month when Molly lingered
around the east coast after school let out. He stayed in Brooklyn for the first two weeks of June
and wore the same shirt for the entire duration of his stay.
Bryan is eating soggy spaghetti out of a pot on his front porch. I think he is also smoking a
cigarette, which means they are all smoking cigarettes. I tell myself that I need to find something
to do. I spot a skateboard under Bryan's mossy porch sofa and carefully rolled myself half a
block away from the house. I can't really take pride in my skateboarding abilities, someone
walking on the other side of the street was moving faster than me.
When I got back to the house they were still smoking cigarettes. It was time to start walking over
to the What Cheer show. What Cheer needs no introduction, you love them, or at least you have heard
of them. On our way over I take a picture of Bryan and Molly's backs.
We get to the house What Cheer is going to play in. Everyone there is hanging out in the back yard.
I feel like I am crashing a reunion for a punk circus that broke up because all of the members
wanted to disperse and wander through the country, collecting dust and dirt on their backs along the
way. By the way, there is a sofa in the backyard. This whole furniture outdoors thing is a foreign
concept to east coast people, I never see it in New York.
Molly and I move to the front porch. She opens my beer with her lighter. I like watching her do
things like this, simple actions that most people perform clumsily, Molly performs swiftly with
graceful expertise. She gets up to meet some of her friends on the corner. While she is walking down
the street I receive a phone call from a boy who is scheduled to break my heart in the next 2
months. But as I sit on the porch on the phone with him he doesn't let me know that this is going
What Cheer starts to play shortly after Molly and her friends return to the house. The entire band
is crammed along the perimeter of the living room of this house. A small swamp of people flail
around in the middle of the room. I am flailing too.
We walk back to Bryan's after our limbs feel too much like jello stuffed in mashed potatoes. It is
time to go to sleep. Molly sleeps in the living room with a bunch of people who I don't know and I
share Bryan's bed, which is encrusted with unidentifiable crumbs that nest in the crevices of the
exposed mattress. At nine the next morning Bryan shows me all the things he cares about on the
internet. His international earthquake tracking website, you tube videos of houses on fire and
photos of people screaming. This lasts for around two hours.
I have just documented the events of a twenty-four hour period. The remaining 106 hours of my stay
were rich with adventure and new people. San Francisco is a very special place. The air is different
out there, it's slower. Parts of Golden Gate park look like 700 year old tropical rain forests,
stepping into Chinatown makes you feel like you are walking into a time warp because there is no
evidence in any of the shops or streets of the junk which cluttered the past 15 years of pop
culture, and there is a very vibrant and active street art scene in the Mission that made me want to
take my shirt off in the middle of the street. Molly and I did all of the things that Molly and I
like to do. We like to pee in public restrooms together but we took it to the next level and peed in
the fanciest bathrooms in the fanciest hotels. We also peed off of a mountain; I think she was
smoking a cigarette.