A Life from Years Ago

The year 2000, am I right?

It was a time. On a long life ruler that includes: being born and dying and the destruction of more species and the one time for ten seconds a butterfly landed on your finger and you called it Magic. It feels good to feel good. Let’s get more of that midnight snack.

People around me were making a lot of money. It seemed great. I remember watching Beth withdraw $100 from an ATM and I thought HOLY FUCK THAT IS SO COOL, I would like to achieve that level of casual around $100. I only withdrew $40 at a time. I had quit yet another job to go on tour. I needed work.

My girlfriend at the time worked for Macromedia. They paid her well. I was aware that making money was an option, and yet, I felt unclear how to gain access. I finally got a job at a web design company and, in true low-expectation form, I made $15/hr.

I was a copywriter. I don’t remember doing a good job, but I do remember caring about doing a good job. I learned a bit about designing a CSS and some basic HTML. At a time my friends were pulling in dough hand-over-fist, I made a babysitter’s wage.

The company I worked for rented a house in Potrero Hill to be our workspace. No one checked if it was zoned for working and then it wasn’t and the neighbors reported us. We were kicked out and the company folded. Because the money was drying up. My gf’s employer sent us to Las Vegas after she finished another Flash manual. They put us up at Treasure Island and bought us tickets to Siegfried and Roy and Cirque du Soleil. If I wasn’t young and combative it probably would have been more fun. I did pay $18 for a Siegfried and Roy coffee mug which I am drinking out of this second and should not have put in the dishwasher.

So I lost my job and panicked and lost sleep. Fret, fart, worry. My friend worked for a non-profit that needed a payroll lady, and I was hired. It was a very special time in San Francisco when all my friends were obsessed with cocaine and fucking each other. I chose not to get involved with that stuff because I knew I would go in way deep and never come back. My texts frequently went unanswered and I felt frustrated, alone and shut out from friendships I relied on before everyone doubled down on their drug and alcohol consumption.

My gf didn’t want to pay for everything and I didn’t want her to either. It caused stress in our relationship for her to shoulder the cost of all our sushi and other extraneous activities. Queer women are often profoundly uncomfortable with having mismatched resources, which I think doesn’t happen as much in straight relationships where men are understood to be more capable earners. Is that true or is this like when I try to describe what penises do?

My friend and her gf were selling coke to our boss and he was trolling for dates in Tijuana. He moved his boyfriend, his boyfriend’s wife and their four kids into the apartment under his in Santa Monica. They got a wonderful education in the USA. My friend’s mom was hired to be our boss’s assistant and so it was really all very intimate. My friend came to work ripped up and hungover almost every day, and it was hard to navigate her moody ups and downs. But I had a job getting people paid, taking out lines of credit for our boss’s rehab (same one as MK and Ashley) and his boyfriend’s (a lesser rehab). We also paid for the boyfriend’s family to go to Disneyland. I hope I see one of them write a memoir one day and I can read it and think, “I mailed the check for that.” More kids were born and they didn’t look like the first three. I salute that woman and her sacrifices.

Our boss had a fancy apartment with rented furniture in San Francisco. It all cost around $5000 a month and he was barely there. We were paying people the salary equivalent of $12/hr. and often paying them late, but our boss had oversized rented furniture from Cort, a downtown apartment and a membership at one of the fanciest athletic clubs in SF that we paid for. It was unnerving to be in such weird financial peril all the time. The people who hired us hated us but apparently, all the 22-y.o. recent college graduates who worked for us did great work and their spirits were not yet broken so the clients all got what they needed and stayed with us. Just like a marriage!

A woman named Sashamay was hired as our boss’s second assistant. Ugh he needed so much help!! She stowed bottles of booze in her desk and was a ripping 89 pounds wearing matching children’s clothing. She reminded me of my grandmother. She was diagnosed with Hep C and disappeared for several days. I was told to take a car to her apartment and find her. I climbed over the fence and found her apartment, then knocked and knocked until she answered. She was vague about her health and what support, if any, she wanted. My boss got her an appointment with his Freudian analyst in Marin, which was $300/hr. $350? I don’t remember. I was charged with driving her up there for her appointments. I remember the first time we got out of the car in Ross, a very wealthy and verdant community, she sniffed the air like a bunny and wondered aloud what they were spraying to make it smell so good. I wish I had pointed to a giant bottle of Shalimar but I pointed to all the plants and flowers and said I thought they were the cause. She didn’t believe me.

My friend eventually left the company and no one around there got sober. Apparently our boss became a BUDDHIST. Horrible. I gained a new boss who was very sure he was hiding his crystal habit, and you guys, he wasn’t. Our boss hired a VP he met in rehab who had a very big personality and even louder singing voice. He really let ‘er rip in the office, and from what I can tell, he heard a lot of “thank-you’s” that weren’t actually being said. All the high-up guys got along great in that way that narcissists do. You take the time to let the other person speak because THEN YOU GET TO!

Life was just a general bad feeling with occasional pizza and then my brother died. I had that stereotypical re-ordering of my priorities and was like FUCK THIS I’M OUT. My boss was really upset because he said he relied on me. Did he? Was I reliable? I was a really unhappy person. And I knew I wanted to get happy and I threw that shitty jerga from my shoulders and have never looked back.

I have to continue this later but you get the gist.

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