[ Free Me From This Bond (the sequel): Chapter 12 ]
I am so ashamed of the horrid condition of my room. But for the sake of gay posterity and imminent fame, I will now display my SRO in all its sordid glory. Starting with (click on any image below for a larger view):
The photo above is called “Desk #1,” which contains a bunch of books, computer paraphernalia (most of which I really should discard), fruit bowl, some Walgreens cookies and a cloth lamp with a rocket ship and stars that I purchased two years ago from a thrift store.
In case you don’t already know: my room was once elegant, impeccably neat, and airy. You may view its original pristine state here:
The reason why my room deteriorated so badly, was due to a most painful sabotage of a fine friendship with one homeless dude named Johnnie. Which you may read about in Chapter 14 (Angus Mac Og’s Bounty) in Book #1 (Free Me From This Bond).
To the immediate right of Desk #1 is Desk #2. Where I keep all my hats (including cold-weather stocking caps). Also spices, bandanas, old printouts (in those dusty drawers, when I still used an electric typewriter), and nonperishable food items (such as apple chips, Nutrasweet lemonade powder and a nice assortment of healthy teas).
Now this is interesting: the California flag was bequeathed to me by the Calif. Democratic Party, for all my dedicated work on behalf of struggling to get John Kerry into the White House by 2005. Ironically, it was his declaration in a presidential candidate debate that tanned my epidermis, when he emphatically stated:
“I was raised Catholic, and am therefore stolidly against gay marriage.”
Or something quite similar to that. Well, after all my hard work promoting the Democratic Party, I was so outraged that I turned my Democratic registration into “Independent.”
To the immediate left of my main desk (#3) is a white storage bin upon which rests my "ashtray": a simple shallow bowl with baking soda to snuff the foul scent of tobacco.
Further up is my second window, and my two ovens: a 750 watt microwave, and a Black & Decker "Infrawave" convection oven. Just to the left of these is my magnetic induction hot plate, which is the safest type of stove to use in an SRO…or any other place where it is used.
I can cook up a mean vegetarian meal with these implements, though of late (three or so years by now) I just purchase fast foods or frozen entrees to get me through the day. I am that burnt out.
This is Desk #3, where I do all my typing and Internet research. With just a humble netbook on the left, connected to a larger LCD screen just to the right. Below this desk and painted deep blue, are two large drawers: the topmost containing vital PC accessories, such as printer ink, DVD and CD discs, SD card adapter, and so on. Bottommost holds all my underwear (socks, boxer shorts and briefs, and white T-shirts).
Right above Desk #3 is a bulletin board with some of my earlier hand paintings, along with a poem written by darling Jay-Jay, who you may learn about at the following link:
To the left is my printer atop blue-painted file cabinets that I use to store summer shirts, shoes and sandals, and pajamas.
Higher up still you’ll see two paintings I created many years ago (1989 perhaps), both dedicated to my incredible Randolph Taylor. His face is in both the sun (left) and the moon (right). That’s me of course, floating up to greet him: the day version and the night version.
Painted with acrylic on old T-shirts that I first treated with a thick wash of clear acrylic. Those 3-D wings are also made of cloth, then painted over and shaped. The helmet-type headgear in both paintings is made of a dense layer of glitter.
Looking up at the ceiling from my computer station, you’ll see a paper umbrella purchased from Chinatown years and years ago. It covers a defunct overhead light fixture. Just to the right of it are storage boxes stashed in my loft.
Here’s a better view of the loft, built by a friend, Dean Montgomery, who died horribly from AIDS in 1986. Yes, I’ve lived in this crummy little hovel for a long time: since January 1, 1983 to be exact. (Can you believe it? I can’t!) There used to be wide, rectangular strips of gold cloth attached to the ceiling with velcro, that hid the loft contents from the eye.
Pantry, closet and sink area. Why visit the third world when you can hang out in my SRO for a lot less expense? I will say no more.
The scenic view beneath my sink. Eat your heart out, Ansel Adams! There’s a half-gallon plastic jug beside the wastebasket. Used to contain Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water. Now, it’s a third filled with urine from more than a year ago. Don’t ask me why I haven’t tossed it away yet, ’cause I don’t know either.
Okay, abutting the sink area is a plywood divider that I painted over and decorated with two of my whimsical gay rights decals. Immediately right of this is the door from which hangs my shaman jacket. Just above you can glimpse my unicorn painting, which is also the logo for my gay-bible.org web site.
Closeup of my gay rights decals, “Eat My Jockstrap, Homophobes” and “Don’t Tread On MOI.” Whee!
Above my door is the once-ugly transom that I finally painted over with acrylics and yarn, way back in 1994 or so. Turned out to be a strange day. Very hot (in the 90’s I think), and I was sweating in my little SRO box atop my aluminum ladder. While stroking blue, silver, red and yellow pigment across the old transom that has been nailed down for how many years, the Great Dragon only knows. Once the painting was complete (around 2 PM), I hopped on over to Cliff’s Fabrics and purchased a skein of white yarn.
Returning hovel, I decided to take a break and BART it to Berkeley. The yarn could wait till nightfall. After several hours enjoying Berkeley’s fine coffeehouses and residential streets graced w/countless cottages and luxuriant gardens, I returned to the nearest BART station to get back home. Lo and behold, all the trains had stopped running! Turns out a major blackout across California and neighboring states had shut down more than just BART. About two hours later everything was up and running again, but I got hovel rather late (post-midnight).
Had no idea my painting was so powerful!
My room is not just impossibly cluttered with material items, but with memories as well. Some of the handsomest, bravest and most passionate men have passed through my uber-humble domicile. As well as through my eager and talented hands!
Finally got rid of that ol’ stinky urine bottle. Gonna miss you my friend!