[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 2: Chapter 10]
[A deep dive into Zeke’s psyche, through the SRO (single room occupancy) he’s inhabited for over thirty-six years, which has naturally evolved into a projection of his innermost ponderings! 15 startling photographs and two stupendous videos that will change everything you think about the world, and how it functions! The reading and viewing of this blog entry will result in either a nervous breakdown or a nervous breakTHROUGH…but for anyone who proceeds without trepidation or a mind closed to the consideration of multiple realities, the rewards will be copious. All glory to the hypnotoad!]
I’ve been living in this single room since January 1st, 1984 here in the Castro District, San Francisco. Thanks to my Philly friend, Chuck, who moved in four years before I did, and got me in here, thanks to his benevolent reference. My residence is not in an SRO hotel, but in a bona-fide apartment building with mostly studios, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments…and is pet friendly. With three single rooms on each of three floors (first level being for businesses), and a shared restroom down one hallway just FOR those “bachelor,” one-room digs. It’s a very OLD building, erected in 1903 I believe. My “hovel” has deteriorated over the years, and seems ready to fall apart and cave in on me. Though there WAS a time (for around six years) when my dwelling was actually quite clean, attractive and comfortable. You can see that in my Skellington videos, as well as on my “Zeke’s Personal Hobbit Hole” page on my Gay Bible website.
I want to note here, patient reader, that I never DREAMED I’d be living in this dwelling (that I jokingly call “hovel sweet hovel”) for so, so long…I thought I’d reside here for around two, three, four years, or five at most! There were TWO building managers at the time: a couple of roly-poly, friendly bull dykes, Terry and Charlie. Who offered me a $25 monthly deduction from the advertised $250, if I moved in “as is,” in lieu of their spiffing it up for the next tenant. I certainly agreed, as I was eager to look for work without delay. As a result, the room was already deteriorating when I began my occupancy there, and so, after all these decades, it is now “The Monk’s Cell of Doom,” or in other words: in desperate need of an industrial overhaul. As for the dyke managers: they eventually absconded with all the renters’ payments about two years later, and were never seen or heard from again. And quickly replaced by their drug-dealing son and girlfriend, for a time. They were actually pretty good people, I might add…if you didn’t mind them running a meth lab in their apartment, or nailing the hallway windows shut during the cold, wintry weather (which, for San Franshitsco, is almost all year ’round).
Unfortunately, living on a disability stipend most of my life, I still can NOT afford to move elsewhere. But thank God for rent control, which has kept me off the streets and allowed me to develop my author skills! And now I share this tiny space with two, sweet little doggies…imagine that! But I believe it’s in the cards that I will very soon gain fame and moolah for my stories, which will finally enable me to rent a much larger space, fully equipped with not just a kitchen and bathroom, but a fine and private backyard, where the pooches can romp to their heart’s content. But before I get into descriptions and history of each part of this room (and certain items within it) allow me to point out that:
The inequities of this society against the poor and low income, regarding living spaces, are well documented, and this blog entry in no way addresses that, nor is it intended to reflect upon the building’s manager, Kevin Bond. For he is the BEST manager ever, and is not to blame for the egregious prejudices against our poor or disenfranchised citizens. Now, onto picture #1.
So here is my bed, actually a cot because it saves some space, which is good. Furthermore, the sporadic invasion of bedbugs has made a regular bed unfeasible, due to how difficult it is to treat. My building is of such an old-timey type as to be the most susceptible kind of structure for bedbug invasions. Myriad cracks and crevasses between walls and ceilings and floors, are nigh impossible to fully seal up without tearing half the building apart! Not having laundry facilities on the premises, also does not help…since they have proven to be a significant part of the arsenal in resisting these bugs in apartment buildings. It’s a super-wide camping cot that is collapsible, and supported by sturdy metal, jointed rods. There is a self-inflating camping mattress to add that special touch of comfort. And a self-inflating camping pillow, to boot…it’s that dark green puffy rectangle you can hardly notice. There is a little room beneath the cot for storage, including two plastic, blue milk crates, one of which is handy for setting a small, electric heater on, or, in summer, a sizeable standing electric fan. Also handy as a raised support for my portable washing machine (more about that later). Notice the black plastic drop cloth draped over the cot, with that mattress resting atop. And above the mattress are one or two children’s sleeping bags fully unzipped, and serve two purposes: doggie bedding for the pups, and human bedding for myself! Ah, such luxury, fit for a prince!
So here’s a corner of the room that my cot fits into, just to the right of the doorway. Those dripping, dark brown streaks are the detritus of bedbug feces, over many years’ repeated infestations. No point in scrubbing it off and repainting over it, ’cause I’ll just have to do it over and over and over again, two or three times a year. Besides, the walls are covered with ancient, buckling wallpaper that I’ve already covered with paint some time in the nineties. It may flake and fall off like autumn leaves if any more wet latex paint is applied to it. I suddenly feel sick; we should move on to the next pic.
This is the opposite end of the cot, right beside what I call my “work station” for want of a better term (such as “Duck Dodgers’ Star Ship Commander Console”). Atop the riser atop the colorful hexagonal cabinet, you’ll see my laptop (a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad X230 that I’ve enjoyed for almost four years now, with 8 GB RAM, and a 128 MB solid state drive), along with a rockin’ cup o’ java I got from Rosenberg’s just around the corner, and a folded paper towel right behind it. Out of sight are two external, USB connected hard drives: 500 GB and 1 TB. Which peripherals I use to back up all my data, as well as store scads of old-time movies and TV shows, podcasts and Youtube videos I have yet to watch. To the left is a very solid, heavyweight external LCD monitor, connected to the laptop for an extended experience. I snatched it from the back porch on my floor about two years ago. Very high quality, a gamer’s delight! (I’m not a gamer, though.) Residents often leave nice things there, for others to enjoy…or maybe they only do it for yours truly, which I kinda suspect. Beneath the monitor you’ll see a file cabinet that I painted over in dark blue, and which stores a second, older laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad X60s), some small digital gadgets I use from time to time, a couple of bags of USB cords, a roll of paper towels and toilet paper, scotch tape, scissors, small bag of rubber bands, duct tape, and a scad of other little but useful things too trivial to mention, such as paper clips.
Along the edge of the hexagonal cabinet is my Logitech cordless keyboard with touchpad. Very handy, especially for use like a remote control whenever I sit up in cot at night, to watch a movie or some videos, including original horror stories narrated by a soothing but spooky voice that may be male (sometimes with an Aussie accent that gives me a boner), may be female, or any gender noun in between or outside of that. Behind the keyboard and beneath the riser, is a camouflage bandanna used as a cover for the keyboard at night, if I’m not using it. Also serves to wipe up anything sticky or wet that may have been on my fingertips while typing. Out of sight because hidden by the crumpled bandanna are two righteous, old-school Logitech wired stereo speakers. And to the right but outside the picture, yet still beneath the riser, is my Chronic.net gateway box that glitters with tiny green squares of such a pleasant hue, they help me sleep at night. And finally: the cushioned, swivel office chair which needs no explanation; it speaks for itself. I just wish it would stop yapping it up once I hit the sack.
The hexagonal cabinet itself stores a spare, USB keyboard, a couple of still-sealed printer ink cartridges, two boxes of AA and AAA batteries, two spare USB mouses, a box of DVD discs, a computer toolkit, two folding bluetooth mini-keyboards for my android tablet, a zippered and cushioned sleeve for that same tablet, and a combination cable lock for when I’d take my laptop to a coffeehouse or library. There’s quite a lovely story about how I acquired that hand painted cabinet. Click here if you’re curious.
Here is a complete view of my entire work station…woo-hoo! Behind that and flush with my left window, is a dark gray Rubbermaid-like vertical cabinet, with two more on the left, one atop another. Which two cabinets house underwear; T-shirts; black crew socks (not the shortened kind that don’t even touch the ankle bone; I hate that) three straight-legged jeans dyed in dark coffee or black; a few Amazon Warehouse long-sleeved sweatshirts (one dark green, two maroon but one’s medium, the other large); a flat box of important papers and a few frivolous ones; some of Deek’s stuff he’s asked me to hold onto (just small items, but useful or nostalgic), divvied up between two, rectangular plastic bins purchased at a Chinese variety store in the Inner Sunset many years ago; a bag of various sized bungee cords (for when an ex might show up, I’ll be ready to strangle him); a couple of extra bath towels, folded and still unwrapped from their clear plastic shell provided by the sorely abused employees of Amazon.com; a colorful, mostly bright orange, partly crumpled thick plastic and sealed bag of Tide laundry soap pods; a pair of overly thick socks intended to keep your feet toasty warm at night, but too risky to walk around in due to the absence of protective soles; a long roll of thinnish-but-tough nylon cord with blue and white barber-pole-like stripes, that I use for various needs such as an emergency dog leash or temporary clothesline to hang my shirts, jackets, pants, underwear or what-not (just not heavy, dense or big things like thick coats, comforters, sleeping bags and mastodons) that just came out of the portable washing machine (which can’t HANDLE heavy items like those just mentioned); a small can of WD-40; several spare and empty plastic containers; and God only knows what the fuck else is in those two modular cabinets, I don’t wanna check right now.
Atop the single verticle cabinet by the window, you’ll see a turquoise plastic basket with a black handle that intentionally resembles a shopping basket only cuter, filled with things like: a large Ziploc baggie stuffed with clean bandannas of assorted design and color (originally purchased for robbing banks and holding up stagecoaches, but now come in quite handy for the pandemic), a smallish red cloth bag with floppy handles I found with 34 others left discarded on a sidewalk in a large, crisp Safeway paper bag, and which I use to carry my bathroom items such as soap (though I use liquid dish detergent because cheaper and well, soap is just soap and I have no hair on my head to fuss over), five-blade disposable razors that I make last till the bloody cows come home riddled with nicks (because any fewer blades just won’t do for a clean shave of my cranium while in the shower, not to mention manscaping), one fresh T-shirt and a pair of boxer briefs, and sometimes but not always, my SONY pocket transistor radio to make my morning ablution so much more fun than it already is…though it’s not really every morning, as I shower but two or three times a week. Also in the turquoise basket are a bunch of thick, white plastic reusable grocery bags that come in handy for collecting and returning Deek’s electronic devices, or delivering his next three-day supply of kibble and canned dog food…and a few other items that are essentially irrelevant.
Alongside the basket is a coffee mill I actually use to grind down seeds or nuts and mix them into my whole oatmeal breakfast after it’s been boiled to perfection (about eight minutes) because I hardly have any teeth left, thanks to Medi-Cal’s drastic cutbacks under Gov. Schwarzenegger’s watch, and which lasted until this year; behind that mill (and which you can’t see) is a delightful electric candle that glows a gentle, orange light and makes you think it’s Halloween every day, and which I move to my food prep area after dark (when the embedded chip turns the candle on at exactly 8:12 PM every day), which is the top of two storage bins on wheels to the immediate right. And just to the right of the coffee mill is a cheap, large, light-green bowl I use in the sink to wash dishes, utensils, and my bandannas.
Notice the elongated, transparent plastic case set across the cabinet top, upon which rest the basket, coffee mill, electric candle and bowl. It contains five Hawaiian style, warm-weather short-sleeved shirts which I rarely don because SF is usually so frickin’ cold, and a few other thin-cloth items which I doubt you’d care to hear about.
The vertical cabinet itself (the one right in front of the window) stores dry goods such as brown basmati rice; lentils; a large sack of commercially popped popcorn; boxes of bagged teas of various strains; a small, metallic lined bag of unsweetend dried pineapple slices that are now tough as nails between your teeth, and should have been tossed out four years ago; two plastic cereal containers, one harboring actual, real cereal (puffed whole grains without any sugar), and the other containing Akmak Crackers removed from their box, but still with the cellophane pouch they came in to keep things fresh (but no longer does that of course, because the top edge has been rent asunder).
In the foreground is my work station, again (already discussed above). To the window’s left is a vertical cabinet seated atop an identical one. That is the one that houses my underwear, etc. as described above. Atop that is a cheap, flexible plastic bowl that is used for compostible waste that I empty twice a week or so, into the compost bin in the basement. It is lined with a newspaper sheet, for easier cleaning of the bowl…and since paper is compostible, too, it’s all good. Right in front of the window is another vertical cabinet, which contents I’ve also described above, along with the items resting on top. To the right of that is storage bin #1, seated atop bin #2. More on that in a later image. This part of my hovel is also where the “bad” corner is located:
Notice I keep a basin beneath the radiator valve, because of a leak that’s been going on since, oh, five or so months ago. Which was SUPPOSED to be fixed a year earlier, but obviously was not. And, due to the pandemic’s safety protocols, I refuse to allow anyone to enter my room…especially since they already TRIED that a couple weeks AFTER the virus hit, but couldn’t get their act together enough to even FIND the plumber they were seeking. (By “they” I mean the building manager and our key maintenance worker, who’s been serving our apartment building’s needs for at LEAST twenty years…a really nice guy, by the way.) I prefer to hang out elsewhere, such as a coffeehouse, whenever a repair person (or people) or exterminator needs to access my dump of a unit. (Which I HATE to go through, as I’m ashamed of my room’s condition, along with the massive inconvenience it is for me, an activist author who RELIES on constant access to cyberspace…not to mention invasion of my privacy.)
But due to this pandemic, there is no longer a coffeehouse or other public place to go to for free Internet, so I hanged out OUTDOORS for almost two hours, not being able to get any work done. So you can imagine how PISSED I was, upon my return, only to discover they were STILL trying to track down this special plumber (who, I guess, was an “expert” on leaky radiator valves, or maybe offers very low, contractual rates, i.e. “under the counter.”) At that point, I admitted to myself I don’t TRUST sketchy workers to keep their masks on while lingering in my hovel for an hour or more…their breath totally permeating the entire space by that time; indeed, many times over. So I refuse to allow another attempt to repair the leak, until AFTER everyone’s vaccinated or whatever. Thus, I need to keep a receptacle in that corner, to catch the overspill…which I must empty THREE times each night! For if I don’t, it will leak through my floor and down to the entrance to the lobby. Which means a growing puddle of water smack-dab in the path of the front gate, where residents and delivery people come and go. And sometimes I DO forget, but the manager has never mentioned those occassional slip-ups (pun intended), nor has he ever pressured me to allow another attempt at repairs.
To make matters worse, hot steam is spewing from the valve, and it’s a VERY awkward, cramped space to access. For I must first pull the two, heavy, stacked storage bins rightward, then the cabinet…then I must carefully crouch down or get on one knee, to begin coaxing the basin from its tight space, careful not to spill any water, or get singed by the hot, spitting stream of droplets! While ALSO temporarily replacing the basin with a large, plastic bowl, to continue to catch the overspill. Then I must gingerly lift the weighty, sloshy container up from my crouched position while jammed between two cabinets–which do NOT allow me to hold the basin horizontally–and slowly turn around and proceed to carry it over to the sink, at the opposite end of the room. And, once I’m turned about, the basin is quite close to the back of my work station, from which hang a tangle of electric cords. So God help me if I ever slip and spill the basin, or even slightly slosh the water over! Furthermore, the pipes leading to the radiator were fitted with foam sleeves back in the early 90s, to reduce the excessive heat radiating from them (which I have painted over to match the walls). At this late date, those sleeves are ready to fall apart, and one of the basin’s top edges rubs up against the foam roll that is wrapped around a shorter, thinner lengthwise pipe…thus causing it to crumble with each passing day. This, in turn, causes extra heat to radiate and warm my room to uncomfortable levels. I don’t appreciate it, because I’m a cold weather person who prefers a chilly abode, especially at night because I sleep better. And I’m sure my new, canine roommates don’t appreciate it either, thanks to their furry coats.They sleep and rest on the softwood floor more often these days, as the worst of the winter cold begins to subside, while the unwelcome heat from the radiators lingers on, like an uninvited, drunken guest.
Almost smack-dab in the center are storage bins #1 and #2. Like the cabinets, they are also made of a heavy-duty, slightly rubberized plastic. They also have two orange wheels on the left side, and a large handle on the right, same color. Inside the bottom bin are spare laptop batteries, and other computer-related paraphernalia that have outserved their purpose, but may still come in useful for unexpected reasons. Maybe also some old, electronic gizmos and parts; I haven’t checked lately, and don’t care to now. The top bin stores extra clothing in large, sealed plastic bags: watch caps, shirts, sweaters, pants, underwear, jackets and so on.
Right below the lower left corner of that window, you can barely discern the Comcast cable outlet, which they NEVER HAD MY PERMISSION to install. Some time in the early 90s, residents received a flurry of offers by Comcast, to install their cable in our unit. I REFUSED to let them do that, yet they persisted over the weeks, with flyers hanging from our doorknobs, and even knocks on our doors by their representatives! You’d think Jehovah’s Witnesses were taking over! I made it clear to the building manager, Moishe Rosenberg, that in NO WAY should he allow them in my room…I do NOT want cable TV…and that solicitors are not ALLOWED to legally enter apartment buildings to leave flyers at our doors, let alone KNOCK on them! Nonetheless, I came home one day to discover the cable had been installed against my will. Fuck you, Mr. Rosenberg!
In the corner on the right is another file cabinet: it’s white, and you can only glimpse its topmost corner almost flush against the window sill. Inside the cabinet are kitchen appliances such as a an electric food chopper, blending wand, Belgian waffle maker, small muffin pans, baking sheets and several other sundry, cooking related items. In the top shelf I also keep my coins divided into two containers: one for just quarters (laundry money), the other for all the lower denominations. I let the latter container add up until I decide it’s time to spend it all down, and use them each day for my morning coffee purchase until I run out. I got into the habit of spending down small change over 23 years ago, thanks to a tip from a waitron who worked at a now-defunct coffeehouse in the Castro, called “Without Reservation.” His name was Chuck, and I remarked to him one day, how my change is piling up, and it’s hard to get rid of. So he told me what he does, and so it’s what I also do, ever since he passed on from a horrid fungus in his brain as a result of AIDS. It’s my way of remembering and honoring him, even though we were NOT close friends, or even friends at all, other than seeing him, and schmoozing with him, across the counter.
You can’t see it, but seated atop that white file cabinet is a magnetic induction stovetop cooker that I purchased from Amazon. They are much safer to use than a standard hotplate, because no real fire hazard, and they cook cooler and better, taking only two-thirds of the time to fully cook something, compared to old-school hotplates. So safe, you can even place a paper towel between pan and cooker, and it won’t even be singed. I cook whole oatmeal with it, as well as a vegan style vegetable stew with lentils and brown rice…enough for three days of wholesome dinners. One stipulation, though: you can only cook with magnetized stainless steel pots and pans. But you don’t need to buy pricey, magnetic versions that are offered by shops just for these kinds of stovetop cookers. You can just go to a thrift store with a little magnet in your pocket, and test whether or not a stainless steel pot or pan is magnetic, with it. In case you don’t know: some stainless steel pots and pans are NOT magnetic, and some are. (Upon writing this paragraph I grew curious as to exactly WHY some stainless steels are magnetic, and others not. And discovered this page, that explains it perfectly clearly for those with an IQ over 200. Surely, that includes YOU, sweet reader!)
To the right of that file cabinet, and higher up, are my microwave oven and an elegant, oversized toaster oven that also bakes, grills and broils quite well. They are seated atop another file cabinet, also painted blue like the one beside my work station. It contains rolls of aluminum foil, wax paper, bags of clean rags, an assortment of boxes of plastic bags of all sizes: from large, 30-gallon black garbage bags and smaller, white kitchen trash bags, to Ziploc freezer and sandwich bags. In the foreground on the right side, is a corner of storage bin #3, to be discussed in the next image. Please note the condition of the floor: despicable! You’ll see a close-up of it in the video tour at the end of this blog entry.
And to the right of THAT blue file cabinet is yet another identically painted cabinet that you CAN’T see, which houses my sneakers, boots, slippers, and floppies footwear (for when I go to the shower, or just laze around in my hovel, when the weather’s not cold). Set atop this cabinet is a triple-tiered, mesh wire stand with sliding shelves. They store boxes of different teas on the bottom, a large jar of raw honey and assorted condiments in the middle, and a hand of bananas, a bulb of garlic, and a small, wire tray with packets of Sweet N’ Low and a handful of unopened tea bags, right on the very top.
Here’s bin #3, seated upon #4. On the left side is my android tablet, which I use mostly for a clock, radio and podcast player. However, before the pandemic hit, it was my go-to for public wi-fi use at this or that coffeehouse. A couple of open desktop containers, one orange, one blue, that hold small items such as sunglasses, wallet, pocket transistor radio, a roll of doggie poop bags, foldable reading glasses, some recent letters from Medi-Cal and occassionally, Medicare and/or Social Security, a hardcover book titled “Midnight in Samarra” (coauthored by my cyber muse, ally and confidante, Eleanor Cooney, a most brilliant author in her own right), an LED gooseneck lamp that I got from a bargain Chinese-run variety store, DSL land line phone behind the tablet, and several other irrelevant items not discernible in this photo. Above these bins and hanging from the wall are (from left to right); a stained glass Hindu peace manadala, an elegant dream catcher (both of which I discovered at the same Goodwill in the Inner Sunset, some years back) and a set of bluetooth ear buds, which for some reason I don’t use any more.
The top and bottom bins contain computer and electronic related items, such as two different printers (one is also a scanner and fax machine), a few bags of USB cords, regular extension and printer cords, and God only knows what else; I’m too lazy to check. That wall, BTW, is actually a reclaimed door that’s part of a small loft my friend, Dean Montgomery, put together with his excellent carpentry skills. There’s another door facing the window, that has a frosted glass pane to allow light to pass through beneath the loft (which section is sort of an open closet that stores the refrigerator on the window-facing side, plus has a wall-mounted, long shelf that is almost seven feet in length, which Dean also installed). The loft itself is made of a sturdy, thick sheet of plywood, and is quite solid and stable…IOW, made to last. It was built years ago, around 1984 (with permission of the building manager) shortly after I moved in. Dean has since died agonizingly from AIDS about two years later. But the loft is here to stay, along with his spirit. I originally intended the loft to be my sleeping pad, which would allow more floor space for this 12-by-12 foot cubicle. But as it turned out, it got too warm up there to be practical, so it’s now a handy storage area.
You can see part of the loft, now, how it extends beyond the reclaimed door by around ten inches. There is nothing of interest stored up there, but for one thing: a box load of papers having to do with Randolph Louis Taylor…for whom I published a book about him, called “Free Me From This Bond.” (Actually, it’s about TWO heroes in my life, but that’s not pertinent in the context of this blog entry.) He was this incredible and handsome fellow I met in the Castro, way way back in 1984. Turns out he was a Vietnam Veteran, anti-war activist, former SFPD cop, and a gay activist, all rolled into one! And recently famous for fasting for forty days earlier that year, on behalf of Nam Vets, that they have representation at the 1984 SF Democratic Convention. None of this I knew until he informed me by playing a videotape of some of the news footage around his fast, in his flat on Castro Street, halfway up the hill towards Noe Valley. (I always get the weirdest dates!) At that time in my life, I had intentionally stopped watching or listening to the news, in order to deal with personal matters and interests…thus, my ignorance about who he was.
I only knew him for a few months before he departed for the east coast in late December of that same year. Then, on January 16, 1985, it was on the front pages of the mainstream news, and the top story of major news networks everywhere: he had shot himself in front of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., and survived! Eventually, I was able to fly out to the veterans hospital there, and visit with him every day for three amazing but painful weeks. Upon my return to San Francisco, I drummed up renewed interest for his cause, which resulted in my receiving over thirty-five personal letters of support, which I have saved to this very day. Many of them were military people themselves, but some were just decent folks who really care about our veterans, and were deeply moved by his astounding fast. That’s what’s in the box, as well as correspondence with Senator Alan Cranston and other high-up politicians, plus a letter from then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell. Plus, of course, dozens of letters between myself and Randolph. And many newspaper articles relating to his fast, and his suicide attempt. Click here to view a web page within my Gay Bible site, that is dedicated to this sterling warrior for peace and justice.
To the right of that door is the recessed area created by the loft’s installation. You can see a bit of the top part of the refrigerator, and one of the doggies’ jackets hanging from a clothesline. I had just washed their jackets with my portable washing machine, and hanged them to dry. Behind that jacket is the long shelf Dean had also built for me.
Now you can see the right side of the loft, with storage boxes and containers stashed therein. Below that are the doggie’s jackets hung out to dry, the original closet on the right, and the dish rack set on a smaller shelf extending from the closet’s own shelf that was there before I moved in. On the rightmost part of the photo is the medicine cabinet…big whoop. Half the bottles contain very old vitamin and herbal supplements, which I haven’t touched for at least two years. Same for the bottles of ibuprofen, acetaminophen, tea tree oil, clove oil, and cans of shaving cream, anti-fungus spray, Biofreeze joint and muscle pain releiver. But on the topmost, right edge sits a very new addition: a box containing a bottle of “Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa – herbal dietary supplement with honey and locust” that my gay activist ally, Carlyle Lambourne, insisted on sending me (even against my wishes; I discouraged him as much as is humanly possible) two weeks ago, because he claims it might be beneficial for staving off “the COVID.” I don’t see how, though…just looks like a HUGE sugar rush to me! So I looked it up, to learn most people in China use it for sore throats, coughs, and as a yummy syrup over ice cream, or as a sweetener for tea and other drinks, including alcoholic beverages. Some have also used it for fake blood on Halloween. “Well,” I’m now thinking, “THAT bottle’s gonna be sitting on that shelf gathering dust for a LONG, long time…way beyond the end phase of this pandemic, and maybe even into the next Ice Age!”
But I know what you’re thinking about all those outdated bottles and cans: “Why doesn’t he just get rid of them?” But this is neither the place nor the time to delve into such an esoteric mystery; so you’ll just have to let it go for now.
This is the lower part of the open closet created by the loft installation. Refrigerator, dish tray, laundry hamper, large backpack. Zzzz-zzzzzz.
This is my portable washing machine, and a plastic tarp set up to catch any slosh or spills. You can learn more about this amazing invention if you click here…includes not one, but TWO action packed, nifty little videos!
The sink and wastebasket. Not very inspiring, so let’s move on. Wait a minute: see that round container on the leftmost corner of the sink? That’s my pee jar. Who wants to get up late at night to wander down a brightly lit hallway in order to use the restroom? That really kills your sleep mode! Also useful whenever someone ELSE is using the loo, and ya just can’t wait. What about pooping, you may ask? When it’s urgent and the water closet is currently occupied, I remove the contents of the wastebasket, and replace it with a fresh plastic bag, line it with a large sheet of newspaper, then take a dump! I have a small, water-filled bowl close by, and dip a wad of toilet paper in it for my second wipe. First and third wipes are dry. Then I seal up the bag and dispose of it outside, in a city trash bin nearby. Easy peasy. But ask me this: what do the OTHER residents who share the toilet, do, under the same circumstance? I shudder to conjecture. Maybe one of them will post his answer in the comment section below. Be that as it may, I feel sorry for any vagrant who rummages through that bin! TMI? Sorry!
Just can’t get enough of that medicine cabinet, can we?
The door. Smaller backpack. Keys on a pink shoelace that I loop from my belt…pink, so that everyone will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I’m one hundred percent gay, no two ways about it.
One day I decided I’m sick of that ugly, nailed-shut transom of dark, grimy yellow glass, so I bought a T-shirt with a horse on it, some tubes of acrylic artist’s paint (and a small skein of white yarn for the mane and tail)…then cut the horse part out of the T-shirt, glued it to the transom, and began the transformation! I created the circle for the sun by drawing with a felt-tip pen around a dinner plate. Once I finished the painting, but still had to attach cut-up pieces of yarn to it, to achieve a 3-D, tactile effect for the tail and mane…the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. Ah, the power of true artistry! Even painting by numbers will do it, if ya gots da mojo!
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the silver unicorn below the horse. That was carefully hand painted on an old, white T-shirt by yours truly (no cheating with pasting on an image first). It eventually became the logo for my Gay Bible website.
My unit has two windows facing south over Market Street, near the corner of 16th Street, here in the Castro. This is the view across the way. Drab I know, especially in the middle of a pandemic, but it is what it is. Just not very GAY if you ask me!
And finally, a video tour of my less-than-elegant-but-home-is-where-the-dogs-are domicile. Brace yourself, darlin’…it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!
BONUS VIDEO: radiator leak during the pandemic