Friday July 26, 2002

Under the overpasses of West Oakland. Tuesday night. I had opened the shutter on her Sinar and gone on about my business, futzing with other cameras, when suddenly Lyndsey screamed something like, "Oh my god, the fucking train's moving! You lucky bastard".

Thursday July 18, 2002

primco: i'm supposed to come up with a word for "lovingly sarcastic" today. that's what jennifer charged me with. can you help? is there such a word?
primco: master of english?
rosegabaeff: Lovingly sarcastic.
rosegabaeff: ? hmmmm.
rosegabaeff: let me think about it.
primco: wouldn't it be handy?
primco: then you could type it as a way to clarify your email
rosegabaeff: yeah-
primco: email is always somehow crippled because it can't be lovingly sarcastic
rosegabaeff: there is always tone slips in email- especially in regards to loving sarcasm.

Tuesday July 16, 2002

There are so many stairwells to take pictures of in chinatown. With a 4x5 view camera you can get the entire set of stairs to line up along the focus plane. You can also mess with how the lines of perspective converge. I can't do any of that but I'd like to learn.

Saturday July 13, 2002

I decided I wanted it crooked. Chinatown is my new favorite place to take night pictures.

Saturday July 6, 2002

I have a new friend named Lyndsey Hawkins and we are gonna take photographs together. She likes to take night photos. She has 2 big 4x5 cameras. We have to work on our Scheimpflug Principle but I think we'll get there. We have dual credit for this photo. I chose the lighting but she chose the subject and showed me how to do it. We'll have to figure out who's pictures are who's because we're gonna make some good ones and people are gonna ask.

Tuesday July 2, 2002

We went to Los Jarritos (since Chava’s burned down, they’re accepting all former Chava’s clients) and I thought we could share dinner since she only had 12 bucks. I didn’t think she’d pay for food but I also didn’t want to pay for her stuff. Sharing seemed OK. I figured I should have some editorial distance. I’m just making that up because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do but I was pretty sure I didn’t want to do anything but record her story. I mean, you’re just supposed to get the story right? I want this girl to feel the true pain of homelessness and subsidizing her would blow my juicy story. (I’m fucking kidding, ok?) When I mentioned that I couldn’t possibly eat a whole diner she said “I hardly eat. No, really.” and she ordered a milk.

I wanted to know why she felt so comfortable going out alone into the San Francisco night. I wanted to know if being a proto-social worker made her look at that lifestyle differently. I wanted to know if she was really fucked or if she was just playing.

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What happened was, I was watching my sister Ariel all week, who’s 11, because she didn’t want to go to summer camp this year. She splits time between my mom and my dad, and she had all this dirty laundry and Linda, my dad’s girlfriend comes down the stairs as she was leaving and says to me “You have to do that laundry” and it wasn’t really in an evil way or anything, just, you have to do the laundry and I was like, ok, whatever. And keep in mind that she irritates me in the first place and has been irritating me ever since she came into the picture eight months ago.

So my dad called later and he asked me what I was going to be doing that day and I said “I’ll be going to a movie, and hanging out with my little sister, but that’s later.” and he said, “What are you gonna do this morning?” and I said, “well, Linda made a big point of me doing Ariel’s laundry before she walked out the door” and he FLIPPED. He just gets so defensive whenever anything with Linda happens. See, he wants us all to just be a big happy family it’s just not going to work like that. And he says, “I do the laundry when I come home” and I said I already was doing it and that’s not the point. I didn’t mean it in a derogatory way and he just got totally defensive was like, “You know you have to respect her” and I think he’s confusing the idea of respecting her with liking her.

I was like, “You just crossed the line and totally overreacted” and we hung up and twenty minutes later he walked in the door and he said he wanted to talk to me about it and I was like, “I’m not gonna talk to you right now. I will talk to you later about it but not right now when you’re in this mood.” (we’ve been through years of therapy together to take us to this point where we can say this to each other and not, like, give each other a black eyes) and I was like, “I’m done” but then he followed me into the other room because he’s not done until he’s done and I was like, “I’m leavin” and I left. I was like, “I’m tired of being put second place to your girlfriend”, ‘Cause me and Ariel were talking about it that day during lunch. We get blamed for everything; it doesn’t matter if Linda couldn’t have possibly done it. It’s automatically either me or Ariel. And I was like, you know what, I’m cool, I’m out. Too much drama.

Monday July 1, 2002

Zoe Bott is a 17 year old girl who works at the place I do. She does telephone support and referrals for young people. She’s been trained to use “active listening skills” to provide peer-to-peer counseling and give information to callers about youth programs and services. Last Friday night during her shift she told people in the office that she had run away from home.

I was in the room, designing a database application to record the statistics of the street outreach efforts of the organization, and I was just eavesdropping but the basic gist of it was that Zoe wasn’t too worried about it. I thought of all the messed up stuff I’d experienced on the streets in SF and I was afraid for Zoe for a second. Did she really know enough about the situation to justify not being afraid? The tone of her voice seemed to be too confident – like she was the perfect candidate to have her romantic adolescent scheme shattered by some sagely TOUGHLOVE. She spoke of sleeping in tunnels and shelters and couch-surfing. Her fellow peer counselors on that shift seemed kind of stunned. What to do when someone who gives support to runaways decides to become one? Chris asked her where she was going to go and she said hadn’t figured that out yet.

I started to think of that film Dark Days. I thought of an ex-girIfriend who is permanently damaged from her days as teen tweaker. I remembered when I learned that when you go see the crack dealer, it aint like the pot dealer. You just smoke right there with him out of his pipe. You don’t buy a sack and then go home. You do it in a doorway on the street. He’s not like some stoner geek trying to make friends. Crack dealers look like they’ve had their eyes punched out. To me, couch-surfing is a wholesome, exploratory stage most college-age kids go through. Hustling just plain sucks. All I said to her that night was “take care” as she was leaving.

I was telling a Adam about it how remarkably plain-spoken and forthright she was, and the irony of her situation and he suggested I write a story about her (he's managing editor at Wired). I emailed her and asked if I could put it on my website and she agreed to it the next day.

I talked with her last night and I'm gonna write about that here.