Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").
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post industrial tussin trip to the Rivanna River
Saturday, March 8 1997
Thing to say today: kidneys can only do so much, thus piss can only be so bad.It was a remarkable phone-free shift at Comet, which was good because I had a rather noticeable hangover. It had more of a mental effect than a physical effect. I was still a competant worker, earning every nickle of my $6/hour. For example, when a suspect modem failed to answer customer calls, I tried calling all suspect modems in the modem pool. The problem was apparently an intermittant one, however, since I was unable to find the faulty modem.
Monster Boy came and visited me later in my shift and I set him up with an email account: email@example.com. Send him mail and liven up his new mailbox! God knows I get enough email already, but there was a time when I would have liked more mail from strangers. Jessika, by the way, has told me and today Monster Boy confirmed that he is a trained computer graphics artist. It seems he knows all about Photoshop and all the other tools of the trade. He only needs another semester and he'll even have a bachelor's degree! It's strange that this has never once cropped up in conversation. My guess is that we both avoid the subject so as to avoid boring others who may be present.
Suddenly came the arrival of Sara, Jessika and Bri-Bri in Bri-Bri's jeep. They'd already purchased their tussin. Sara's came with little red cherries on the bottle. It was called "Chericol" or something like that.
We, with the exception of Bri-Bri, Leticia and Jessika, smoked some extremely leafy pot. Cecelia had found a bag of pot leaves somewhere. The smoke from that stuff was harsh, but in concert with my hangover, it left me feeling different.
I continued feeling different as I drove all seven of us to the Barrack's Road shopping center so we could get tussin. Typical of my experience of being high on pot in public places, I felt like everyone, all the normal "straight" people, that is, were staring at us as we strutted into the Kroger. We didn't buy anything there; the tussin there is a little too expensive. At CVS I bought a big 12 ounce bottle of the usual recipe stuff: 10 mg of Dextromethorphan and 100 mg of Guaifenesin per "serving."
Back at my house, most of us drank our tussin while Sara and Bri-Bri went off to score some food on the Corner. I felt miserable after I downed my six ounces, but Elizabeth handed me a fireball which made me forget the dreadful experience.
Elizabeth had a terrible cold last week and took the opportunity to quit smoking. She has lots to say these days about not smoking. She says she feels bored all the time and wonders what to do with her hands. She says now she pays much more attention to people in conversations and reacts quickly to affronts. She says she also drives much more aggressively. She's been eating fireballs as a substitute oral fixation. She does not want to go on the patch because of what she's seen it do to the skins of her friends. If she manages to quit smoking, our house will finally be mostly non-smoking: Andrew, Penley, Elizabeth, and myself. Last semester, even Andrew smoked. Especially Andrew. It was hard to breathe sometimes; no doubt you recall my complaints from that period.Bri-Bri had a unique form of tussin that had a completely unfamiliar and refreshingly untussinlike aroma and an almost clear colour. It looked almost natural compared to the usual tussin faire. I felt rather jealous of his choice of tussin, the name of which I failed to note.
When the tussin did kick in, I was thrown through something I can only call tussin-induced emotional turbulence. I went from brief flashes of feeling emotionally dead to being fearful for my life and of my position in the world. It was terribly frightening. I wondered why I had done tussin at all. I found myself sitting out on the couch on the front porch of the Dynashack beside Sara, unable to move, shivering in waves. Sara seemed to be seeking me out for companionship the whole evening, always wanting to sit next to me and occasionally hitting me at the slightest pretext. Perhaps she was reliving the early days of Big Fun when she, Jessika and I formed an extremely exclusive subclique called "the Grand Air Trine." It felt like those days again. And that thought was comforting through the emotional turbulence, even if Sara, what with her vitriol and coldly constant prodding at uncomfortable subjects, is not the most comforting presence I can think of.
When the others returned from the Horrid Crash Pad, Jessika was concerned that we were experiencing "the anti-tussin," meaning a bad tussin trip. It certainly felt that way. I could barely move and I felt nauseated. But I was able to excercise enough psychic control to avoid puking. Monster Boy was not so lucky; the tussin pills he'd consumed were soon on display for all to see. His puking severely weakened his tussin experience this evening. He has a weak stomach and definitely cannot drink the syrup like the rest of us can. But now we know even pills are a bit too much for him.
Things improved for me enormously once we started walking. Gone now were the plans to travel to Big Fun for a Big Fun reunion. No one was capable of driving, and unlike drunks, we knew it. We went east on Wertland and turned the corner north on 10th and continued east on Main. As we crossed the new bridge over the railroad tracks, we stopped to watch the surreal display of dispassionate pedestrians walking down the sidewalk that runs parallel to the tracks. They were like the cool vacationeers in a painting by Seaurat. I fancied that they marching like lemmings to slowly disappear over a precipice in the foggy distance down the tracks to the south.
While we marveled at this vision an older black gentleman joined us for a moment. Strangers never join you unless they want something. This gentleman wanted our salvation. He said something about Jesus as he departed. With out spikes (even Jessika wore a spiked collar) and mostly black clothes, he either thought we were on a mission to worship the devil or else we were about to commit mass suicide. Below, an Amtrack Train sucked up the pedestrians as if by osmosis.
We encountered Sean the Aquarius, the would-be goth dude who works behind the scenes at Millers and who once worked at the Rising Sun Bakery. He had a new girlfriend with him, and she too seemed somewhat gothic. But it's a different kind of gothic. It's a more working-class, less intellectual version, if that can be imagined, even though all the goths I know work as dishwashers. Well, Sean made the comment about us being goths, and that was a real mistake. Goths may think of themselves as goths, but it is an insult to throw a blanket of stereotype over a group of people to their face. It's like greeting a bunch of afro-americans with a statement that refers to their race. It just isn't done. Of course, in these musings, just so you'll know what's going on, I have to pigeonhole people into categories all the time. It's unpleasant but unavoidable.
So anyway, Sara Poiron chewed out poor Sean while the others denied their gothhood. It was an awkward social moment. This awkwardness was intensified by tussin.
Then we were all walking by Gallery Neo on 2nd Street and we happened to notice the mosaic-covered sculptures mentioned in yesterday's entry (the ones by Susan Bacik). We stood and looked at them in amazement. Jessika particularly was impressed (she went on to recall the exact text of one of the slogans incorporated in the tiles the next day). While we were standing and staring and nervously rapping on the glass with spikes or rings, Lydia, proprietor of the establishment, appeared. She regarded our ensemble nervously.
We continued on to Matthew S. Farrell's apartment in the Altamont. It's a wacky place, sort of stuck in the 1920s, really. The Brazilian Girls had never been there, and they found it entriguing, but even for them it was weird. I was tussing almost out of my mind at this point and was a little paranoid. But something about Sara's continuously poking presence next to me gave me a sort of hauty confidence. I told Farrell to play us music, and he put on some National Wrecking Company, a band that Shira used to play in her car (Cheap Wheels) during the middle phase of Big Fun. To make it sound more like Cheap Wheels, I told Farrell to turn up the bass. In Shira's car, you see, the tape player played almost exclusively bass.
It was a fairly uncomfortable experience at Farrell's apartment, really. It lacked something. Maybe it was the history of hearts broken and left to crumble that destroyed the ambiance. Maybe it was just the tussin. But in any case, I was very pleased when motivation struck us to move on. As some sort of consolation prize, Farrell gave Jessika a bottle of vino and a 12 ounce bottle of generic tussin. Jessika was perplexed by this gesture, but her Taurus Rising accepted without complaint.
The mission had now become one of walking to the desolate remains of the factory down on the Rivanna, the same factory described in detail in the February 28th entry. This was going to be a long walk, and repeatedly the cry went up that we should turn around and walk back to my place to get a car. But every time such a cry went up, it was nixed by a combination of our inertia and the vehemence of Jessika that walking was perfectly fine. After all, we were on tussin. And tussin and walking go hand in hand.
It was a little past 11pm, and we knew the tussin was going to start slacking at some point. So we went into the Lucky Seven on Market Street near the east end of the Downtown Mall and purchased a variety of alcohol, including a six of Mickey's Big Mouths and a bottle of cheap red Catawba "wine."
The walk to the end of Market Street seemed to take forever. But at long last we were there. First we went to the weird concrete building that stands across from the row of gothic revival houses. I hadn't noticed this before, but tonight I saw that it too was the remains of a small factory; beside it looms a large smokestack which presented a ghostly silhouette in the clear air of this March night. The same pregnant yellow cat came and joined us as we sat talking in tussin-numbed euphoria, drinking out alcohol and enjoying our freedom. By the way, Comet Hale-Bopp is supposedly gracing the skies these days, and despite the clarity of the sky, we could not see it; it was too early.
We continued down the railroad track to the other, more sublime factory on the shore of the Rivannah. Again I sat in front of the doors and thought about all that had come and gone within in its vital days. Meanwhile, Jessika (whose interest had been piqued by the Feb. 28th musings) explored within with Cecelia. She had a flashlight to assist her. At some point Cecelia tried to take a step onto a nonexistant rung on a metal staircase and took a horrible fall. But for some reason, instead of being killed (as it appeared she should have), she endured only minor scratches and bruises. Witnesses said that she just seemed to float as she fell, in complete tussin-induced contradiction of physical laws.
The air was still and hung in different layers, the coldest being hard against the Rivanna. Eventually this cold, along with the strong stench of river-borne sewage, was the motivation for our departure.
Of course, in my state, I contributed my own share to silliness. The walk was so long that it seemed we would never get back to my house. I took to taking one step after another, each as a goal in its own right. I jokingly labeled this process "taking another step for Jesus" and began singing a song to that effect. Sara picked up on this right away and together we started singing a little mindless song about taking another stepo for Jesus.
Cecelia found a fairly substantial downed and vaguely purple tree limb. Since purple is one of her favourite colours, she started dragging it back to my house. That in and of itself was a pretty crazy sight to behold.
We hung out for awhile in the Dynashack Living room, continuing to drink and also smoking some more of Cecelia's harsh marijuana leaves. Jessika looked for all the world like she'd lost her mind. At a certain point Sara Poiron mentioned how nice it was that we still didn't have to walk back from the factory. To this I responded that if this was instead a Kafka Novel, we certainly would be plucked up this very moment and set back at the factory to begin our walk again. "I hate Kafka" was Sara's reply. All but the Brazilian Girls departed for home. Cecelia and I smoked yet more pot and then Leticia called home and her parents came to get her. I went off to bed. It had been a particularly long day.
Read some more tales of tussin.
Read some more tales of tussin.
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