Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quick and to the Pointless

I heard a marvelous song on SnakeNet Metal Radio Friday morning: “Sweet Dreams” by Probot, a side project of Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters. I hastened to Amazon to get the mp3, which doesn’t exist. I had to buy the entire CD (you can hear the studio version of the song on YouTube), and while I was at it, I looked at the “customers who bought this item also bought” and now own $50 worth of mp3s by Queens of the Stone Age—QOTSA to their true fans, like myself. I wish to be buried with QOTSA when the time comes. I never heard of them before. Why didn’t someone tell me?!

They’re a bunch of evidently straight guys, but decided that calling themselves queens instead of kings would be more welcoming to women. Some guy was thrown out of the band when there a rumor he’d physically abused his girlfriend. The bandleader told him, “If I ever find out that this is true, I can't know you.”

They have a song called “Quick and to the Pointless”! Their lyrics are bitter musings on the misery of romance (“find yourself another slave,” and so forth). Their music is fairly heavy, grinding and repetitive, and takes gorgeous and unexpected harmonic turns. Some of the singing is in a high register, lending a sweet feminine touch here and an overwrought one there.

Yesterday I went to meet C. for the Cesar Chavez parade and fair, to which I felt a vague connection, having spent the summer I was 10 picketing in front of an A&P store in Ann Arbor on behalf of the United Farm Workers.

We ran into a person we both know (Charlie), and as C. was talking to him, I glanced about and saw someone standing several feet away who looked quite like Ross Mirkarimi, recently elected San Francisco sheriff but now suspended due to allegations of domestic violence against his wife. When it was my turn to speak to Charlie, I whispered, “Who is that standing behind me?” He peered over my shoulder and said, “Gee! Looks like Ross Mirkarimi. Or could it be John Avalos?” John Avalos is on our Board of Supervisors. A Google image search confirms the two are similar in appearance.

Later C. and I encountered the same person at 24th St. and Mission, standing with a small group of people. C. drifted up to him and asked him who he was, and it actually was Ross Mirkarimi. I heard him on Forum the other day and it sent me into a rage. He sounded very self-justifying, and I also think it would have been the mature thing for him to step down rather than drag the whole city through this ordeal with him for however many weeks or months it’s going to be, but his ambitions evidently outweigh the preferences of the other 700,000 of us.

However, when I found myself so close to him, I had the impulse to touch him, the same way you’d want to touch Christopher Walken if he was next to you (right?), probably mainly so you could say later you had done so. I was trying to figure out how to achieve it—just, like, poke him in the shoulder with one finger?—when C. shook his hand, so I followed suit, and he thanked me. I have to say I could see the pain in his eyes.

I know he’s a suffering human being like the rest of us, trying to get his needs met in ways that are often clumsy or self-defeating, and that he has as much right as anyone to strive for happiness, but even beyond that, I felt a trace of sympathy for him for being in pain, even if he caused it himself, and also for now having to be a member of the club of men who hurt women, even if he very probably does belong in that club. For instance, in the few minutes we were standing near him, some guy demonstrated how he grabs his wife’s shoulder and how it isn’t a big deal. Cringe. Ross M. said, “Well, that is wrong, and it was wrong when I did it, too.” He must get to have that conversation ten times a day now. Some guy called into Forum saying something similar.

As for C. and I, I’m sorry to say that in the course of the day, it emerged that his inner child and mine are manifestly at cross purposes and we got into a huge fight. I should have listened to QOTSA! I mean, I did listen to them before leaving the house, as I now do all the time, but I did not comprehend and heed their message, which I think is that you’re better off in the garage practicing guitar rather than trying to blend your psychological pain with anyone else’s.
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