A Tale of One City, Two Places

My New Year’s resolution to go on a high end spiritual acid trip is being delayed a bit as trying to procure the psychedelic substance is taking a bit longer than I anticipated; it will happen. In the interim period I continue to roam the streets via foot, bus and light rail transportation in search of the new American spirit. Things have certainly changed over the years, yet they remain the same in some ways, a testament to the psyche of our nation, our world.

I hop on board the light rail and head to the downtown streets of Denver, just east of the capital where the night life flourishes inside chic bars equipped to handle young urban socialites and their pockets full of money. Five and six dollar drinks for those without mortgages and previous marriages to pay for gathering to hear music and get a buzz on. I wander amongst them like a silent scout, no expensive drinks for me folks, I come equipped with my own medication. The buzz on their lips  is not gauged by political turmoil or civil unrest in our nation, they just want to get fucked up and fucked. It reminds me of the Reagan years when a vast majority of people lived by the credo ‘I don’t care about what’s happening in the world, just as long as I can pay my bills’. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, maybe I could now pay my bills. I hold no animosity or disgruntled feelings for these people. They’re young enough to have some free money and old enough to get in a bar; live the life, enjoy while you can.

After witnessing this crowd a while I stroll back west to embark upon the Occupy Denver protesters to see if they are still there. The last time I spied in on their encampment was New Year’s Eve and it was barren; everyone protesting must have taken the night off to party. I ventured into the small pimple of a group huddled on the corner, a mass of maybe twenty or so people, sitting in the mild temperature of a pleasant Colorado winter evening. The crowd’s more interesting characters included a guy playing guitar (fairly well), smoking cigarettes and drinking boxed milk, some girl with a nasty infectious cough trying to sell a puppy for cigarette money, a man who continued to rattle off conspiracy theories to anyone and no one listening and an black effeminate Krishna with a slight mental disorder; I can’t make this stuff up folks, I couldn’t dream up a finer batch of insanity. Plastic tarp cocoons riddled the sidewalk with dreary looking unbathed people crawling out to share smokes or grab something to eat from a grocery bag of donations. They’ve lost all focus or care about a political agenda, they are now a sub culture class among us. The political zombies that once thrived here gave birth to a new breed of mutants that have no apparent motive other than to exist. Quite scary.

I decide to leave this nest of carrion behind and head for my bus stop to take the ride back home. Once there I fell prey to a black out drunk girl, no more than twenty five at tops, staggering in that inter-dimensional world known only to the truly shitfaced. She teeterd back and forth while singing some foreign ditty known only to her, eyes rolling around in an effort to focus on the world beneath her feet. I was standing next to a couple with four children ranging in age from maybe one year to six, hard working folk who just wanted to make it home. The drunk girl staggers up to me and practically falls in my arms and begins stroking my hair. “Got a cigarette?” she asks. I tell her I don’t smoke cigarettes and this conversation repeats itself about six more times before she lifts herself out of my arms and wanders over to the mother. She points her finger at the youngest child who is in a stroller and bellows “you better behave yourself!” Naturally this sets the mother off. Mom pulls out a bike chain with lock attached to the end and starts wrapping it around her fist “I don’t take that drunk-ass shit around my kids” he tells the drunk girl and positions herself to get nasty about it. The father was getting pissed as well and urged his wife on. I on the other hand seemed to be the only one there who didn’t want bloodshed to occur, those young kids did not need to have the image of mom bitch fisting some drunk chick in their mind; they couldn’t afford the therapy to mend that mental image. Before a second thought I jumped between the tow women and began pushing, almost lifting the drunk girl back; my mistake. A momentary lapse of sobriety took over and she back off and slugged me in the jaw. I took the shot pretty well and the swelling went down pretty quick that evening but the incident left me a bit pissed off. The mother and father just stood their ground waiting to see if that girl would come back at them. Fortunately she just wandered up to the now approaching bus and managed to stagger on board.  I decided to wait for the next bus for fear she’d end up sitting next to me and following me back home wanting a ciarette.

One city, two places, only blocks apart geographically, light years apart socially. I venture to say most cities harbor a dichotomy similar to Denver, nothing unique in that. What continues to draw me to the streets is my thirst for true life out there. I get enough of the cyber world daily to pacify the psychosis our nations political pundits throw in our face. What I crave on a regular basis is the true taste of blood, the human drama not shown from an edited point of view. I hope to never lose touch with that experience and would suggest to more of you reading this to give it a try some time. Put down your Ipad and walk amongst the creatures that live between the lines. Taste the sweet air of real people and be thankful you’re alive.


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