Milkshakes, Apple Pie and Japanese Prison Camps


Today I felt splendid. I just finished the last mixes of my record ‘Scale’. Most of the morning and afternoon were spent getting things ready to crank the handle for duplication……along with sessions by Rashinal for another project called ‘The Elements’. I’ve been walking around breaking into smiles and feeling moderately euphoric. I’m sure it must be pissing people off.

Before you know it time had rolled around to 1:30am and I decided to get my any-reason-to-celebrate ‘sweet attack’ at a local 24hr cafe. I sweep in – my favourite crazy waitress is on with her flirty banter that revolves around ‘why are you giving me such trouble’ and then slipping you a cheeky smile. There is another waitress in the cafe, and older oriental woman that I really like too but she has a more Zen like glide and harmony to her than tonights girl who is sassy and loud.

I get a chocolate milk shake and apple pie. Godammit. I dig the American thing where they give you the metal container along with the glass. It’s so ‘Back to the Future’ish to me.

anyway – I’m having my sweet overdose and listening to the conversations going on. There’s a looney tune woman listening to the drunk at the counter. The drunk is proclaiming to be an intellectual and he keeps asking people, very loudly, if they have read some book or other. He then starts hassling a Japanese girl with Japanese and English questions. The girl is studying for her exams and she looks visibly shaken. He sees me staring at him with my best ‘I’ll kick yer ass’ expression and then luckily turns his attention towards me. You’re a jew aren’t you? he says. I smile at him for a bit – he thinks I’m American (whatever that looks like??) and bumbles over and says he was in a japanese camp and that I look like Bob Dylan now that he gets close up. I had to amit his patter was flowing.

He asks me if I’ve read some book or other as part of his mantra for the night and then I speak for the first time to him asking him, in an accentuated Scottish accent, ‘How many books do you think have been written. I’ve swallowed thousands of books and it still doesn’t leave a mark on the total count. Don’t you know the futility of this comparison bullshit?’. I could see my waitress was digging it and she was peering up under her cap slightly to look. Like most drunks revved up to monologue he wasn’t really listening.

I’ve been in Japanese prison camps you know he said. I said to him that that girl is no more responsible for the lineage that put you in gaol than I am for the devil seed of a president you have. Leave her alone. I was feeling fucking invincible today and I was all for a malted showdown with the fella and his sweaty brow.

My waitress choked.

Luckily the guy left and I wondered about my little saloon show down with the drunk. I think this country is obsessed with race and religion. Grudges from fathers and grandfathers are handed out across the generational mix and people are abstracted into a convienient ‘type’ so that they can more easily be poked at with a sharp stick. It just happens more in the US cos there are more variables in the mix……more gas molecules bouncing off one another and creating friction….

Maybe successive generations will wipe it out but until everyone gets laid with everyone else and there are only medium coffee coloured babies then I’m not sure when the pressure will die down.

I like San Francisco – it’s like one of those pyschological experiments where everything is really interesting and then you get an electric shock out of the blue.

My waitress said that I could stand guard for her anytime as I left.

Today was a good day.

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