Robyn's Perch

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hippie Memories


This memory had been stored away and has just recently come back. Why had it been forgotten? As Country Joe McDonald put it: "Anyone who remembers the '60s wasn't there." Or possibly it was the nature of the incident.

Back in my hippie days...

I felt like I was always the outsider, even among the people living on the fringes of society. I would make a few least I thought of them as friends, but I never was very optimistic about how they felt about me. I would hang out with them until I perceived in some way that they would prefer that I not do so. It could be something blatant like someone telling me to go away or something that might have been only in my mind, a feeling that I was overstaying my welcome. When one has no sense of self-worth, it's easy to imagine all sorts of reasons people would not want them around, so I never had any friends for very long. Eventually, I would go try to find someone new to hang out with.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Alice and a man named Paul Simon (no, not the songwriter...and it probably wasn't his real name). Paul and I used to crash in Buena Vista park when the weather wasn't too bad. Paul did it almost always...he hated sleeping indoors. There were some other people that slept in the park: Morningstar was a woman from New York. Scorpio was a young gay boy also from there (he once put the moves on me, but I defended myself gracefully). The four of us would hang out together, panhandling for money for food, or the food itself, or money for drugs, or for the drugs themselves.

Then we met Alice. Alice had run away from Santa Clara, was perhaps 17. She had no place to stay and looked ever-so-cute in her hippie dress. We sort of started looking after her. It turned out that Alice didn't like sleeping in the park and she said she had some money at her house in Santa Clara so she and I hitchhiked down there and she broke into her house and got her savings bonds and we went to the bank and cashed them and hitched back to the Haight and rented an apartment. I rented the apartment for the rest of us since I was the oldest except for Paul and he declined to be connected with any paperwork.

The apartment was on Waller and Shrader...the former store room of a feed and grain store (the purpose of a feed and grain store in the Haight was something I could never fathom). On the door we painted "Alice's Restaurant" (okay, so we weren't very original). It had two rooms that we used as bedrooms and a kitchen that we hardly ever used (I recall using it to make popped birdseed once upon a time...we had no corn and the birdseed was leftover from the place's days as a storage room).

We mostly used it as a place to crash, often inviting other people of the street to crash there with us, and as a place to get stoned, which we did often. It was only a block from our favorite panhandling areas and we found that we could keep up with the rent for a few months if we worked hard doing that and selling the hippie newspapers to the tourists.

Our little group of friends grew over time. Alice met Danny, from Kansas, and they became a couple. Then I met someone. I've been trying to remember her name, but that hasn't come back to me yet. I'm pretty certain that it started with a "C" or "Ch" (no, I'm positive it was not a Christine variation).

What I do remember is that we hit it off and I really liked her. We used to go for walks in Golden Gate Park and sometimes we would lay down and do a little necking or just nap next to each other in the sun. I invited her to move in with us and she did. Being a virgin at the time I was more than a little nervous about her doing so. I was very happy with the way our friendship was going and was in no hurry to move on to a level that made either of us uncomfortable. But that was hard since we were sharing the same mattress. Inevitably, I guess, we found ourselves making out on the mattress one night and it seemed that perhaps we might go a little beyond that when she stopped me. She told me that we couldn't go any further and that the reason was because she was pre-operative transsexual.

My memory of everything ends right there. I'm pretty certain I went off the deep end for a while. I hope that I acted well...I can't imagine that I said anything unkind. But in the face of my own transsexuality, I couldn't cope.


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