Friday, July 7

Dear Jim,

God was is it hot today! I slept for almost two hours when I got home.

This afternoon I went to a class downtown about retirement. The teacher said that a lot of times people get fed up with their job then one day hand in their retirement papers during lunch never to return.

I like hearing stories like that. I’ve always hated work. I get tired of hearing people call me negative when I complain.

Even though people need to work for their pride and to not have the disrespect of others, there is no doubt that work is a soul killer. Just think how lousy we all look and how lifeless we are.

I walked home through midtown. Do you remember that Sunday we were walking in the heart of midtown and you said that Sacramento is the city of the walking dead?

It still is. There are blank expressions on most peoples faces. Hardly anybody smiles, nods, says hello, or looks you in the eye.

Even people with pets aren’t friendly. It used to be that pets broke down barriers between people. Now people have pets because they want them for protection.

Fear. Fear. Fear. It absolutely amazes me. A few Indian Summers ago I was walking home in the dark about 8. A woman standing in front of her house calmly said hello to me. She wasn’t afraid. I didn’t know what to say, but I managed to say hello. I was stunned. I remember telling dad about it.

There is something about this part of town – the pretentious artists, the gays, the New Agers and their progressive conspicuous consumption – “Aren’t we enlightened?” Not really asshole.

One thing has really gotten bad – the slobs. You can’t cal them bums. They are the homeless.

Under the freeway on 26th, 24th, 23rd, 18th, especially 26th and 18th, is scary. Not that anybody is going to hurt me.

It is filthy. It is incredible. It smells all the time and there is always old furniture and clothes and bicycles left. Food people give the slobs is left there.

Six or seven years ago I noticed that a dude camped on the sidewalk every night was awfully friendly to people. I said to myself, “This guy is asking for trouble.” Sure enough. Somebody killed him.

There are more slobs and more crap every day. I don’t exit through the alley near as much. There are too many guys going through the dumpsters and hanging out in the shade. I used to love alleys.

When people ask if Sacramento’s changed a lot, I say downtown was ugly and cheap when I arrived, now its ugly and expensive. I say midtown still has neat trees and houses, but it’s more Yuppie than when I got here.

I’ve always loved the light play in midtown: the old houses, the stately tree, the spaces between houses. But I’m losing my eye because I’m on the computer so much.

Our fear-filled society effects me too. Nobody is going to beat me up. But somebody might call the cops on me because I move slow and try to smell the roses, or because my eyes light up over a woman’s magnificent torso.

These are bad times Jim.

Love,

Dave