Final Lush Years pg147
Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic
I settled into my wonderful hovel in the historic downtown. At that point Benicia was a quiet, backwater berg on the Carquinez Straits, about halfway between San Francisco and Napa. It would evolve into a lively, artsy tourist destination, but wasn’t there yet. Benicia had always been a little lost in time.
Prostitution was legal until 1962 when bridges finally connected the town to a modern world and the ferries shut down. In an effort to waylay new legislation, the soiled doves pooled their money and built a large community pool for the town that is still in use. The mayor thanked them by naming it after himself and outlawing their profession.
Benicia sits on a mile-wide, brackish tidal waterway that connects the delta of northern river systems to the San Francisco Bay. Along the shoreline are bird sanctuaries, historic homes, a quaint downtown, a large marina, the Civil War era Arsenal (now a thriving art colony), and a deep-water port where auto carriers from Asia and tankers from everywhere offload into the Industrial Park. — From Chapter 8
Skidding off topic again. Here is my goodbye letter to 2020…
Dear Everyone I Care About in California —
Lordy but you guys are getting a nasty whacking with the latest spikes. I’m so sorry to see my beloved California being hit by yet another disaster. Like drought, firestorms and gridlock aren’t enough. Shit. Fuck this pestilence.
So hoping for better times for all my loved ones. It’s not easy to balance life’s emotions by scooting over to the serene side of the fulcrum of doom. Being optimistic (or at least a tad more positive) takes even more effort as this thing drags on. Every so often I find glimmers of joy in simple moments of pleasure and peace. They last until the guilt smacks me back to reality… feelings of guilt (and sublime gratitude) that I really have it so good when compared to millions… a safe, comfortable house with lots of creative stuff to do, good food, basic solvency for now, friends to call and a magic, huggable pet.
Sure the restrictions are tiresome. It might have been lucky that New York got hit so hard early on because everyone I know has been functioning on the ‘better safe’ side all this time. My sanity-saving women’s support group has been holding weekly outdoor meetings around a bonfire on a vast lawn in a beautiful garden since September. Two weeks ago there was 18" of snow overnight, so we couldn’t meet. Then a warm rain melted it all and we got together this last Sunday — bundled up for a sunny, 34 degree afternoon — dressed safe and sitting six feet apart as usual. Then we made the responsible and unhappy decision to pause the meeting for the Winter of our Uncontrolled Spread. Discontenting. Instead of pouting I did a painting of all of us. Between the thick clothing, masks and my portrait skills, anonymity was preserved. Back to connecting with the blunt instruments that are phones and computers. And yes, I’m grateful for those, too.
Sending oodles of love to all my friends and followers (friends I haven’t met yet). Try not to wear out those middle fingers. We’ll need them to build something better and hopefully sooner than later. Sending warm wishes for a fulfilling and happier 2021. The dumpster fire that was 2020 will go out at some point and I selfishly want all the people I care about to be intact. And the critters, too.
Love galore, Mernie
A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at www.etsy.com/listing/839838936
Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.