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Squatting & Gear
Stefan,, Oct 16, 2003

So my best friend finally left San Francisco to get clean. She was pretty badly strung out on heroin and I was doing everything in my power (which was limited) to get her to go somewhere to get clean. A bit before July this year of 2003 she left with her boyfriend of three years to go to the East Bay and be inside and doing well. That was it, and my best bud had gone back to his home in Rochester, New York. The only other two friends I had were a couple with a cat. We did drugs together mostly. This became a detriment to our friendship, because I don�t generally care about being low-key about the things I do - it is obvious and I would just be a liar to deny it. They could not handle being around me with that type of attention being drawn toward me at most times; they slowly faded out of my life and I began to feel bored. I began to hold routine in silence�..

Every day I wake up at about twelve and walk up to Haight Street to go get a bit to eat and then leave and then go ahead and start my day. I usually just wander about aimless until that gets boring.

One day I chose not to follow my typical day. I got up and looked outside, so as to decide that it was nice enough weather for me to go out with my T-shirt. I still chose not to go outside for awhile because I had nothing to do out of doors but go to the library to see if my best friend (Rose) had responded the e-mail I had sent, a day earlier, telling her that I was screwed up and would get stuck in San Francisco again and start using. I woke up at about ten. Went back to sleep. Woke up again to my big black roommate offering me some crack. I was bored and had nowhere in particular to be since the library closed at eight p.m., so I went ahead and smoked a bit of crack with him and went back to sleep till about five or six. I woke up and figured I should go to the library before it got too late.

I left the library at seven and spotted in the distance a very intriguing striped T-shirt. I could not see the person wearing it all that well, so I approached. I realized that there were a bunch of my anarchist friends hanging around and a few I did not know at all, one of which was the girl in the striped shirt, Kay. The others were all kids from random places on the globe, all squatting the same house in the sunset. I recognized my buddy Zack right off - he is an eighteen-year-old anarchist with thick black curls, a thick beard and a beautiful face. We chatted for a moment and then I moved about to the crowd to do more mingling. I spoke with Sparrow, the womyn with the biggest heart and a bigger smile, whom I had met at a big co-op in the Mission district where some of my other subversive\radical friends frequented and lived. I did not really know the other kids well. They were an interesting mix-up of people: there was Trashcan, he seemed to just be a laid-back pothead type who never really quarreled, but could seriously fuck shit up at a riot. There was Bat, she seemed to be rather insecure and eager to make friends, I could not say much to her, although I sympathized, I can not handle that type of personality, but who am I to judge? There was Jessica, a beautiful young radical womyn that I regret not getting to know before I left the group, she was a good friend to Sparrow and Zack and shared that same warm energy. I had met Josh on Haight Street about a month prior and shared some grass with him while he put out some flyers for a convergence in Sacramento. He was a nice guy. I genuinely liked him upon my first few meetings with him. Then we come to my partners in crime. Two people in the group in whom I was more interested than I was in the others all together were Kay and Tyler - there was something from the first second I saw each of them, I could never try to ruin it with words, that is not the purpose of this logging anyhow. I could pretty easily tell that neither of them particularly cared for the beauracracy that anarchist groups have a tendency to display anymore. I could tell also, that they seemed a lot like myself, riddled with secrets and darknesses as well as lights unfathomable yet at the same time seeming as complex as drinking a glass of water.

As I mentioned, I was initially drawn by the stripes, as I have a fascination with stripes. I could not tell if the person in this wonderful shirt was man womyn or child, so I had to go-go forth and find out. I could not help feeling in the next two weeks that there was something more than curiosity and a neat shirt involved in my walking over there. I have this problem with drugs, and the only effective recovery method I have discovered to date is to surround myself with non-users until I gain the will power needed to tell people I don�t want the crap they have to offer. I felt really good about everything. That very day the group invited me to come and stay at the place they had been holding down in the Sunset. I have been squatting houses for quite a good couple of years, so I was doubly happy to get into a real squatter community instead of the stupid assed cement mixer which needed no down-holding, and actually have things ahead which needed work and cooperation. I am not much for group thought, or consensus, but I enjoy just working together with like-minded people and making things happen. I felt this as a great opportunity for me to grow and hopefully help out the community a lot as well. I fear this was mostly idealistic fantasy, however.

Kay and I had been spending a lot of time together talking about everything we could think of to talk about since the first night I had stayed in the house. She was going through some emotional issues regarding the man Josh. It seems that they had been involved in an intense and beautiful relationship. She had been upset because she felt as though the communication between them was slipping away, and felt that he was acting rather like a typical male in various ways. I felt bad, for the situation, I really dislike seeing good relationships go bad. Relationships of any nature, but especially anything intimate or strong. People don�t stick with it long enough, opinions are ever changing and people can�t seem to adjust to each other, but this is just one speculation from the mind of a screwed-up eighteen year old. It was, as usual, a silly idea for me to get involved because not three days into my being in the house hold I began to feel as though my presence was a great detriment to the well being of the collective as a whole.

From what I had been told and the vibe I was getting (although he never came forward and said anything to this effect) it seemed as though Josh thought that I was, well, not just listening to Kay�s problems - it seemed that he was under the impression that I was trying to pursue some sort of intimate relationship with Kay, which at the time was far from true (and continued to be for a good duration of our acquaintance). These ideas (if existent) and the fact that Kay, Tyler, Trashcan and myself had moved ourselves into the bigger of the two houses we were occupying, without discussing it openly, and the fact that I myself all but refused to attend any more banal group meetings, insisting that I spend the time actually getting something done (okay, okay I was just sleeping) as opposed to talking about doing stuff, were some of the things that led me to feel that there was a division coming. I did not want division in this community, which is probably not what some felt. I think I came off as the one who fucked everything up . I should hope not, but it would not matter if that is the case or not considering the next few portions of this storyjournal.

Things were kind of rocky and getting rockier in the house, as we got closer to the day the group had decided to take the boards off the windows. This caused a pretty big argument itself. Kay, Tyler, Trashcan and myself were all staying out in the bigger of the two houses and Josh came in and woke us to collect the drapes from the windows so that he could use them to cover the windows in the small house after the people took the boards down the following day. Thinking of it in retrospect, it was really a silly debate. Kay and I did not want to give up the curtains which kept the room we shared separate from the other room which housed the two guys. We fought hard with Josh over it and it just turned into a big stupid hassle involving the entire group and getting everybody�s nerves worked up. Kay picked this as the perfect opportunity to address her issues with Josh. I suggested they get someone to mediate, as did Sparrow, so that the situation could not go over board. Kay wanted me to mediate, but that was a terrible idea in my opinion, because of Josh�s suspicions regarding Kay and I and the nature of our relationship. So the burden landed on Sparrow. The only thing accomplished was more worked nerves (including Sparrow�s, who is practically invincible I think) and a lack of cigarettes.

We went to bed in our respective places and got up the next morning to begin our series of activities leading to the big time of establishment, for the house and its members. We all got up on Sunday morning to start cleaning the yard and the houses and begin taking down boards. Other people from other places came to help out and we had one man playing some great tunes with his guitar. The energy in that little back yard that afternoon was so fucking amazing. Everybody was doing their share and smiling as they worked and all the drama and bullshit had been forgotten. It seemed like one of those moments of harmony that would make everything all good from that point on. Again foolish idealistic fantasy.

Three of us went down to the Civic Center to get fresh peaches so that Sparrow could make peach cobbler for the neighbors to show that we weren�t just a bunch of piss-laden, dirty punks breaking into a house to shoot up and copulate and bolt. When we got back, the energy had been noticeably sapped from the area. We could feel it before we even got into the yard. When we got into the yard everybody had a defeated, yet optimistic, look on their faces, and there were two joints being passed around. The neighbor called the landlord after someone claimed that we had permission to be doing what we were doing. The landlord came and told the people who were there at the time to put the boards back up and left. From what I recall (I was on the peach run when it went down) someone heard the neighbor say that if we were honest he would let us go on about our work. He felt bad so he gave the group two joints. Gee thanks, ass, nothing like a couple of doobies to compensate for a place to live. Seeing all those people�s faces with that ever-glimmering spark of hope and determination even in the face of what some may call defeat really inspired me to keep at it instead of returning to the cement mixer. I asked Kay, Tyler, and Trashcan if they wanted to return that night and just stay. They were down. Smooth. Nobody was pushing us out; we liked that place too damn much to just run away after one little request to leave.

That night Kay, Tyler and I decided to go. We met a guitarist named Zach standing about playing his guitar for some cash. He was really intriguing in a fellow nutcase way. He offered us some bourbon, which we accepted without delay and began having some fun. We sat around with him for about an hour, and then decided to actually go into the Castro for a few and see what we could. We just sat around and goofed off for a few. One of the younger Castro Queens asked me if I wanted to walk with him for a moment, I was bored and a little buzzed so I went along. He was just offering me some meth, which was what I figured was his goal anyhow. I declined, having made a deal with myself and with Kay, and returned to the area in which we were hanging. Then he asked Tyler if he wanted to go for a walk. Tyler went along willingly and curiously (he hadn�t spent much time here yet and did not realize that he was about to get really high for free), his face showing caution and wonder. Kay and I sat around for awhile and then hormones and alcohol began to start their work with us. We had not really been very sensual with each other prior to that moment, so is was a bit overwhelming and frightening for us. The energy surge we experienced was enough to make us reconsider letting our bodies get the better of us. We sat modestly together and waited for Tyler to return.

He came back about an hour later with eyes the size of quarter dollars and his body all but convulsing from the amount of intake and the length of time it had been since his last use. We asked if he would like to come back to the house with us, since we were tired and ready to get inside. He declined, stating that he was going to take full advantage of his altered state and meander about for a few hours and come home when he got cold. So home we went and off he went. We got back and went straight to bed ready to get one hell of a night�s sleep much unlike our quick-jawed, big-eyed third party. We woke up to Josh�s voice screaming at us from the doorway wondering who was home. He came in and had a seat. I shared my breakfast of hummus and baguette with him and he shared some bananas, and we sat and talked for a while. I could tell he was just being civil and not any more interested in conversation with me than with a dead thing on the side of a highway, which was fine with me. I am rather used to not being liked and don�t particularly try very hard if at all to accomplish said ends, frankly I have more to worry about. According to Kay he was very possessive of her, and I don�t really dig people who are possessive of others, gender aside, it is wrong to me either way, and I had grown to rather care for Kay by this point quite a bit, and not care much at all for someone who would claim a person as his own and cause them misery. He left, and we sat back for a few to reflect and relieve from an awkward situation indeed. Tyler showed up ten minutes later obviously coming down from his high ands sat down with us in another five minutes he was asleep on the couch. Kay and I sat together and spoke some more for a while and read some books, then came the cops.

Tyler was thoroughly passed out on the couch in the living room; Kay was reading her endless collection of anarchist literature, in which I found little interest. I was sitting on the ground without a shirt or socks enjoying some more hummus and baguette, while reading over all of my writings of the past year. We were about to start setting stuff up and making the house more homey when we heard the board which covered the back door (our entry) being moved. We figured it was one of our fellow friends and became attentive. Instead of, �Hey, you guys!" or something to that effect we heard, "Let's go!" It didn�t make sense. I thought it was a warning cry from one of our companions; instead of reacting the appropriate way to such a situation, which would be get dressed and grab the important stuff, I continued about my business not really convinced. Then came the rest: �San Francisco police department, come out of there, now!� Well then, that�s better. Much more convincing. Fuck.

I screamed to Tyler to get up, and Kay hurriedly stuffed the literature into her bag so that the police would not see it, the cops continued to command us out and Tyler continued to snore. I screamed one last time and rushed out toward the door. When Kay and I reached the cops they cuffed us and sat us out the ground, I asked them the necessity of their guns, and the cuffs and they said for their own protection. Now this was fucking silly, we can�t afford food or housing, so logically we must spend it all on guns and PCP. Right. We sat. I said, �there is a guy sleeping in there too,� after which they asked if there was anybody else in there, which made me realize why they were cops instead of scientists, no attention to detail. They pulled out Tyler, who was too groggy to care about being civil to these neanderthals, and also a minor, so doubly lacking in respect. They continued to ask him if he had any needles and called him a junkie and were pretty rude in general. Then came the sitting part, the long silent sitting that cops like to do for no apparent reason. Finally they took my ID and the names of Kay and Tyler. Kay was crying and I was generally miffed having not finished my food, being pulled from the middle of a piece I was reading but did not remember writing, and having just realized I was half naked.

Kay and I looked at each other and scooted closer together so as to provide comfort to each other, or as much as we could in such a ridiculous situation. I guess maybe Tyler�s grogginess wore off and irritation set in, because he was talking more shit than a fifteen crack head getting busted after smoking a huge bag of crack. This was silly too, but entertaining and nostalgic of the days when I had no worries because I was not held accountable for my actions legally, which was only the beginning of the 2003 year. The guy with the camera was digging it too. The sarge or whatever showed up and saw Kay and I nuzzling together. This made him quite displeased. He screamed at us to move apart, so I inched away and by inched I mean I scooted two or three inches away. He came and grabbed my arm and drag-tossed me back to my original seating. He must have been a tweaker or something, because paranoia that strong is unnatural and the violence pointless.

What the hell were we going to, do pass of one of few random things the cops had already confiscated and thrown away? Or perhaps he thought we were contacting aliens through a psychic gateway, which can only be reached when we were close. He started interrogating us as to our motives, our birthplaces and other things which were either completely irrelevant or not his goddamn business. Finally I said, �Look, can you just gather up our shit and get us on our way? I would like to get out one time to watch this on the evening news,� then winked at the camera guy. I started telling them that they would have to keep coming to get me because I liked this place and would return. They said something about noting my intent to be a repeat offender. I was unscathed by it, however. It is not like I hadn�t been to jail before. The camera dude spoke up and asked some silly question which had been answered long before in my banter about what it is we were doing (I did most of the talking throughout the whole scenario on account of many things. Tyler would have gotten us into more trouble with his arrogant screaming, and Kay was in no mood to speak. I have become pretty good at bullshitting the cops over my years of experience involving them, and even if one of the others intended to say anything, or anything helpful in Tyler�s case, they would not have gotten a word in edge wise, as is the case when I am around.) I answered his question bluntly and he confessed himself as the owner�s son. Welly well well. That changes things entirely. I am an arrogant idiot, and a huge shit talker (although I do it in a coy way so it is not so obvious to stupids), but I do know when to give up and fly away like a scared little birdie. So I told him he must understand why I liked this place and why I wanted to live in it. We had a quick conversation about his dilemma and mine and I decided this guy was decent enough for a dirty prick-face who has the cops do everything for him. I conceded to leave him and his little house alone and told the cops to hurry up and get me away from there. They took Tyler and I and threw us in a holding cell for 11 hours and released us Tuesday morning, at separate times. When the lady was signing me out, she asked if I intended to go to court and I said yes then she asked if I was lying and I said yes. Oops. Back in the holding cell two more hours.

When I finally got out I went to go stash my shit at the cement mixer in china basin where I smoked crack with my roommate the previous week. I then left to go sit in the library and read until 10:00am and went to the HAYOT (Haight Ashbury Youth Outreach team) to get some high quality sugar foods and blabber my exciting tale to my psuedo-friends who hang out on Haight Street. At two I went to Roaddawgz, the writing program for squatters, travelers,and homeless youth, which is open from two to seven Tuesday through Thursday and is located in the basement of the Hospitality House�s free art space on Leavenworth street, between Turk and Golden Gate. Plug. Plug.

I took a nap, had some pizza, wrote my tale, and went to meet up with the gang at Food Not Bombs at the Civic Center. We all hung out for a while and then went to find places to sleep. In the morning we waited till two and went to readings and hung out and made a deal with Maya regarding our individual stories of our event. We had decided that we had to leave this city because we were fed up with all the bullshit. Wednesday afternoon we came up with a brilliant idea, then threw it out and then again decided it would be great. But that is all for now kiddies. Stay tuned throughout the next months for the exciting conclusion of this not-very-exciting-tale, brought to you by Roaddawgz

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