Jet lagged, tinged with lysergic acid,.... stumbling through the Mission District. Dodging drunks and junkies till we reach Delirium... right through the rabbit hole. I sit in rapturous stupor-- perma-grin. A wild Asian girl flirts with me, motions me to dance, tells me Im old, scoffs at me, then flirts again.... I remain silent, motionless, and bewildered throughout the drama.
As we leave, this same girl and her friend get in a hair-pullling, fist-swinging fight with another girl outside the bar. Guys come to the entrance and laugh... egg them on. One yells, "I love this bar".
I dont. The attitude, cockiness, poverty, and violence are too much for me right now.. just off the plane from Asia. I miss the gentler streets of Bangkok & Osaka. I miss the gentler people.
Other than the obscene fatness of folks, what strikes me first about America is the anger and violence. Everyone seems annoyed or pissed off. Theres a kind of strutting attitude. Its there in the self-righteous liberal cyclists... who scream at any car that dares "cut them off". Its there in the aggresive panhandlers... who mumble insults at those who dont give them money.
What is the source of this anger? Materially, these people have far more than the Thais... even more than the Japanese. But maybe thats the point. Americans have invested their lives in THINGS. Not people. Not each other.
Another immediate impression was how lonely and desolate America feels. This is a major US city, but it feels empty to me. There are hardly any people walking on the street. Everyone is sealed up in their cars.. safe from everyone else. Bangkok's streets are full of people. So too Osaka's. And even Hiroshima's. My little Bangkok neighborhood, late at night, had more people walking around than does my friend's SF neighborhood... at peak daytime.
Where are all the people? Why are they so spread out? Why do they hide in their homes and cars?
At first impression, America seems a ghostly place. Spread out. Mechanized. Lonely.