Frank was a 22 year old recent Cal graduate, and he didn’t know what he was going to do with himself. The summer after graduation had struck him like a thunderbolt, and when he regained rational thought he noticed it was already June 10, 2001. No job, no money, no plans, doubtful future. He almost regretted not backpacking around Europe with some friends of his till he remembered his intense hatred of backpacks. As always, when faced with a great crisis in his life, he went out to the wood to be with nature, “to figure things out.” Typical of the prevailing ideas about drugs and nature, he ate some pot brownies to speed up the figuring out process. An ocarina hung ironically from a Buddhist prayer necklace. He had a sassy t-shirt on that said, “Buzzword.”
Sitting out on bump on a log in the woods, playing a shrill “I’m Just Watching the Wheels Go Round and Round,” he noticed a stray and mangy dog approaching. A wild dog, he was convinced of it. He wondered, If there aren’t any wild dogs now, wouldn’t that mean humans had to have caught them all? What a strange and pointless thing to do, to catch all the dogs just so we could have them all. At this point an attractive young lady passed by jogging, and Frank was momentarily distracted enough to look up. Why did I bother looking up at all? It’s not as if she’d stop and talk to me, she’s jogging. In fact, she’d probably be offended for objectifying her as a sex object. Disenchanted with the world, he started the hike back to his bed, realizing the pointlessness of being out in the visible world. He preferred quiet and private doses of regimented cynicism.
Waking up with a big pot hangover, Frank noticed it was 5:00 pm. Another day gone by without finding a job. The initial plan to help the government with a census (“civil servant”) proved more frustrating than anything; he kept missing the daily examination test, or forgetting his passport, or coming out of his driveway to see a huge tree cutting truck blocking the entire one-car lane of the street he lived on. Or he’d wake up twenty minutes before the test, tired and slightly stoned, futilely get in the car, hurry to Oakland with no chance of getting there on time, and then, somewhere on Telegraph stuck in lunch-hour traffic, feel the need to express his rage by screaming, FUCKING-A while pounding on the wheel. But of course, he never really hit the part of the wheel that made any noise. Here was a deliberate, polite young man. Of all the ridiculous and contradictory emotions, Frank specialized in impotent rage.
Tired of lying around the house, Frank went for a drive. The reality of 5:30 pm traffic on College Avenue kicked in. All these cars piled like a caterpillar trail in a self-inflicted dead end spiral, face to ass, face to ass, without a damn thing anyone could do. Why can’t we have more size efficient cars? Better laid out streets? Money, money, it always came down to money – transparent as a “Chevron cares about the environment” commercial on these two-lane traffic jam streets, the perfect embodiment of mankind’s vainglorious struggle. His dreams, vague ambitions and desires – how could he pick just one? Was there even a point, in this big money clenched fist ass-fuck of a world? How could he justify the money game when he gave up? When that ever-seeking source of resignation welled up and consumed his pride? The thoughts passed quietly, he felt a mild rage but mostly tiredness. Useless tears (i.e. tears) came to his eyes. A hot girl walked by in a tank top and short shorts, sunglasses and with a blue Slurpee, and without thinking Frank called out “Fiiiiine.” She turned her head, and embarrassed he looked away, The window was open. So he sat there, a blushing twelve-year-old with a humiliating erection. This is life.