Okay, I've written plenty of (negative) stuff about SMS (Suck-Me-Sideways) Holdings, Block By Block, the Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association (DBA), and city hall... but now... well, now... I have to show a little bit of integrity and turn the mirror on myself.
First off, last night, I pulled a major bozo move. The very first (bozo) move made was thinking I should go and drink alcohol. Four Loko. Not smart. Very dumb, on many different levels. First off, there's like six ingredients in that drink I won't mention by name any longer that causes cancer. (But then again, what doesn't 'cause cancer' anymore?) On top of that bad news, this frosty malt liquor packs quite the punch at 12% alcohol (by volume). That's quite a bit. I had only one... but, when you are an alcoholic, like your truly, and you aren't supposed to drink alcohol, at all, for any reason whatsoever, that behavior can get a person (like myself) into quite a mess, and that's what my dumb ass did just last night.
After consuming the toxic elixir, I decided to find a friend of mine who would get me even more gassed, and then boarded the B.A.R.T. (Bay Area Rapid Transit) for Oakland. I wanted to check out the one-year anniversary of the Snow Park takeover (or, 'overflow,' rather). I spent my entire time during the Occupy Movement camped there, so I wanted to see some old friends. So I get out at the 19th street B.A.R.T. station and headed down toward the park.
Upon arriving I noticed about a dozen-or-so police officers hanging out, in a group (sort of like a gang), on the corner of Harrison and 19th streets, respectively. They were there to make sure nothing happened, I guess. No camping in the park, really... no fights. It still reminded me of the police presence that was felt during the Occupy, though. Their presence gave me an excuse to start acting up... but that would be later. So I head over to where all the action was coming from. There was some large video screen with all sorts of visuals and music coming from the amplifier next to it... and there was a few people there. I'd say, from the buzz I had, there was around 100 people mulling about... but I didn't recognize any of them. I was looking for three people, in particular, but could not find them, or anyone else who I even remembered camping there.
After a few minutes and some growing frustration, I decided to bounce. I had had enough for one day. I was tired, anyway, and hammered. Reminds nme of the idiom back in the seventies, "Too Ripped, Gotta Go!"
Time to go back to Berkeley!
As I am crossing Harrison, and heading down 19th street westward bound, I decided to shout at the police still hanging out in the park. I shouted, "YOU'RE ON THE WRONG SIDE! YOU'RE SERVING THE WRONG 'MASTER'!" Some Cats came out of the Looney's and wanted to yell as well, only at me, to shut the hell up. I engaged with them, as I walked toward the B.A.R.T. station, however, never stopping my roll... nor shutting my mouth. Nothing happened, though, as I got to the train with little or no fuss... and that's around the point where I blacked out.
That's right, I blacked out. I had cut back on my drinking, quite a bit over the past couple years, through the usage of Cannabis. Yeah, I'm "substituting." So. I can manage Cannabis... I can't manage alcohol. That makes that decision easy for me to make. No, it's not full proof, and isn't "fool" proof, either, obviously. However , I did cut back by 80%, at least. But, every once in a while, there's a flair up. And, when these flair ups happen, I can do some stupid stuff. Last night was no different. Last night was epic, legendary idiocy, ramped up to a large scale I've only matched one other time, and that was a little over a year ago.
I get off the B.A.R.T. train, apparently, and I head up the escalator, I think. And when I get to, ironically enough, John's Ice Cream, I either bumped into this guy, or I called him out, or something... because the next thing I know, I'm getting punched in the nose... by the biggest guy on Shattuck? I picked a fight with the biggest dude out there? Back a year and a half ago, I got some distressing news about a friend's health, and on that night, I went out, got drunk, and got into a fight, and then went to jail. That was my last bad flair up. And, just like this one, I was brought out of a black out by a punch to the face. Only this time, I would get hit in my upper left cheek. My tooth is still angry at me. He then screamed, "I'll shoot your ass mother f***er!" and went into his waistband. Now, I never saw a gun, but he threatened to shoot me, more than once, too. And, that was primarily because I was screaming, "Go ahead and shoot me! You ain't gonna shoot me or you would've already done it! You wanna go to prison? Only a coward owns a gun!"
No kidding, I remember saying that to him.
I've had some one or thing watching over me for some time now. Any time I try and screw things (What I mean by 'things' is, the path that I am on... it's not really mine. I did not choose it. It chose me.) up, some one or thing jumps in and bails my sorry butt out. And last night was no exception. Just as we were doing our best "I-know-what-you-are-but-what-am-I" routine, only with the threat of deadly violence interjected into the game, two police officers roll up Allston and turned on Shattuck... to where we were arguing... at the exact moment I actually needed them to be there?
The guy immediately started walking away. He is on parole. The police told him to stop, as he put his arms against the wall of the Bike Station. But I told the officers that this situation was entirely my fault. I explained to them that I was an idiot drunk and started the entire thing, and that that guy was completely innocent of all (potential) charges thought to be levied against him, if they so chose. The police officers allowed him to walk away. He was still angry at me, but was free, nonetheless. I was then told to "go sleep it off," so I did.
Early this morning, around 4:00 AM, I awoke to a headache and bowel issues. Had to take a crap and couldn't, because nothing was open... so, hold it in I did. What I could not hold in, though, was my stomach contents, which were mostly liquid... but the contents that were coming out came from... the very place I was sleeping in front of...?
Wiki Wiki Hawaiian BBQ?
I love irony.
I puked another five times... and am feeling much better, now.
My point to this article? To point out that we all screw up. Every one of us. Every day. So, for the city, DBA, and anyone else piling on, to not try and create solutions for the homeless problem they are incurring, (As is everyplace else, because of the wanton corruption allowed to exist through apathy of the citizens of this nation.) it's appalling. And no, what they have set up now is not sufficient. And, we do not wish to hear that you "don't have the money"... find the money. You had no problems finding the money when you wanted that tank, right? So, find ways to do it. Cut your salaries. Or, stop giving yourselves raises, for doing such a banner job.
There are solutions, you know... and they are tough of those making policy, but they should be done, for the betterment of the society, at-large.
What we have hear is a scapegoating situation. We have a few wealthy people trying to crap on the rest of society, and they're getting those in positions of authority (even if it's faux authority, like Block By Block) to do their bidding... this way they do not have to get their hands dirty. This way they can "have their cake and eat it too." Cake seems to be the impetus for revolution, no?
So, there it is: a homeless guy, screwing up.
There you have it.
-James Richard Armstrong II