Sorry about that, I was cranked.  Went to a thing at the armory, where the aesthetic was pure vampire and a toothsome Nosferatu really put me in the mood. Not to say anything I wrote above could be deemed untrue, but I’ll concede, I could have framed my opening statements in a slightly less Gothic manner. So much for introductions.
So —
While we’re waiting to get this road trip on the road, there’s no reason I can’t tell you one or several things for my amusement and your edification.
Here’s one.
I’ve had what you could call a life-long love affair with the “altered state.” This love affair has been so long and lush and true that the UNaltered state is like ground glass to my molars. There’s just no color, no flavor, no life without chemically-produced serotonin lighting up the frontal lobes, arousing the nervous system, and inflaming all that covets fire. Thank heavens I am able, for without it, I am incarcerated in reality. I’m the poor little match girl trapped in a wet flint, dirt-dreary, dark-grey world selling matches to NO ONE — but I don’t want to talk about that.
I think we’ve got all that’s damp and whiny covered on another channel.
My preferred method of travel is alcohol. You see, at heart, I’m a traditionalist. A drink and a smoke give lift to any occasion, prescribe plentiful panache, and adorn a situation with sophistication reminiscent of resplendent days when noir lighting inspired still photography and lipstick-ringed Chesterfields sweetly polluted a room. It’s tasty, tasty, easily acquired, and 100% legal. Alcohol. [Chef’s kiss.] I fucking love it.
So, toss a bottle and pack on your normal lifely hang-ups, then open the windows wide! You’ve got some flying to do. But should you require more than the fine and speedy swirl of booze and cigs, should your neuromodulators require further inhibition, should you need to throw more on the fire of your life than what paltry legal substances provide, alcohol will gladly cloak your more auspicious sins: a little pharmacy here, a few pain-killers there, and a lacy dash of hallucinogenics to keep your edges running smoothly — who would ever know? Why, when it comes to the highly personal matter of re-balancing the brain chemistry, no one in my geographic region would ever blink an eye. Did you know I could pop over unannounced and get some methylenedioxymethamphetamine from my neighbor who hates me right this very minute/now? Psht, that’s fine, as long as my pronoun usage proves judicious. But try bumming a Chesterfield off your average Northern Californian and prepare to be showered in stammering spray of incredulous tsks.  — Best stick with the MDMA.
“Excuse me, sir or madam, but may I borrow a cup of Molly?”
Do they even make Chesterfields anymore? If not, I’m devastated. Quick. Someone post an obit in the Chronicle for the loss of this sterling cultural institution. They were milder, always milder…
I want to say that my relationship with smoking isn’t all Bette and Joan. To be certain, I enjoy the dusky glamour of conducting an enraptured room with my baton aflame, but I also luuuurve smoking’s newly lower-class connotations. Let’s get ripped and light up in a parking lot. Ah, the “corner lounge,” the “dive bar,” the “track.”  Who doesn’t on occasion yearn for the ubiquitous “back alley?” All those basest of places still shine with a certain American magic. And for me? It’s an honor to flaunt my inner trash. Shit I’ve been baked in the middle class life-long (I’ve even dabbled in the upper middle class, for shame), so much so that I could stand to break free to the bottom, marry down, nosedive, crash.
They’d never believe it, but the Middles, the class to which at birth I was assigned, have been beaten til they’re blind to their own slavish disadvantage. From those whom much has been required, little has ever been repaid (aside from the metaphorical lollipop’s “fuzzy end,” thank you, Marilyn icon,) So while the middle class suffers, both the well-healed and those who tend to fall below the line do exactly as they please. They do — each in their own way — both super rich and super poor. They wiggle around on the edges. They don’t color in the lines. They blur this reality with their own like poorly mixed paint — but the colors are exceptional. They’ve bypassed social expectation with clever cultural surgery and it’s a joy to be around. They have nothing to prove and they don’t follow the rules. That’s why my altered state and I enjoy visiting both Extreme Uptown and Skid Row. Both neighborhoods have so very much in common. But for my money, the folks shooting up under a bridge are worth ten of the diamond class sampling the brie at Le Supermarche in a glassy, pharmaceutical-grade haze. But that’s just my preference.
I’m out.