Published on April 7th, 2014 | by gatsbyadmin0
Fear and Loathing in the Emerald Triangle….
My journey began in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.. I had just arrived from Aspen by way of Denver and met up with my old roommate to stay for a few days until I heard back from my connection further up-state.
The Tenderloin is always interesting, to say the least.. Even though people had told me it had been gentrified I found that it hasn’t changed at all. There are still bums everywhere harassing women and selling every drug you can imagine right in front of the cops. There is always a guy somewhere in the “TL” shouting “Oxycottons!” And the cops don’t even blink.. They have bigger fish to fry.. After all its called the Tenderloin because, back in the day, the cops got paid so much to work in that neighborhood that they could afford to buy their families tenderloins of beef.. Not too shabby, eh? There are a few old school jaunts that I still enjoy. Club 21 and the Hemlock being the ones I frequented most.. Club 21 is a classic dive bar.. Old photos of alcoholics, most of which are dead and gone.. A tiny place full of character.. Kinda reminds me of the Mars Bar in NYC.. In other words very grimey.. The Hemlock is a cleaner place that offers DJ’s spinning punk 45’s on occasional nights and pool tables.. You know I’ve spent many a drunken night in that joint..
The truly scary part of revisiting my life in the Tenderloin was, allegedly, a white man had been spotted dropping bombs into the trash cans around the “TL.” Apparently, people had actually taken shrapnel from the homemade bombs. I almost shit myself when I heard that because minutes before I had dropped some trash in one the receptacles and noticed smoke but thought nothing of it.. Luckily I wasn’t the one catching shrapnel that day but someone a few minutes later might not have been so lucky..
I survived the Tenderloin yet again and headed north to Mendocino and Humboldt counties…
I caught the greyhound from SF and wound up about 50 miles from where I was meant to be.. So I used the last of my money to pay for a cab and got to the end of the road where I was supposed to be trimming.. Still 25 miles from my destination.. I began to walk and hitchhike and finally made it to the farm.. To a not-so-welcome, welcoming party. None of which were the people I was trying to meet.. Funny though because they had the same names.. Actually not that funny because they began to interrogate me with guys surrounding me in the bushes with rifles. I thought I was surely dead.. After about four hours of interrogation they finally decided I wasn’t a threat and actually wanted to help me find the farm I was supposed to be on. We didn’t find it so they dropped me off in a small town full of Hoopa tribe Native Americans.. One sole white man asking for help from poor, alcoholic natives.. I was fucked.. Not literally, but no one wanted to help.. I was totally broke and carrying about 50 lbs of camping gear, clothing, toiletries, etc. Finally one of the elderly women had it in her heart to drive me to the outskirts of town.. Where I waited another several hours drinking Rolling Rock and feeling pitiful.. A nice young Hoopa couple pulled over and offered me a ride to the next town over where they promised I could catch a bus for a few bucks to almost any town in NorCal. They were a sweet couple but they were looking for something they thought I might have.. Black tar heroine. Sadly I couldn’t enable their dope addiction so they let me off at the bus depot, gave me their phone number in case I got stuck and went along their way.. By the end of the night I was safe and sound sleeping in a tent in the redwoods outside of Arcata, CA.
Up with the sun, an empty stomach and no money I packed up camp and headed into town.. Arcata is a pretty little town kind of reminiscent of Boulder, CO. Tons of hippies, gutter punks, ravers and the like. The fringe of society.. The “losers.” The freeloaders. My kind of people. So I spent about a week meandering around Arcata looking for work or a friendly face. I ended up hanging out with a disgruntled Frenchman who kept me laughing at the American condition. All the while smoking spliffs and drinking fine NorCal beer. He had been hitch-hiking for months. He started in Montreal, Quebec and was on his way to South America.. Every time he opened his mouth to a stranger or a cop I was certain we were going to be flogged or sodomized with botons.. Only the most horrifying scenarios came to mind but, thankfully, no one gave two shits about the dirty, crass, Fenchman.. After about a week of eating with the homeless, smoking their dope and drinking their beer I got a call from an old friend telling me he was close by and had found work. We ended up working for about a week and then found other friends and got the ball rolling again.. A month or so later, after having trimmed upwards of 20lbs of the finest NorCal outdoor, after eating several hits of acid, bumps of cocaine, mouthfuls of magic mushrooms, about a ton of booze and smoking enough weed we found out we weren’t getting paid.. FUCK!!! A month of arduous work and nothing to show for it.. So we packed everything up and left.. Back to the real world.. On a positive note, though, I didn’t pay for housing, food or anything else for the three months I ended up working on the farms.. I spent a few days in Redding, CA. Traveled around a bit more and wound up on a friends farm in Oregon where he was raising wolves, chickens and growing organic fruits and vegetables.
And the story continues….
written by: Joey Cutty @joey_cutty