So Killer was threatening to live up to his name. He was on a rage. And I was in his sights. But I wasn’t alone.
The problem was between him and Danielle. They were drinking. She told him she didn’t want sex. But woke up naked next to him. She was upset. He thought they were dating. She quit talking to him. Somehow he blamed me, assumed I was with Danielle. Danielle and I were just friends.
But he threaten to kill me. One of Danielle’s other friends developed a mysterious black eye overnight. He wouldn’t or could say how it happened. For a while Killer was threatening a small group of us. So we made some plans. Killer’s favorite threat was to take someone to the levy. When we would part with other group members we had our own joke. “If I’m not back in 10 minutes, look for me at the levy.”
But we found a ride out of town. And someone even said there was a party we could attend in the North Bay. We all piled in cars and hit the road.
The party was north of San Francisco. Two or three cars arrived. But the car load of people I was in either changed their minds, or told to leave. It was almost morning. We parked on a hill somewhere. I took a walk and thought about life. The hills north of the city are pretty.
One of the people in the car with me was Tree. We actually had a good chat about VW girl. Turns out they dated for a short period. But then they broke up and she brought a bunch of different guys to the van. She would have sex with them while he was also in the van. Very odd.
The group got back in the car. And we drove to Berkeley. I’m not sure why we choose to go to Berkeley. But someone knew the area a little. We parked and walked along Telegraph for while. We weren’t the neatest looking group, but we didn’t look dirty.
At one point we talked to a Krishna devotee about local services. They always serve food. But he made a comment regarding how they viewed homeless people. Me and my friend looked at each other, and down at ourselves. We were both thinking, “we look homeless?”
The guy who gave us a ride left at the end of the day. But me and Tree spent more time in Berkeley. At one point we were spanging next to a pizza place. A woman started to chat with us. Then her friend came out and gave her a dirty look. We were still there when she left.
“My friend said you’re the kind of people who sell drugs to your little brother’s,” she said. And Tree said, “actually I did.”
I don’t recall most of my first visit. And I am not sure where I slept most of the time. I recall the first night though.
The area was new to me, and someone showed us a spot on campus to sleep. But it wasn’t any good. At 5 a.m. the cops came. It was dark and I was trying to wake up. They had bright lights in my eyes.
“Are you on drugs,” they asked. I told them no. But they wanted to know why I was having a hard time answering questions. It was a lesson to avoid the campus at all cost. And for the rest of my stay. And during following stays I never slept on campus.
In fact this is why I worried so much about the girls from Salt Lake City. People’s Park is used by everyone. But it is owned and policed by the campus police.
If I remember right I slept in backyards. Maybe once or twice near a frat house. I know one place I slept there was a crosswalk talking all night. There is a special place in my life for Berkeley. But it wasn’t as easy to be comfortable there as Santa Cruz. On my first visit I left quickly.
The thing I recall about mornings in Berkeley was Wing Nut Breakfast. It was at a local church. They fed a lot of people. And many of them were a little crazy. Some more than a little.
People’s Park was where I spent much of my time during the day. There was food there sometimes. And a box of free clothes. It was actually cool. And it is understandable it was removed later. But I know I found some good clothes in the free box. Some people would take clothes from the box. Then sell then at thrift stores.
The park was a fun place. The kind of hippy park you might see in a movie. It felt like it was always summer. But I am sure my memory is playing tricks on me.
I must of earned money spanging. And when not buying pizza I shopped at Andronico’s market. It was the local grocery store. A funny story is how years later I took my sister to Berkeley for a visit. We stopped at Andronico’s. Her friend asked, “how did you find this little place?”
It’s a grocery store, I thought. Not some place special or hard to find. It was on the main street in Berkeley.
There was a salad place on Telegraph. I used to love the salads there. They were huge and affordable. Many times I visited the place when back in Berkeley. The sad news is it burned down a number of years ago.
I loved Berkeley because it felt free in a way no other place did for me. I Recall putting on a hospital gown and baggy pant from the free box. Then just walking around and acting crazy for fun. No one was really bothered. And people were friendly. The students and others didn’t seem to care about a person being homeless. They would treat them the same.
What I recall most about nights in Berkeley was the Hate Circle. It was started by the Hate Man. An odd fellow who forced people into saying “I hate you.” He had a theory. If someone couldn’t say it, he wouldn’t trust them. Hate Man believed showing you could say those words, proved you would if they were needed. But I don’t recall telling him I hate you. And we got along well.
He got his name because he went a bit crazy one day. Started raving in the campus fountain. After a couple days the students started calling him the Hate Man.
The Hate Circle was a drum circle. Except there wasn’t a drum is sight. The drums were old plastic buckets he got from some place. People would come out and beat the buckets with sticks. On some night there would be a good beat. But the point wasn’t to make music. It was to beat the buckets and make noise. I think it was a form of group therapy for a lot of people. Some of the people may have been students. But mostly it looked like homeless people.
Most of my memories of Berkeley are just walking around. I spent a lot of time just walking on Telegraph. There were always vendors with items for sale. At night I walked for hours. I never recall finding a good place to sleep. I know one of my camps was at a school. It was under a ramp to one of the classrooms. It was an elementary school and must have been out of session.
And of course I met the Salt Lake City girls in Berkeley. The city is just one of the amazing places I have been in my life. And I hope to be able to visit it again soon. The last time I went with my mother. We drove over from Stockton.
It was a visit for her. I had my experiences in the city. And I thought maybe we could visit and share memories. I was born in Berkeley and she had talked about the city. But while the trip was fun, it wasn’t insightful. I guess my hope was a little bonding. And a little bit more understanding about her young life.