In a black and gray day, the hipsters in their neon 80s gear stand out even more than usual. Mustachioed gentleman in thickly framed glasses compete with skinny ties for the attention of devilish smiles complemented by sunset bangs And they make me smile, with their bandwagon antics and deep rooted sense of irony. I’ve been to the mountain tops in Portland, and Austin, and Silverlake; there is a lot of carefully groomed facial hair made tolerable by the abundance of cheap beer. Cheap beer in large cans, the taste of metal is easy to understand at $2 per hit. You can’t even buy 40 ounce bottles of malt liquor in the city center of Portland anymore, you can’t buy 40 ounces of malt liquor at all in New Zealand, and I feel a little worse for wear because of it. Someone could make a fortune on a slow boat from Long Beach, if that boat was full of glass, and that glass was full of Mickey’s, and Old English, and Colt 45.
Kiwi girls dress to the nines, and smile at strangers with wonder. Kiwi boys walk barefoot in banks, and malls, and fine dining establishments. They open their mouths to reveal broken English, their first language. That makes me smile too. The Girl with the Raccoon Tail is nowhere to be found in Christchurch, though I keep my eyes open and my dancing shoes on. I drink too much, but the beer is watered down. The wine will sneak up on you. One never knows where a midnight dance party is about to break out. Maybe the freshman dorm. Maybe in the park on the walk home at bar close. Maybe on the train. Or the plane. Probably not in the automobile.
What will their tattoos look like when they get old? Can they see that far ahead? My scars are hidden and fading. Overseas checks take 5 weeks to cash. Which is an impossibly long period of time, even at these rates, in this economy. There is a fly in my cup. Elvis makes collect calls behind razor wire from the balcony in a downtown construction zone. Which is appropriate. He didn’t like communists either. Nixon wasn’t a Crook. Or least he would hardly be considered one in the current political climate. Get your house in order, and Free Julian Assange.
At least they play good music, even if they’ve never heard of good coffee. Good filtered drip coffee. Strong and black; cowboy coffee that smiles and wants to fight you, mostly for fun. No sense in ruining a good thing with all this espresso. This is too much of a dive to have this hip of clientele. The cool kids have followed me abroad. Girls with severe sideways haircuts, smoke impressively hand rolled cigarettes and pretend to be European. Which is amusing. No one is European these days. And I’m another knock off Bob Dylan or Hunter S Thompson, but with very little talent, just mucking around and trying to get by.