Ruby the Pizza Guy
Among the emails, phone calls, and notes congratulating us after my younger son, Reuben, was born was one from one of my oldest friends from San Francisco, asking if I had named him “after the pizza guy.” Reuben was named after my wife’s grandmother Ruth. But after he was born, and as we began to call him Ruby, I found myself thinking more about “the pizza guy.”
What do we remember about this place?
Those of us who can remember being children here remember the feeling of cold, the smell of eucalyptus, and hunger.
We all got high, mostly on pot that was stolen from someone’s parents. We got high on anything we could.
barely afternoon black sky arms and legs scent creaking against broad ridden dirt perfectly safe blue had spent a life repairing mangled bones crushed maxillas collapsed cheekbones torn lips hamburger meat bits of cement and asphalt embedded skin rumbling idle of steam age
It is approximately . . . steps from (1) my bedroom to K’s bedroom. Outside the green door of my green apartment building on Haight Street, the street sleeps. It is Tuesday night. Warm. Whenever I count my steps, I never stare at the ground and my left foot always advances onto odd numbers, my right foot even. The counting enables me, when I lose my balance, to regain my steps, so to speak – to locate tiny islands of assurance in a sea of personal anxiety and urban disorientation. The apartment I live in is located on a slope, a gentle incline that becomes a mountain whenever I come home late at night from Lower Haight drunk. It becomes an adventure whenever I skate down it.
The guy who sold us acid had lived in the park for six years before he started dealing, and now he had been there for almost forty which he said felt like forever and the place never went back to the way it was during the sixties. He was burrowed into a little hollow behind some trees just through the tunnel off of Haight Street on the way to the big colorful metal structure of the children’s playground, he rustled out and startled us with his voice scratch infested with nicotine Hey. You guys want some acid?