Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wooey Louie Gooey Phooey

I discovered Wooey Louie Gooey Phooey (actually Woey Loy Goey) on Jackson Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown with some fellow college students from Los Angeles on a little between-quarters getaway trip. We chose it on the basis of a sole criterion: it was cheap. After none of us got food poisoning, I returned repeatedly, even taking David Bowie (in his Lauren Bacall hair and man dress) during his first visit to the West Coast. But it was when I went back three years later that I had my most notable experience there.

I’d driven up to San Francisco to try to hide from my own broken heart. Having endured three and a half years with me, P— had understandably (I realized much later) decided she’d had enough. I spent a couple of nights with a former girlfriend, but then her latest boyfriend returned to town, and I had to fend for myself. I went to Wooey to ponder my next move over a big plate of noodles, and there espied an attractive rock and roll type girl. This was fully five years before I officially renounced shyness, but I managed to invite her to enjoy my company somehow or other, and was cute in those days, so Kim Paternoster, as she revealed herself to be called, needed little convincing. I slipped my arm around her waist as we watched ducks on Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, and she didn’t slap me. By the time we reached the lake’s opposite shore, we were in love, or at least had our tongues halfway down one another’s throats.

We spent one night together at my former girlfriend’s sister’s home in Novato. Kim demonstrated greater control of her vaginal muscles than I’d ever encountered. I was sufficiently impressed (and sufficiently terrified by the prospect of the loneliness and despair that eagerly awaited me back home) to invite her to return to Los Angeles with me and be my gal. She accepted. When we stopped for gas in Santa Cruz, she said she didn’t like sugar-filled soft drinks; it was a wise, ahead-of-its-time thing to say. Many years later, her policy became my own.

About a hundred miles farther south, though, I decided that I owed it to myself to continue trying to change P—‘s mind — that is, not to bring Kim home to Laurel Canyon with me. She was understandably pissed off. She asked that I pull over and let her out so she could hitchhike back to her sister’s. I wondered if I were making the wrong choice, but she was already out of the car with thumb extended.

On the way home, I heard Bachman Turner Overdrive’s "You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet", John Lennon’s "Whatever Gets You Through the Night", Billy Swan’s "I Can Help", and the Three Degrees’ "When Will I See You Again" 15 times each. I haven’t heard any of them since without my heart breaking again a little bit.

Back in LA, I failed to change P—’s mind, and tortured myself thinking about what might have been with Kim, whose phone number I hadn’t thought to ascertain. Lennon had had an extended lost weekend when Yoko Ono left him, and now I had one of my own. It was a struggle to keep myself in one piece until four o’clock each afternoon, when I permitted myself to start self-anesthetizing. Once drunk, I would hope that the young alcoholic downstairs would want to play knob-controlled mechanical hockey for a while. I was spectacular at it, able to score from anywhere on the ice.

Eventually it occurred to me that I wasn’t doing myself a huge favor continuing to live in isolation way up at the top of Laurel Canyon, however lovely the views three days a year, when the smog ducked out for a cigarette break or something. I moved down to Sunset Blvd., into a former hotel turned apartment building popular with prostitutes and sliemballs, and lived out the rest of my days in serene bliss, or at least got through them somehow.

No one has decoded MIWFWYD, from yesterday, yet, and my spectacular new album remains to be won! Facebookers: Subscribe and read more here.

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