[11/25/2020> Back to the Black Hills, August 1994, picking up where post #811 left off...]
[where we're writing from]
August 3 [1994—Custer, South Dakota]
I'm at the poet's table [see above] and i just added a poem to their log. Interesting little niche.
Did Fine Line (5.10b) and Some 5.8 next to Gold Line. Bruce led the 5.8 and Matt led the 5.10b and i followed, a great route. Nice to climb w/ someone besides Bruce. He's really getting on my nerves... always losing or breaking my shit, such a slob and think's only of himself. My climbing is going to shit cuz i spend so much time belaying him up easy shit.
Yesterday DD needed some help so i stayed. Bruce took the truck and drove all the way back to Custer so he could have music and then to Rapid City and then comes back and leaves the car at OBC [Oriana's Bookstore Cafe, where we worked]. After i got off work i got into the car only to discover it had no gas... Bruce had burned thru a ¼ of a tank + didn't bother to refill it. I had to go back to Hill City cuz i knew i wouldn't have enough gas to get to Custer. Hill City had no power so i couldn't get gas anywhere. So i had to hang out in Hill City for 2 hours until the power came on so i could gas up. When i got home Bruce was out with Lisa, his new thing. Laura calls me and wants to spend the night cuz she had to work early and didn't want to go all the way to Keystone. Hmmm. What is it with these local 18-year olds looking for out-of-towners as a way out of South Dakota? So i said okay and told her she could sleep in Bruce's bed after shooting the shit w/ her. She's a neurotic freak.
I need to write. I need to give my voice a voice... a voice of fact, to the point, no opinions or descriptions or metaphors, just straight up words.
[then we pasted this into our notebook:]
[I am sitting on what was Bruce's hide-a-bed. I've been wrestling with it all morning. Stupid thing won't fold up.] All the metal bars of the frame just jam up against each other like the skeleton of some fucked beast. Seems like a metaphor for something. Finally i took out the mattress and got it closed but it keeps wanting to spring out on its own accord. I put the cushions on and i have to sit on it just to keep it from popping up but the second i stand up it will spring open.
Where to begin... what spurned this chain of events? The Bruce situation was building tension, he was getting on my nerves more and more. After stranding me in Hill City with no gas he was 3½ hours late to work (which reflects poorly on me since i recommended him for the job) the next day cuz he got caught up on the Conn Diagonal. I told him before I wouldn't do the climb w/ him cuz he wasn't good/fast enough to pull it off before work at 3 so he did it w/ Val. He's been having this thing with Lisa which is cool cuz it got him out of the house for a few nights. So I'm not sure all that happened, we stopped talking on the way to work and back and then one night DD called me while we were closing and of course Bruce invited himself along. We tried to shake him, but he didn't get the hint. So we drove all the way to Hisega, her cabin way out there which is really cool. We sat out drinking on her patio overlooking the creek + he kept interjecting himself in the conversation, being really annoying and i could sense DD knew i was annoyed. I felt like he was this cumbersome piece of baggage or like a stray dog that just starts following you + even when you shoe it away it has nowhere else to go. A few days ago Rusty and Scott came into town and we'd go out after work, Bruce always tagging along and of course i'm having to buy his beers cuz he never has money. And then coming home to our shithole but i always have to clean cuz Bruce is such a slob. Living together, working together, climbing together... it was such a bad idea. I'm giving up on climbing cuz it's the only time i can find to get away from Bruce cuz he always invites himself along. I'm souring on the idea of climbing anyway, been thinking a lot about the vanity of ambition especially in light of reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I was thinking of selling my rack, etc.
Then a day or 2 later DD calls and says "I want to see you" which sounded weird cuz she's my boss and she's a bit older, not to mention a lesbian. Wasn't sure what her intention was, we thought the invite a few days before was just friendly. Then again came the problem of what to do with Bruce, cuz she made it clear that this time she just wanted me to come. So i gave him the keys to my truck and got a ride with Bob to DD's cabin. He seemed a little surprised as i grabbed a bottle of red wine and a 6-pack (that she had asked me to bring). Bob stayed a bit then left which was a bit awkward, but we sat on her porch with candles, red wine, the starry night and the stream running beneath her patio and then suddenly she said "I want to kiss you, can i kiss you?" and i say i'm not sure i'm ready for that, trying to come up with some excuse, that i never thought of her in that way and what about Angela? She said they were just business partners and not in a romantic relationship anymore + that she was bi. Then she said i had beautiful skin and asked to touch my face... what was i supposed to say? I mean it was sensual to be touched and i think she's pretty, especially her doey eyes, but there was something just sort of glazed and vacant about her like she was drunk even tho we didn't have that much to drink. Then the subject of sleep came up and she said i could sleep in her bed and we didn't have to do anything. But it was still weird and i couldn't really sleep even though it was a big comfy bed and was a nice change from sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor. Then i had to get up the next morning and deal with Bruce's shit again. I dreaded it. She dropped me off (after we stopped at the Cafe and Matt was giving me shit, "where did you two come from?" and now i'm sure everyone knows i "spent the night" w/ the boss. I was tired as shit from not sleeping so went back to take a nap cuz i had to work at 3. Bruce told me the car wouldn't start but i was too tired to deal with it and too furious to take a nap. At 2 i tried push-starting it to no avail. Completely dead. So i said, "man, you have a knack for fucking up everything you touch. I know you can't help it, but you do." That's all i said and would have liked to say more but he doesn't say anything back and too much has built up to repair our relationship. I felt bad as it was a mean thing to say, but something needed to be said. I called the cafe to get a ride and DD happened to be there. She came and i walked down the drive to meet her and said i wouldn't be able to stand being in the same car w/ Bruce (who of course also needed a ride) so we left him there. Then Bruce called the cafe and asked to speak with DD. He told her he was leaving town and gave her his forwarding address. He said that if I gave him one night he would clear out in the morning, so i spent the night at DD's again, again having to resist her advances. Then the next morning she took me back so i could fix the truck and as we were getting near there was Bruce on the side of the road, loaded up, hitch-hiking out of town. He didn't see us i don't think. But i wasn't sure what to do. I felt terrible. I could at least give him a ride to Rapid City to help him out but i needed to fix my car first and it was too much to ask of DD who was already annoyed that he just quit on her. I started working on my truck when Scott drives up and ends up he happened to be going to Rapid City so i asked if he could give Bruce a lift. I couldn't fix the truck, it wouldn't even jump start. Not sure what Bruce did to it. So DD says i could borrow her Honda. So we drove to the cabin she's been sharing with Angela + Navajo Joe and these other cats running in and out. The car had been sitting for 2 years without running but started right up! So i drove that car into work. It was totally dead. We sat around inventing dishes, mixing Guiness w/ esspresso (Guinesso!). This job's pretty cool, learning a lot about cooking + wine, etc. After work i drove the Honda home. It started sputtering and losing power on the last hill up to Custer. Bad, old gas probably, that had collected moisture. The cops came and told me i had to tow it. Same cop that always seem to have their eyes on us, waiting for us to do something to give them an excuse to harass us. Sat in the cop car waiting for the tow truck. This old man Leo came and towed the car to his shop and gave me a lift home. I didn't want to deal and needed to sleep. Woke up, took a shower and grabbed a screwdriver and wire-cutters (my toolbox was in the Civic cuz i though i might need it to get it running) and walked down the drive to where my truck was. There was a Parking Violation on it, that it was in violation of "abandonment"! [see above] even though it was just down the drive from my house. Same fucking cop that made me tow the Honda, really has it out for me. I traced the positive terminal until i found a corroded junction where it went back into the fuse box and fixed it.
I'm laying on my salmon colored couch with the black velvet El Matador over my head. Not the crack on Devil's Tower. I went to the tower with Scott on Wednesday. Slept on the side of the road, woke up and did Soler (5.9–). It was grueling and hot, but got up in good style and summitted since it was Scott's first time up. We were too sun-stroked to do anything after that. Watched the thousands of bikers then took forest service roads the whole way back, excellent scenery. Even passed an archaeological did and stopped to check it out. Yesterday went up to Cathedral Spires with Scott and did Eyetooth (5.8), a really surreal looking spire. Matt came up the 4-5 gulley as we were doing it and did East Gruesome with some guy. It was cool to watch from our vantage up the spire. Then we did this scary 5.8 called Allusion down in Pavilion Spires area. 2 rusty bolts in about 60 feet of steep sustained face climbing. Drove DD's Honda to her place, sputtered and stalled the whole way. Made sushi and drank wine.... still not sure where this is leading. Much as it would be nice to have a relationship w/ someone with this cool cozy cabin the idea of commitment seems a thread to my personal freedom.
[Eyetooth in the Cathedral Spires]
Drinking coffee and eating cereal in the afternoon. Wishing i had all day and night to write but i made plans as usual. Not that i know what i'd write anyways. My days are being filled and i'm not sleeping much. Yesterday i woke up at 7:30 after getting work at 11:30 and did Empire State Building (5.9) a most excellent route that Matt led. Then i was going to do this 5.8 on amphitheater rock that ended up being Cosmic Kidz (5.9) which was a pretty bad route, easier than 5.9 and the bolt placements were inconsistent, one right a ledge that sets you up for ground fall for a long time, way run out even after some RPs and then suddenly a lot of bolts next to each other when you don't need them. Then he led Crystalline Lady (5.8) on Spindle which was classic, over-hanging hand crack through vermin nests and then run-out face. There were no anchors so we devised a way off just in time for work at 3. Had a $115 day (in tips), did more dishes at close than i've ever done before and then DD wanted to see me and i said something like "i want to be by myself" and she took it all personally, being over-sensitive. I met Matt at the lake the next morning at 9 am. We resigned ourselves to a mellow day. I led Pestilence (5.9) and he led The Way It Is (5.9) on Hornsby rock. Poor contrived routes w/ bad bolts. Then i led this new 5.7 called Lander Turkey Chute which was classic. Big knobs and jugs up a [very steep arete. I came back and slept for 3 hrs and now am going to Deadwood.... followed by this page w/ I Ching oracling:]
Won another $20 in Deadwood. Went with Matt and DD and we spent the night at her place. She started to go into her "I just want touch you routine" so i had to set things straight. Last night she called again at closing wanting me to come over. Luckily i had the excuse that my car wasn't running. The night before Matt borrowed my truck to recycle and when he got back to OBC it was emitting a putrid smoke and the steering column was literally on fire! Had to spray it down w/ the hose. So yesterday after work i got a bunch of wire and connectors and set to work fixing it. I took off the cover to the steering column and it was a total mess. All the wires were crispy and melted and fused together. I sorted out which wire was which and rewired them and now the lights and stereo work. Took this journal up to the poet's table the other day but didn't write in it. I climbed the peak above poet's table (hard 3rd class w/ boots) and found a cave at the base of the rock near the table. I'd really like to write a poem or story about these car problems, the car as a modern day "vehicle" in the same sense as in Hinduism, how Shiva's "vehicle" was the cow Nandi. I.e. a vehicle to my spirituality or lack thereof. The vehicle i brought to the Black Hills that when others drive it they fuck it up, that only i can drive it. [Then we drew this diagram of where we've taken our truck and the various issues we've had:]
We went back to Deadwood after work and i won $60. Unfortunately they have a $5 max otherwise i could've won more. And a $2 minimum so not much room to vary your bet. I'm figuring on average i can make about $5-10 an hour counting cards, if i could bet more i should be able to make more, especially w/ more of a range to work with and 1-2 decks instead of the 4 they have in the shoe... but with such low stakes you have to spend a long time waiting for the shoe to get hot, not sure it's worth it, but good practise for Vegas. DD had some lame party at her house after so i bailed. Then she called me at 1:30 in the morning being all weird, says i led her on by inviting her to Deadwood, that i'm giving her mixed messages.
Had Monday and Tuesday off, Monday i went for a long hike starting at the spires and going to Sylvan Lake > Lost Cabin > Willow Creek > Harney Peak [drew map]. Tuesday went climbing w/ Matt in the morning. I led some 5.8+ on You Bet Your Ass pinnacle that was worthwhile and steep. Then Matt led Bronchial Distress (5.11a) which was excellent. I still have yet to fall in The Needles. Then we TR’ed Bean Visage (5.10) an excellent route but it would be a seriously scary lead. Matt went to work and i went and free-soloed Hobbits Have More Fun (5.7) thinking it was Riddle. Scary cuz i wasn't sure if i could downclimb if i got in trouble. Then i soloed Riddle (5.6) which was totally cool crystal pulling, with an overhanging roof even. But there were no anchors and i couldn't simul-rap by myself so i climbed down the chimney and did a scary traverse onto Northeast Slice (5.4) and soloed that. Once again, no anchors so i had to downclimb on loose rock til i found a suitable horn and left a sling. As i was walking out i ran into Laura the hug freak and we were going to climb until i realized i only had one 9 mm so we went skinny dipping and then got a paddle boat and paddled to the cliff on the far shore of the lake. I got out and free-soloed up that face barefoot (in my underwear) and even saw a bolt along the way. Laura was down below sunbathing in her bra and underwear and my mind's wandering cuz she has a nice body. I jumped from on top and then we went back and i traded her my U-lock for a pizza. Then we ran into Martin and Larry. Today i did laundry and looked forward to next week having 5 days off, moving to Hill City and in the grander scheme of things thumbing through the Trekking in Patagonia book. Off to work.
Aug 27 — Hill City [SD]
Moved to the Johnson Hotel in Hill City. Needed a new perspective. Feels almost like traveling, living in a hotel. And so convenient, across the street from OBC. Got off work and went with Matt next door to the Reno Gulch and then after drinking a few i can just stumble home across the street and here i am, in a big, clean, well-lit room with an old tub (no shower), wood floors and large hard bed w/ sheets. Haven't slept between sheets for a while (except at DD's). I think this will be a good environment for writing.
Laura kept bugging me the last night in Custer. She came by at 11, "I was in the area, can i spend the night?" So i pointed to the extra pad on the floor and then she whined about how she was sore and needed a massage so i massaged her back then she said her pecs were what was sore so i'm basically massaging her breasts and before we get carried away i said i had to go to sleep and then she complained about the foam being hard or saying she likes to sleep naked... what's with these teenagers in Custer!? I'm thinking "what's my problem, a nice, healthy sexy 18-year old is basically begging me to have sex?" But i refrained and i'm glad i did.
Seems the more you want to hang with yourself the more others want to be with you. I enjoy just being by myself. I am undertaking Ulysses. I haven't been writing much. I am building up my standards. Everything til now has been practice. Joyce is teaching me a lot but perhaps he is unnecessarily difficult. Like he had something to hide.
[... this journal continues in post #817]