A couple of years ago I wandered into a bondage-themed nightclub looking for some good music and walked out with a job as a dancer. My descent into the weird world of fetish would provide many solid, pith-helmeted anthropological conclusions regarding the human condition.
- Everybody looks better in the dark.
- Being onstage makes you really attractive, even if you are really not.
- Females are very, very different from males.
- There are some seriously disturbed people walking around free in our society.
IT WAS A DARK and stormy night. Literally. I had just moved to the Bay Area and was dead broke. I knew some people who worked the door at the Trocadero Transfer in San Francisco who told me the music they played on Wednesday nights was right up my proverbial alley and never mind that it was a bondage club–there were really cute girls with complex hair and tight, plastic clothing there. And I could get in for free. Free is good. And so off I went into a night that would change my life forever.
My first impression of the club: lots of smoke, lasers and torches. A chain-link fence surrounds the dance floor on three sides. A glance to the right shows a girl removing her top and putting her arm around a statue of a crying angel. She poses this way while a guy with alarmingly greasy hair snaps her picture. She then nonchalantly replaces her top and the two head for the dance floor.
A very petite girl sidles up to the bar next to me, alone, forcing herself to appear like she is having the time of her life, although she obviously is not. I feel sorry for her, sort of, so I try to strike up a conversation, asking her name. This quickly gets far more complicated than it really ought to be. She doesn’t speak a hell of a lot of English. After much verbal wrangling and screaming at each other over what seems to be an ever-crescendoing level of noise, it is established to some degree of clarity that her name is Yvi and she is an exchange student from Hamburg, Germany. I try to bring the dialogue to a quick close, but she has fingered me as a nice guy and wants to talk more. Our intercourse is, needless to say, somewhat problematic.
“So how long have you been in America?” I yell.
“How long have you been in America?”
God only knows what she says in reply, but I nod at her encouragingly like I hear and comprehend. She starts talking about something and seems to like whatever it is she is talking about because she keeps nodding and smiling excitedly. The truth is I can’t hear a goddamn word she is saying. But I nod every few seconds and laugh when she does. She seems to get a lot of enjoyment out of the conversation.
- Benjamin Goddamit Franklin, may God rest his sweet, patriotic soul, invented daylight saving time just like he invented electricity and he was obviously a genius and how dare you or any other non-genius fuck with Uncle Ben’s ideas. They didn’t put your ugly ass on the hundred dollar bill now, did they? Alright, look…you need to remember a couple of things. Absolutely, Ben Franklin was a genius. A great many of his inventions propelled America and mankind into the future that we enjoy today. However, Ben Franklin lived in a world without electric light and climate control. His nights were lit solely by candles and oil lamps, and even though his idea of shifting the clock around was pretty clearly meant as a joke, and he had likely been into his cups when he wrote this letter, it did make some bit of sense then to suggest that opening business an hour earlier during certain months of the year would reduce candle usage. American businesses haven’t relied on candlelight or oil lamps in more than a century. Even candle shops now use electric light and computers. The position of the sun no longer has anything to do with when we can and cannot work, play, cook, read, et cetera. If B.F. were alive today, I suspect he would want to pimp-slap all those who have mindlessly remained allegiant to daylight saving time. He invented his stove to more efficiently heat houses: he would certainly acknowledge that central heating and air is a vastly more safe and effective method of climate control, and would likely insist on having it in his house.
- It will save energy and money. Poppycock. Patently untrue. In fact, the exact opposite holds true: hundreds of millions of dollars are lost every year due to employees arriving late for work, conference calls and meeting missed, and overall productivity lost. Doctors tell us that dicking around with the clock and one’s sleep schedule increases the chances of heart attack significantly, leading to hundreds of millions of more dollars lost in medical expenses. Sleep loss, the disruption of the Circadian rhythm, greater susceptibility to illness…all of things lead to lost productivity, lost money, and ultimately increased energy resources. And having citizens in the work force arrive home at the hottest part of the day ends up using significantly more energy than would be used otherwise. Just ask Arizona. They ignore DST (as does Hawaii) and they do just fine. In fact, neither of those states have nearly the same number of rolling blackouts during the summer as California does. We have them regularly throughout the summer, during DSL. There has never been a rolling blackout during Standard Time.
- The farmers need daylight saving time to order to harvest their crops and get all their work done during the summer. I can’t even begin to understand this one. And I think that’s because this one falls in to the very strange category of many of the other lines of rationale I’ve heard to justify the menace of DST: people seem to actually think that DST adds an hour of time to the day. Like we ACTUALLY get an extra hour of daylight or the days are ACTUALLY an hour longer than they would be during Standard Time. To these poor souls I can say only that I will include you in my nightly prayers and hope that you aren’t a registered voter. Farmers go to work when the sun comes up, and they don’t spend the day watching the clock, waiting for 5 o’clock so they can knock off. Hell no. They quit work when it’s so dark they can’t see what they’re doing. They don’t give the slightest of damns if you insist it’s 5:00pm or midnight: just stay out of their way.
Every now and then, it is necessary to point one’s car south, punch the gas, and scream down to Tijuana to dance with the girls in the red dresses. Which is what happened in a fit of Halloween pique. The first couple days were great, but then there were complications, and I ended up staying an extra week and a half as a guest of the state. Which was fine: I have many stories. All of which will be told in grand manner. But now I’m behind schedule on everything.
As I crawled into bed this morning, I scanned the headlines to see if there was anything that needed dealing with before I went to sleep. The first headline I saw was: ‘Scope Boffins Poke Inside Uranus for Mystery Spots. I closed the computer and went to sleep, and had simply ghastly dreams about a roving band of amateur proctologists who called themselves The ‘Scope Boffins and chased me about the dreamscape of my already wine-dark psyche, trying to violate me in the name of preventative medicine and sport, as I ran and ran, scream the first rule of the Hippocratic Oath at them. It was horrible and I was happy to wake up.