“Google: ‘Cheap things to do near me’” and “Fried Chicken, Jack Daniels, and other Southern Comforts”

By Kelso Becktol


Google: “Cheap things to do near me”

Top Suggestion 

● “Five Activities to do in San Francisco with Just the Right Amount of Trauma & what they Cost” 

1. Feeling lonely? Dissociate! Walk to the store but completely lose track of your body and mind and end up 3 miles on the other side of town! 

Costs: considerable amounts of confusion, lack of self- awareness, sore muscles, and all the emotional energy you had for the week! 

2. If you’re not feeling like getting out or have already tried dissociating, do nothing at all! Seriously. Stay in bed for 72 hours and you’ll avoid getting lost. This is an especially easy task on days where fog doesn’t lift. 

Costs: again, sore muscles, motivation, and lots of time! 

3. Stretch those sore muscles; Residents of the city are eligible for free yoga classes at city college and the Women’s Building some parts of the year. Beginners can expect crying in public and lots of yawning. Feeling sleepy? Refer back to number 2! 

Costs: possible embarrassment and misgendering, hyper-awareness, but maybe new techniques of coping with trauma! 

4. Lean into your escapism and visit a museum on a free day. I suggest the GLBT History Museum and read about some collective trauma for queer people. If you don’t feel like reliving your own pasts, maybe consider somewhere that’s less realism and more utopic. Introduce yourself to the coyotes at Coit Tower and fantasize about joining their pack. Visit the Science Museum and wonder what would happen if you jumped into the shark tank. Stop yourself from jumping in. Costs: a sense of reality, but it is subjective anyway! You should consider buying a postcard though, for the sake of keeping these places of magic alive. 

5. Sunday’s in San Francisco are reserved for worship, a calm kind of collection. The trees confess their sins only to each other. Brakes sing their falsettos down the hills like a choir. Wind flutters through the palms at Dolores like a light applause, like a gentle welcome into the city. Find a place and sit for a while. Let all the life around you bring you back. 

Costs: Breath. Lots of breath and emotional release. It’s going to cost your attachment to despair, but it is worth letting go.

Fried Chicken, Jack Daniels, and other Southern Comforts 

At the age of seven, I got my first pair of steel-toed boots. My untrained feet shuffled around my father’s worn down soles ‘til then. These were Tener’s Western Outfitters boots. Light tan hide, waterproof even. ‘Round here, new boots are luxury with a purpose. I only wore ’em three times. Leather grated against my achilles and my mama peeled my socks off with more holes and blood than they started with. They never met the wet morning grass that stood at my father’s attention on his way to work. They never met the sweat from fixin’ up the tractor or the heat of the unsheltered sun. The only grease that came near ‘em was from the bucket of fried chicken we would sit to eat after my father came home at the auto shop. Always KFC, brought from his co-workers extras and always at least a thigh and drumstick for me. Poverty was a hand me down we did not have the luxury of turning down. My father learned if he couldn’t provide for us, at least he could protect us. Even if it meant he would die trying to. Least that’s what he thought. See, when I got my first pair of boots I got my first job. I had to protect what he could not, so I got a pocket knife and his old .22. Wasn’t ‘til he went away the first time that I learned about the literalness stepping into his shoes. Wasn’t ‘til he didn’t wanna come back that I learned I couldn’t ever take ‘em off.

kelso is a non-binary queer poet from Oklahoma. They graduated with a Women and Gender Studies degree from California State University, Long Beach, and are currently working towards specializing in Trans Studies in a Master’s program at SFSU. They have published their first poetry collection Phantom Fantasy, which can be found on Amazon.

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