How Crypto Saved My Life in July 2017
“…you would be crazy to gamble on infinity like that.”
On Saturday, July 22, 2017, I would have missed speeding up to Ventura after my morning run — for a water polo scrimmage! I would have missed scoring and making a steal as the only girl in the pool and joining my teammates for a few rounds on the waterslides at the aquatic park afterward (as if we were not middle-aged and all that).
I would have missed fresh seafood with the team in Oxnard and talking about opioid addiction and politics over our too-large meals. Mostly I would have missed hanging out at a beach up the coast, where I got to pass around a football with the Handsome Former Member of the Colombian National Team whom I have had a crush on from minute one (and whose back I like to gaze at); and then talk quietly with the Grasshopper Taco Guy, under the beach umbrella I bought from Big 5, about real estate and bitcoin and travel and art and writing and the edges of maybe a little relationship stuff even. I cannot tell you how much I would have missed the Colombian’s goodbye kiss — a real one with his entire cheek — when for a split second there was nothing in the world for me except the sensation of his dolphin-like skin pressed against mine. Likewise I would have missed a hug and a kiss from the Grasshopper Taco Guy on the side of the road before we got into our cars. I would have missed, perhaps even more than those moments that I allowed myself to believe were connections, keeping the secret from these men how much I treasure those kisses, so that they might kiss me again and again and again. Meanwhile I would have missed bitcoin sautéing over $2800 and ether popping back up around $235, and the crypto market cap re-creeping over $98B for a hot minute.
On Sunday, July 23, 2017, I would have missed scoring two goals and blocking one during water polo practice with the guys. I also would have missed talking about puberty with the golden-eyed Iranian over Mediterranean food with some of the team afterward. How much I would have missed living the only life I have ever really wanted — spending the afternoon with a book. From Love, Africa:
And I learned that when you really begin to love the sweaty craziness of something, when you’re in the daze of it, nothing else matters.
Also I would have missed Jim Jarmusch’s film Paterson — about a poet bus driver in New Jersey — reminding me that splendor vortexes in the everyday. But mostly I would have missed the ache, throughout the evening and accompanying me to sleep, of pondering the question I overheard from a guy on my morning run two days before: “How would everything need to be for the next three years if you wanted to look back and say those were the best three years of my life?”
On Monday, July 24, 2017, I would have missed wishing someone important to me a happy birthday. I would have missed appearing in court on behalf of two clients and doing my best to help them untangle things. And I would have missed sharing with someone — in a work context — my own recovery experience. Fuck — the breakthroughs in our communication and connection that followed! Having my own assumptions about humanity demolished is a lesson in humility that, I hope, will stick with me all the way to the grave. I would have missed looking into the eyes of many different human beings throughout the day. And I would have missed leaving the car running at a red curb on the corner of 8th and Grand and not having to climb over the railing to retrieve the hoodie I had forgotten there a quarter of an hour before — because a guy whose name I will never know was kind enough to get off his stool, reach down to the ground, and hand it to me. Thus I would have missed a moment that seemed so pure amidst all the animosity and adversariness that I’ve steeped myself in with crypto, politics, dating, the world — and btw I am still shuddering from that president’s speech to a crowd of 40,000 boy scouts last night because children are our only hope and should, in my view, be instilled with the value of respect for other people — and, lest I forget, the economy. I would have missed missing art and beauty throughout the day, and remembering there have been periods in my life when those elements of humanity were all that mattered. I probably would not have missed monitoring the day-long stasis of the crypto market because — just like every time things stabilize — it only presaged another crash that happened while I slept.
On Tuesday, July 25, 2017, I would have missed sending this message to the entire federal indigent defense community in Southern California in response to a notice that Elyn Saks, a professor at USC Law School who has schizophrenia, is coming to speak at the Federal Defender’s Office:
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, I would have missed getting to thank Elyn in person after her talk — and the astonishment that she remembered we had corresponded so briefly so long ago. I would have missed the humor, warmth, humanity and terror of her story, and being surrounded by such a large number of my fellow colleagues at the Office who carved time out of their day to attend. I would have missed hugging one of my co-counsel, who, I learned, refers Elyn’s book to clients and their families sometimes. I would surely have missed a dear friend’s birthday celebration and bonding with our common friends over the havoc that this presidential administration is wreaking on the world. How sad — and demonic — to attack us transgender people out of desperation for political capital with a base that froths with bigotry and anger. Not that I apotheosize the military, but 19 other countries allow transgender soldiers to serve openly and without fear of their own government’s wrath and inhumanity. I really would have missed setting up my own independent bitcoin wallet for the first time, in advance of the forthcoming chain split, buying some more ether on a downswing, and wondering how much crypto I would need to leave the country and start out somewhere else when American society collapses further into autocratic theocracy.
On Thursday, July 27, 2017, I would have missed that first breath of air walking out of SFO, which — even after all these years — still smells like home. I would have missed the Caltrain rides to and from Mountain View — I have always so loved the lightness of spirit that comes from moving through space on rail. To think that I used to believe I had to travel to the ends of the world for that feeling… only to return and find it again right there where I am from. I would have missed the Computer History Museum and meeting new people at another blockchain conference and hugging the Energetic Young Man I met at Consensus in New York and another I know from Ethereum meetups here in LA — and saying Hi to one of those guys who was talking too loudly at the Baths about litecoin on July 6. I would have missed the news that the White House Communications Director trashed the White House Chief Strategist about sucking his own cock (what is happening?) and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. promoted an ICO on Instagram (seriously, what is happening?). I also would have missed bitcoin bouncing back up to a better comfort level over $2700. Before I forget, I really would have missed hearing Nick Szabo — the guy who literally thought up smart contracts back in 1994 — speak about blockchain and the law. And I would have missed speaking with the man on the flight home to LAX who had such beautiful shining longish brown hair, even though he was wearing a wedding ring. He kept talking to me as we deplaned and I sensed that both of us wished the conversation could have continued.
On Friday, July 28, 2017, I would have missed my eyes welling up with tears over the message a childhood friend I recently reconnected with on Facebook posted — apparently without solicitation:
I would also have missed walking out of the Hollenbeck Precinct in Boyle Heights shaken but determined to fight back after a sergeant threatened me for trying to report the theft of my labor and professional services by the United States District Court for the Central District of California, in connection with the Constitutional challenges I am prosecuting on behalf of my indigent clients. I would have missed discussing the incident with a colleague at a coffeeshop where a close friend once told me something about his penis. I would totally have missed meeting the Semi-neurotic But Loving Famous Friend at Voda and decompressing over such a tumultuous week from the White House that it is difficult to remember what happened on what day — let alone all the things that have happened that we ought to keep track of. And so I would have missed the reminder that I am not alone in feeling exhausted, and exasperated, with the continued dissolution of civility and stability in our nation. I would have missed that flat note turn to sharp as Congresswoman Maxine Waters reclaimed her time from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and just basically installed herself on the firmament of inspiration for us all. I would have missed bitcoin hanging onto the $2650 range, but I would not have missed ether slipping further down toward, and I think back into, the $180s.
On Saturday, July 29, 2017, while reading Homo Deus by Yuval Hariri, I would have missed a visit from this little guy:
I also would have missed how this passage in the book paints a picture of what I have been experiencing since I got into crypto and started this writing project:
We mortals daily take chances with our lives, because we know they are going to end anyhow. So we go on treks in the Himalayas, swim in the sea, and do many other dangerous things like crossing the street or eating out. But if you believe you can live forever, you would be crazy to gamble on infinity like that.
I would have missed Jimmy The Carpenter accepting the invite I extended to my Dear Baby-Faced Lawyer Friend’s 30th birthday and a blanket of strange letdown-slash-calming-reassurance when he texted that he wouldn’t be able to make it after all because he miscalculated driving time. I would have missed floating around a swimming pool in a pile of men, exchanging glances with a grandnephew of Ayatollah Khomeini, and flirting with my friend’s little brother — a fine specimen of 24-year-old masculinity, replete with Persian calligraphy tattooed over his left pec and everything. I do not know whether I would have missed the awkwardness of being kissed on both cheeks by the lipstick lesbian who was a little drunk and complimented me to the point of slight uncomfortability as she dangled from the balloon tube on which I was suspended in Time and Space while the sun dipped in the sky behind us and the girl she’s fucking smiled down at us from the pool deck.
On Sunday, July 30, 2017, I would have missed waking up to bitcoin pushing $2800. I also would have missed scoring a goal at water polo, and receiving a compliment from a teammate whom I complimented right back, for the color of his light pink and baby blue suit highlighted his tan skin just so — and I also would have missed placing my hand on the Italian’s flank to say Goodbye at another player’s farewell lunch afterward. Same goes for the Egyptian, who sort of stumbled toward me into a hug, but then backed away as I did, because I wasn’t sure at first whether he was going to… and also because I think I like him and I don’t want to like anyone anymore, it’s just too fucking horrible with all the transsexual bullshit and people’s hang-ups and all the society-crap and endless complications of not only being human but also being something slightly less-than-human in most people’s eyes — a sort of mutant, but with traces of identifiable human characteristics and wants and desires, to be pitied, or at best experimented with, and then left on the sidelines to rot. At least the Italian brought up crypto and we got to talk about bitcoin and ether for a while — I would have missed that part for sure. I cannot tell you how much I would have missed the drive up and then back down the 101 — traffic wasn’t too heavy and I just rolled down the windows to let the warm summer air in and cranked up the EDM and basically let everything go and it’s a wonder I get anywhere without crashing — maybe I will and it will all be over before I get to the end of this project. On that note, I would have missed catching “Here On Earth” by Tiesto, and listening to it, on repeat, as I type this entry, reveling in the chorus “Feel alive,” which is very much how I do indeed feel rn, and how I imagine I will continue to feel… as bitcoin continues flirting quixotically with $2800 and the stupid BCC fork [later add: remember when we used that ticker for like a sec?] looms in six hours at 12:20 UTC. I would not have missed the scary interaction I had with the neighbor up the street who glared at me and then retreated into the shadows when I confronted him about blasting music in the driveway on an otherwise lovely Sunday evening, but I think I would have missed saying, The hell with it, signing up for an HBO trial, and starting Big Little Lies.
On Monday, July 31, 2017, I would have missed wasting my morning on watching for price movements in advance of the bitcoin fork, and paging through various monitor websites and Twitter trying to understand what was going on. As I cascaded into my work responsibilities in the afternoon — justifying my late start with It’s vacation month! — I fretted that I have thrown all this time I’ve spent on crypto into the toilet, I should’ve just bought some bitcoin and ether and litecoin and HODLed and never looked back. How much closer would I be to where I’d like if I had expended all those hours on something else — anything — like my law practice or my other work or, God forbid, my personal life. But, then again, hasn’t crypto kinda become all those things for me? It seems to have invaded my consciousness and affected the insides of me and formed me into a slightly different person — just a bit more skeptical, cynical, calculating, defensive, less trusting, more aware, and sadder, but also somehow happier, and meanwhile lighter, more carefree though only because less caring, and certainly hungrier for risk, greedier yet far more satisfied with what I have, and further inclined to value my life as it is today while also daring for more. I surely would have missed all those sensations and thoughts and impressions running through me and likewise the charge that followed well into the night. I would have missed not being tired in the evening and staying up a little later than normal to watch Big Little Lies and the taste of figs and the warmth of bedtime tea — and stretching out on the floor knowing that everything could be ripped away from me any second and I’d have to start all over again and I could do it if I had to and somewhere inside me I stopped caring at all. Earlier in the day, I would have missed completing some work and administrative tasks that I could’ve put off but decided to do anyway — some busynonsense that dovetailed nicely into watching the anticlimax of a non-event fork that was supposed to occur at 12:20 UTC and ended up being a blip in the day amounting to little more than distraction.
On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, I would have missed wasting another morning trying to understand the bitcoin fork and what the hell is going on with bitcoin cash — which I think could very well turn out to be bitcoin trash. Its market cap reached like $12B this morning and has now plunged to $5B, and Kraken tweeted yesterday that BCH funding could take anywhere from 8 to 80 hours. I would not have missed the agitation of it all, but I would have missed the fun and nail biting because I guess I have fuck else to do with myself. I would not have missed spending the rest of the day in a funk, yet I would have missed somehow managing to clean the house — complete with scrubbing the appliances and vacuuming — and still getting a bunch of work done on my crypto and criminal matters. Oh my God that high: floating above and past the bullshit that otherwise I would have mired myself in. I drove up to the top of a hill on my way home just to catch this moment:
I would not have missed the loneliness that Big Little Lies ground into me with all the couples interacting and having sex like normal human beings, but I would have missed watching a single character fantasize about shooting her rapist in the face as he tried to break into her house, and then go to sleep with a gun under her pillow — because that is what I secretly wish I could do to my assailant so I never have to fucking think about him again, not ever. All of which reminded me of when Elyn Saks spoke about getting married in her late 40s and just not understanding the phenomenon of dating and feeling like an alien whenever she would see couples out in the world up until then. I would have missed all those murmurings inside me. And I probably also would have missed the sudden impulse to sell all my bitcoin before bitcoin cash crashes the market but then saying, Oh, fuck it, and just depositing most of my holdings in the vault because if it all goes to shit I can just blow my brains out when this project ends, so who cares.
On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, I would have missed the lightness that filled me after I cleaned the bathroom and saw the tiles glimmer and sparkle. I would have missed a Total Fucking Scene at the Los Angeles Central Precinct where I waited two-and-a-half hours in my vain attempt to file a report on the $18,803 that the federal court here made in unauthorized deductions to my attorney work vouchers: in other words — you got it — wage and labor theft by the federal judiciary. Tweakers wandered in and out at of the precinct at various points, requesting things like instructions on how to bail out their significant others and where to locate their cars. One gentleman shuffled in hunched over a walker, begging for the toilet — and, upon denial from a very sexy officer, threatened to take a dump on the side of the building, at which point he settled for some harsh light brown commercial hand paper “to wipe [his] ass in front of the cameras.” Seven or eight teenage boys, seated in a row along one of the walls — doing I don’t really know what — giggled. I would have missed a smile and a Hello from the lady who is always dressed nicely and reading quietly in the relaxation area of the Los Angeles Athletic Club outside the steam and sauna rooms pretty much whenever I go there. And I would have missed this sunset on my way home:
Also, there’s this. I would have missed Adam Scott telling Zoë Kravits during a yoga class in Big Little Lies something about loving to see sweat on women — which took me right back to all those wintertime afternoons when One of the Loves of My Life and I used to go at it next to the clanking radiator pipe in my loft bed back in New York, with my head an inch from the ceiling, as he rubbed his fingers around and around through the beads of sweat on my lower back.
On Thursday, August 3, 2017, I would have missed the sudden, panging acknowledgment that likely over half of my life is now memory. Moments later, the series of song things started happening. It started with one of the Beautiful Man From My Past’s songs popping up randomly on iTunes shuffle and reminding me of all those nights we spent together and so many other almosts strewn across my time on earth so far. Then came Gone Wrong by Moby, which reminded me of when I ended up sitting next to him at the Semi-neurotic But Loving Famous Friend’s party once, watching him watch something in my peripheral vision and longing to confess that Play encapsulated 1999 and the first part of 2000 for me — including my departure to the Middle East to work and accidentally become an adult — except I figured he might not want to hear a fan say something about work from so long ago and so I didn’t. And then it was one of a Best Friend From a Lifetime Ago’s songs, which reminded me of cuddling with him on summer nights when we lived in Prospect Park two decades back — I think probably more male-bodied friends would cuddle with one another if only they could? — and anyway all those evenings reminded me for some reason of a Famous Musician Friend of his whom I wanted to meet since even before I fell in love with his band during their first hit album while I was still in law school, but I didn’t, at least not for a long time, including a couple of years ago when I attended the premiere of a film he was in that screened at the Directors Guild. I wanted to introduce myself as the friend of my Best Friend From a Lifetime Ago, but I left without bothering him, just like with Moby. Anyway I thought that was that until the Best Friend From a Lifetime Ago came to visit earlier this year and we ended up walking around Echo Park Lake and the next thing I knew the Famous Musician Friend had treated me to lunch. Life is wow. I wore sparkly slippers even though it was rainy and wet, and the picture my Friend From a Lifetime Ago and I took prompted Mom to say, for the first time, that I look 40. The light was not flattering at all. And fucking then it was a Famous Shoegazer’s song — now, this one is the work of bursting art I used to listen to back in 2007, as I pedaled my bike along the East River to work, and also on weekend rides to the Staten Island ferry, on which I stood at the front with the sun and the warm wind blowing all over me, before riding to the beach which seemed special and a luxury because I couldn’t afford anything else — my point here being that I didn’t even know it was the Famous Shoegazer in our weekly group, the one I used to spend time with on Friday evenings for all those months… until suddenly, somehow, it dawned on me that it was indeed she — the very she who had sung the wonderful energy-song that had flooded through my computer’s crappy speakers the instant I stumbled upon the MySpace profile of that one gorgeous guy whom I do not remember anything about except that he said he was not like other people. Dare I also say — after All That — I would have missed ducking in to the Biltmore downtown, just because:
On Friday, August 4, 2017, I would have missed the pleasure of stumbling into fascination with some work on what I thought was going to be a routine legal issue. That phenomenon always feels like encountering a kindred spirit on travels around the world — Mohammed (Another Love of My Life) in a Cairo bar with sawdust all over the floor, Vahid my tour guide in Iran, the guys I went to bed with in Lebanon, Israel, Mexico… So many of my human connections have been with men — is it because I long for them so? Why do I remain so convinced that Jimmy will be the last one I ever experience? Why did the crush of that crush seem to break me for good? Am I that scared? Oh well. I would have missed receiving my first cryptocurrency hardware wallet, and being so excited that I opened the stylish package while sitting on the toilet. I would have missed driving to Koreatown with relatively light traffic even though it was rush hour — and the sense of lightness and joy that welled up in me as I headed toward my massage! I would have missed three legit naps on the heated marble floor of the spa, followed by a thrashing from the Little Thrasher, who dangled from the bar affixed to the ceiling and rearranged my muscular-skeletal system with her feet. I would have missed wondering why the fuck I didn’t treat myself to a massage sooner — especially since I have not been touched by another human being much since making out with the Gangly Indian Guy on May 22 — which doesn’t make sense because why would I worry about spending any more than I used to on a massage if I am just going to die anyway maybe. I would have missed spending the rest of the evening on a cloud, watching bitcoin blast past $3000, and treating myself to Big Little Lies instead of going to this disco party thing that I really wanted to attend but didn’t because I am secretly frightened of being around people sometimes, and, were I to meet a man, I’d just have to go through the whole transgender thing which is horrible. But, again, I guess if I am just going to die maybe anyway, why bother worrying about that shit show at all. OMG now I want to find a guy — or multiple guys, one after the other — to have sex with. I would miss that desire.
On Saturday, August 5, 2017, I would have missed this passage in Homo Deus:
For religions, spirituality is a dangerous threat. Religions typically strive to rein in the spiritual quests of their followers, and many religious systems have been challenged not by laypeople preoccupied with food, sex and power, but rather by spiritual truth-seekers who expected more than platitudes.
I would have missed Twitter-chatting with My Dear Friend From College and remembering when she and Another Dear Friend From College and My First Boyfriend tracked me down in Cairo — okay this was before the days of social media and lifelong connectivity — to stage an intervention across the Atlantic and North Africa and extract me from the Middle East where I had gone to learn global survival skills in the event of apocalypse. I would miss missing being 23. I would also miss wondering why it’s always so surprising to learn that anyone else ever thinks of me… but why would it be when I think so much, and so often, of them? Anyway. What I am saying is that I would have missed an e-mail from one of my very first federal criminal trial mentors asking me to have lunch and talk about writing, in response to my comments on the most recent chapter of his book, in which hitherto invisible aspects of his humanity and sexuality reveal themselves with gritty and heart-quickening splendor. And I would have missed crying all the way through Dunkirk, which reached inside me and pulled out the monster of devotion that I feel to humanistic ideals and the values of liberalism and civilization and oh my God those men and women civilians sailing straight into peril to retrieve their army and preserve life from tyranny is almost too much to bear. I would have missed stirring up these feelings over and over with Churchill’s fight them on the beaches speech in the car and welling up with passion over how Americans share the same dedication to freedom and what have I ever done to help or even deserve to live in such a country. I fight tooth and nail to defend the Constitution virtually every day — but is it enough? It is truly the most I can give? I would have missed bitcoin reaching $3300 earlier in the day — I took a picture — and the camaraderie I felt with women everywhere while watching the Big Little Lies finale all alone in my living room with the front door open to the breeze and the faint beats of music from a party down the hill.
On Sunday, August 6, 2017, I would have missed another sex dream with a woman — this one with hairy armpits — or am I blending the dream with a memory of that one hot Iranian girl — whoever she was — from my Dear Baby-Faced Lawyer Friend’s 30th? Either way. I also would have missed wondering, as I picked through my morning reading and current round of praxeological research and ontological questioning, whether what Americans actually share in common now is a sense of having been betrayed — by our leaders, but also by one another. Perhaps the most severe treachery I feel is being sold on Hope and Change by President Obama. No matter how images of him tug at my heartstrings, no matter how proud I am that our country was once good enough to elect him, no matter how I love the tenacity and brilliance he encapsulates — he extinguished the one thing that was always supposed to remain there for us, buried deep at the bottom of Pandora’s Box, when everything else failed. Hope has burned away, and the hole it left will scar memories of better times forever, for — I believe — we never really come back from betrayal. So fuck all that. At night, I would have missed Tindering for the first time in ages, very distastefully, but, even so, enjoying a chat with a cute doorman in New York and some other guy who likes the outdoors.
On Monday, August 7, 2017, I would have missed a dream in which I gushed Thank yous to my sex change surgeon on a street in Bangkok. I also would have missed being retweeted by someone with the same name as one of my favorite lovers ever — the Israeli architectural critic fighter jet pilot whom I met on a trip to Tel Aviv when I was living in Cairo for the first time at age 19. This was the guy I’ve written about elsewhere, who invited me home to his apartment where we made love under the mirrors suspended over his bed at various. “Practical art.” Fucking sexy-ass motherfucker. This is the one, you remember, whom I tried to find for four years by calling Information — back when we did things like that — to no avail… month after month… as one year became more… until finally, when I was in Tel Aviv en route to live in Cairo again at age 23, I made another attempt… and got a new number for him! Alas, it was not he, but, rather, another guy with the same name — and so of course I ended up at this new one’s apartment, too. Two guys in Tel Aviv with the same name — who were both gay. My life. The point here is that I would have missed all that while ether was making its way back to the party in the $270s, I think — or at least the $260s or whatever. Who the hell can keep up with the day-to-day fluctuations — the hours meld together like life itself. I would miss life itself if I were no longer here.
On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, I would have missed my morning run at the crack of dawn and the awe that swept through me as the tiptop of the sun rose piercing golden over the edges of the San Gabriel Mountains and streamed across the haze in the valley below — and the moon, simultaneously, hovered: a big, white circle, among a bed of lavender and light blue effervescence, above downtown Los Angeles. I would have missed making an objection that ultimately rehabilitated a juror in a trial that just started — but I would not have missed the sinking feeling that, no matter what I do — no matter what any lawyer could do — there is simply no way for a defendant in a criminal case to achieve fairness and a level playing field in federal court.
On Wednesday, August 9, 2017, I would have missed the taste of a tuna sandwich on whole grain with cheese, which I was able to enjoy even though we are given too little time for lunch during this trial and I had to scarf it down while walking back to court. Eating a sandwich always makes me feel normal since I usually steer clear of bread and cheese, so I would have missed being like other people for a moment. I also would have missed the blood coursing through my veins as I exposed the lies of a law enforcement witness on the stand before the jury. That is always the best part. Additionally, I want to tell you that I would have missed seeing — really seeing, maybe for the first time — how important a human can be to our society notwithstanding a learning disability, and how gentleness and certain unquantifiable perception skills may in the end matter more than scalable intelligence.
On Thursday, August 10, 2017, I would have missed the supervising assistant United States attorney at our trial make a reference to “the Zoe Dolan experience.” And thusly I would have missed doing something I love all day long — trial work — in a courtroom just above where I stood for the Women’s March earlier this year, then so full of people:
I also would have missed the sensation as I drove through my hood — for the first time, I think? — that I was home.
On Friday, August 11, 2017, I would have missed giving what I believe was the shortest — but probably the best — closing argument I have ever delivered at a trial. I am dreading the verdict because I do not believe my client should be convicted. Even so, I would have missed giving this case my best and my all, knowing that I have fought for another human being’s liberty tooth and nail. And so I must not miss regretting it my entire life if I fail. Afterward I would have missed trying to smile, on one of the couches where I sometimes lie down on breaks during trials here in the Central District of California.
Meanwhile I would have missed watching bitcoin just go up and up all day, and a text from Jimmy The Carpenter out of the blue. I would have missed spending the evening at his house and easing through the slight discomfort of not having seen each other for a few months as we talked on the surface of things over a red ember Wellington (is that what they’re called?) fireplace where he was burning sensitive documents. I love being inside his house among that aroma of soapy wood — I sometimes take out the shirt of his that I still have from when it apparently fell into my bag at the hotel on our trip to Palm Springs when we talked about crypto for the first time, just for that smell. I sat on his living room couch in a little black flapper dress with my legs curled under me and liked that he noticed. I would have missed being enveloped by his hug outside at the end — he still remembers what I told him about three-second minimum contact for triggering dopamine release — in the same spot where I told him I was born as a boy and everything came tumbling down. I would have missed realizing — though only after Facebook reminded me with a memory, today, the following morning, as I write this entry — that it was one year ago precisely when we met right there on his lawn for the very first time.
On August 12, 2017, I would no way in hell have missed the homegrown Nazi terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia — but I would have missed seeing how so many of my friends responded to the horror. I particularly would have missed the Semi-neurotic But Loving Famous Friend texting me right as I was about to turn the corner into my Ktown spa spot — as if he somehow knew — and then ending up spending the next few hours together hanging out in his backyard with his new (crazy) rescue dog and watching the sunset and gazing out over the Hills in one direction and downtown in the other –
– and then talking about Jimmy over (lackluster) Thai. The Semi-neurotic But Loving Famous Friend is convinced that Jimmy may be re-thinking the whole transgender thing… but I decline to entertain the possibility — although I would have missed a spark of hope that lit up inside me at the idea. I would also have missed bitcoin blasting past $4,000 to a market cap that — based on the most recently available data from the CIA — would surpass the Philippines’ M1 money supply as the 46th largest in the world.
On Sunday, August 13, 2017, I would have missed a call from Jimmy in the morning with one of his spontaneous business ideas — just like old times. I would have missed our conversation and mostly just the sound of a man’s voice from Somewhere Out There. I would have missed visiting my Dear Baby-Faced Lawyer Friend and coming upon him sunning himself in his backyard with his skin glistening and a pair of comfy shorts scrunched up around his cute little butt. I would have missed lunch with him where we had our first friend date three years ago, and then coffee at a place on Sunset, among beautiful people, everything floating about in a warm breeze — all of which prompted me to lean across the table and, smiling, whisper, “We live in paradise.” I would have missed finally returning to Love, Africa, finishing it, and realizing — after waves of gratitude for having the foresight and luck to strike out on adventures across the globe in my late teens and early 20s — that I can be really very happy right here as much as anywhere.
On Monday, August 14, 2017, I would have missed hearing the jury verdict fully acquitting my client; and getting to walk him out of the courthouse. I would have missed Jimmy’s excitement — and the joy of having chosen him as the first person to share the news with. I would have missed smelling his cologne as I picked him up for a celebratory dinner at Sage in Echo Park — on Sunset Boulevard, of course — and a little walk around Echo Park Lake, where I petted a pair of ducks while balancing on the balls of my feet as the feather-light fabric of my purple dress floated down around my ankles… until both of us realized we were suffering from some slight nausea from whatever kombucha concoction we should not have treated ourselves to. I would have missed pulling out one of my books from the shelves of Stories bookstore to show him, right before we got back into the car. And, on the ride home, I would have missed him mentioning — during his story about ending up on some driveway with an Iranian surrounded by transgender prostitutes — that he knew sex change surgery is a painless procedure from one of my Facebook posts; when I had just figured he was not following me all this time. And also, oh my God, how much I would have missed that goodnight kiss on the cheek, delivered spontaneously, almost like a reflex it seemed, which I will take to my grave as a secret between you and me.
On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, I would have missed a torrent of responses to my law practice e-mail update:
I would have missed questions from people about crypto and a couple of inquiries about potential representations in the space. Meanwhile I would have missed buying some more bitcoin around $4,000, well, just fucking because. But most of all I would have missed — can I say this — sleep. I would have missed at least three naps totaling 60–90 minutes on the heated marble floor of the spa, and — although it bleeds into the following day, today, as I write this, I really don’t care if I’m breaking the rules — a bliss-filled heavenly seven hours more of sleep. I almost believe I would have missed working and worrying myself to the bone just to experience restoration.
On Wednesday, August 16, 2017, I would have missed seeing War for the Planet of the Apes in the middle of the day and crying at certain points because it was so humanizing and severe. I would not have missed the sinking dread that I did not win my last trial because of skill or merit, but rather out of luck and various external factors and oh fuck it would be megalomaniacal and delusional to believe I held any sway over any of it. But, yes, I would have missed tumbling to sleep on the floor of the spa to escape those suspicions, and then doing the same again on my Japanese futon couch at home. And I also would have missed the feeling that my life and work could still somehow be worth it, somewhere deep down.
On Thursday, August, 17, 2017, I would have missed an hour-long online chat with the Husband of a High School Friend about crypto, in which he schooled me on the November fork and hash problems associated with multiple bitcoin chains and we challenged each other’s perspectives and agreed that any course from here involves risk — selling, HODLing, trading, staying in crypto, going back to fiat — and who knows what the hell to do. Afterward I would have missed experiencing my ongoing post-partum trial funk / depression interrupted by an email from a Don of the New York criminal defense bar that read “Wonderful” and “go get them kid.” I would have missed, in that moment, belonging to something far greater than myself. I would have missed raising the arm rests and lying down for a short nap in the middle of Atomic Blonde at Regal Cinemas LA Live 14 — because I was sleepy. I would also have missed finally reconnecting with Mom following our rupture a few days ago and making arrangements to drive her to and from her surgery next week — and basically just the sound of her voice when I told her that I would be coming after all and had very much wanted to all along. I need to remember how much I would have missed another full night’s sleep — eight solid hours of emotional and psychological reconstitution during this quasi-vacation week I am failing miserably at taking.
On Friday, August 18, 2017, I would have missed this project reminding me what life can really be. By early evening I realized I had failed to experience — or notice? — anything to write about, and so I took a little stroll downtown before hitting the club for a sweat in the steam room and sauna. Had I not done so, I would have missed passing an alley that reminded me of a side street lined with cafes in Cairo — replete with the unexpected architecture and dusty inner building facades:
I also would have missed simply looking up:
In conjunction with these moments, I would have missed wondering what it would be like if I were to make it to 69 and go back to visit the places where I lived, and the streets I used to walk down, in Egypt and New York and elsewhere, 50 years before. Those places in memory already seem like another universe now, just two decades later… Shit. Ok you guys, I would not have missed being awoken in the middle of the night by some loud banging that, in my grogginess, I thought was someone trying to break in, nor would I have missed returning to bed with my phone and knife beneath the pillow — insufficient replacements for what I really wanted: the arms of a man. But I would have missed finding the strength to fall back asleep anyway.
On Saturday, August 19, 2017, I would have missed saying Yes to an invite from the Semi-neurotic But Loving Famous Friend to his rental in Malibu, his Yes to my question whether I could bring Jimmy, and Jimmy’s Yes to my invitation. I would have missed Jimmy opening the back door of my car and tossing his stuff inside, and the aroma of him that never gets old, this morning all warm-and-unwashed-LA-Saturday like, cascading onto me the instant he got inside the car. Under one of the houses along the shore, I would have missed this experience:
And, back inside, I would have missed the Semi-neurotic narrating his and Jimmy’s search for me when I had run back to the rental get my phone because I knew I’d want a picture… while they thought I’d perished all of a sudden like Jeff Buckley. We all would have missed chilling and looking out at the ocean horizon and chatting — to a Spotify soundtrack straight out of the 1970s that made everything as if Joan Didion were going to show up any minute. On the drive home, I would have missed showing Jimmy my favorite views and houses on Mullholland Highway, and wincing at the attestation that his first reaction upon thinking I had drowned was that the world had lost something. I would have settled for mattering to a man’s heart. As I flicked through a few other pictures I took on the beach sometime later, I would have missed seeing how my physical attraction to Jimmy has simmered into sisterly love — but I would not have missed being hollowed out by the disappointment of broken hope.
On Sunday, August 20, 2017, I would have missed scoring a goal from the post during six-on-five drills at the end of polo practice, and then joining some of the team for a lunch around a circular table with a succulent garden in the middle for lunch afterwards. I would not have missed the twinge in my heart from six out of the seven others being paired up in romantic couples, but I would have missed the peace that overcame me because everything was enough in that moment, sharing a meal with my teammates, I did not need a single thing more.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, I would have missed getting over my stupid self and writing down my dreams from the night before instead of waiting to complete this writing project first. The goal is to achieve an existence of lucid dreaming throughout life, in which waking hours become less distinguishable from dreaming hours and the surprises and knowledges of the mind spring to the surface with less murkiness filming over the surface. I would have missed seeing ether up over 10% and then climbing throughout my morning read, though I would not have missed bitcoin continue to languish / spaz out as the various civil wars persist. I would have missed discovering just how far down the rabbit hole I’ve apparently gone, as I’d been retweeted overnight by MyEtherWallet — for a New York Times article on bias against women in economics, of all things. All of which is to say I would have missed wondering: Is this my life? Regardless of the creepiness — or perhaps because of it — I would have missed summiting the little mountain in Debs Park at the precise moment of the fullest eclipse we got to experience here in Southern California. At the car dealership, I would have missed the massage chair that reminded me I am carrying more than I need to in my back muscles, and that I need to seek touch. I would have missed e-mailing with a sex addiction fellowship buddy about how pointless recovery sometimes seems, especially now, when I might as well just give up because the whole relationship potentiality, and all associated hopes and dreams, etc., are probably all in the past, and so who really cares — and on that note it occurred to me that I slipped back into getting worked up about where bitcoin is going and whether crypto value will hold… but I might as well just let all that anxiety go because I’ve already decided that if things don’t work out, it’s simply Game Over and Oh Well. Entering Whole Foods for dinner, I’d have missed running into a renowned SoCal business trial lawyer who is in her 60s but looks like she’s 40 — though maybe it’s that she colors her hair and carries a bunch of extra weight that rounds out the wrinkles; regardless, her eyes twinkle — and a conversation that I suspect may stick with me for a while. We swapped war stories for a second and then she lamented how there are so few people anymore with “fire in their bellies,” so it’s very difficult for her firm to find people. They all want “lifestyle,” whereas when she was younger she knew she could call up a prosecutor’s office at 9:00 p.m. and they’d answer. “But if you want to be great at something…” she opined… and in that instant I came to appreciate that the only thing I have ever wanted to be “great” at is life itself — and I felt very glad that during my last trial I had gone to the spa in the evenings and processed everything so I could be fresh and alert and receptive in the morning and, ultimately, manage to connect with the jury as a human being. I certainly would not have missed my heart crumbling upon remembering that I am alone, and probably always will be. But whatever because, on the drive down to visit Mom for her surgery, I would have missed falling immediately in love with Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand by Primitive Gods. How has it slipped by me when it came out six years ago?! (And to think I sat down to write this morning, as I write this entry, thinking, Oh, hell, it’s been another of those days when I’ll have to reach because nothing really happened. Incidentally, practicing that reach over the past three months has transformed me into a new being.)
If this project speaks to you, please feel free to donate in crypto. Thank you for reading.