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By zwhite (Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:01:59 AM EST) introduction, storytime, mercedes, g1, bill (all tags)

This story is more introduction than anything. Elsewhere was an interesting place, and it had an eclectic cast of characters. This story is from the early days, but there's a lot of back-story before this, which I will hopefully get around to writing about.

I was there when the lease was signed in late 1999, and I was there helping with the last bits of painting after we moved out in early 2001. (I believe the eviction notice arrived in time for Christmas that year.)


How to describe it? Elsewhere was probably the most appropriate name this place could have. From all appearances the place looked just like any other warehouse space in West Oakland. It's not until you got to know the occupants that the name starts to make sense.

We'll start with G1. He was tall, charismatic, wicked smart, and bi-polar. In the beginning, the back part of the space was his, and the rest was workshop and storage space for "the co-op." G1, G2 and I were working to build the business that G1 and G2 had started. (G1 and G2 share a first name, but luckily we normally used G1's nickname so it wasn't often a problem.)

G1 was very much a social creature. His charisma meant he got along with everyone, and when he was manic he was a blast to party with. Sometimes his mania would take a geeky direction, and we would build things for days on end. At one point, he and I would get fired up about, "smoking hash and scripting bash," and we'd do exactly that, trying to out-do each other. I finally conceeded defeat when he implemented DES in pure bash.

The Party

There were more parties at Elsewhere than I can recall. We'd find any (or no) excuse to party. For this particular party we were celebrating a Saturday, which was a little strange since we held the party on Friday evening.

At this point we had built out G1's space. It had 6 ft walls with shelves to on each side to act as beds. The inside was painted black and all lighting was provided by black-light. Stencils painted on the walls provided indirect lighting courtesy of the blacklights. The shade cloth covering the 10ft above the walls to the ceiling closed off the space. As we had built this by hand, and G1 had both designed it and done most of the work, he had a very proprietorial attachment to the space.

The People

For essentially being geeky hippie punks we knew a surprising cross-section of people. G1's charisma was great at attracting a variety of people, and on this occasion I recall numerous geeks, UCB students and a few berkeley punks. Social lubricants were mostly pot and alcohol, although the latter in limited amounts.

Earlier in the week we had met our neighbors upstairs, who spent a lot of time walking around above us on their hardwood floors in high-heels late into the night. Strangely, they were also up at 9am on the mornings we actually had to work. I'm not sure what fueled them, but I have my guesses.

What do you mean take off my shoes?

This was the first party where we'd have a carpeted area, and G1 wanted to keep it nice for a while. His solution was to place signs at the entrance to his space asking people to remove their shoes before entering. He provided cubby holes for people to place their shoes in, much like the ball pit at the local pizza joint.

Things Start Going Downhill

Sometime after the party was really going, and most people had migrated from the co-op area to G1's space, the upstairs neighbors showed up. I'll call them Bill and Mercedes since I don't actually remember their names.

At the theshold to G1's space, Mercedes stopped and looked at the sign. Walking inside and talking at the same time, she asked, "I don't really have to do that, do I?" G1 barked at her to remove her shoes.

"What do you mean take off my shoes? I don't *really* have to, do I?" Mercedes was making her best please-let-me-have-my-way-because-I'm-a-girl face.

"Mercedes, leave my space, or take off your shoes."

"Oh, it will be fine, I won't hurt anything." Mercedes found a seat and sat down.

At this point, several things were apparent. It was blindingly obvious to everyone in the room that Mercedes didn't understand the rules applied to everyone here. It was blindingly obvious that Mercedes was used to ignoring rules at will because the only rules she ever ignored were "silly." It was also obvious that a confrontation was brewing, and at least one party to the confrontation had absolutely no idea it was about to happen.

G1 calmly grabbed the mossberg that was sitting behind him. Fixing Mercedes with The Look, he announced that she was leaving.

Still not comprehending the situation, Mercedes tried to reason her case. "You're not seriously going to pull a gun on me just because I won't take my shoes off, are you?"

The only answer G1 gave was to pump the shotgun and level it at her. "Walk."

After escorting Mercedes out, G1 came back and put the shotgun away. I had already repacked the pipes and filled glasses as needed. Bill said to G1, "Sorry about her, she's a bit of a princess sometimes," and the party was back in action.

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ancient history | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)
I told clock I'm not compelled to write by zwhite (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:04:51 AM EST
But I have some stories from my past, and maybe I can share them. Is there any interest in more of these? Almost none of them involve shotguns, but this is the story that was rattling around in my brain when I decided to write, and I decided it'd make a good introduction.

Nicely told. by ana (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 07:04:59 AM EST
I'd read more of this kind of thing.


"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

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please do by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 11:54:10 AM EST
I started writing old stories in diaries, and it's become a habit that I now enjoy (even though it's more of an occasional habit these days). I thought I'd run out of stories to tell, but while I was writing the ones I knew about, more life happened.

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM
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I can't seem to find the 5 button by zwhite (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 05:59:03 PM EST
So I will settle for giving you a 4 for that "more life happened" comment.

[ Parent ]
WIPO: Pork by Herring (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 05:05:58 AM EST

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Why do girls feel entitled to pull that crap? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:17:49 AM EST
The vag is a powerful muscle, but certainly not *that* powerful?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

mostly because they get away with it by zwhite (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:30:31 AM EST
which I suppose is true for most, "why do X do Y" questions.

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ancient history | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)