Second week in a row we have tried to see Hidden and second time in a row we have been denied. Last week it was sold out, this week it was a showtime that shouldn't have been listed in the newspaper. The box office girl said if we wanted to see something else we could for free. Factotum seemed interesting and it was starting within the hour so we got tickets to that and then went to Readings Books. De Campo bought a Bukowski and I bought a Micallef. She also snared John Water's Pecker (No, she didn't buy his penis, although she did enquire and the clerk led her to this movie he made in the 90s that co-stars Martha Plimpton). I bought the Galaxie 500 Peel Sessions too, in fact I am listening to Blue Thunder right now.
I read Factotum in one sitting on a dark night of the soul in a doctor's villa on The South Coast of Spain back in 1998. My groin was pink from dozing off nude on the Mediterranean while meditating in the sun with my free-spirited cousin Jim. I was a lot older then, I am younger than that now. So anyway, Factotum. The book was seedy yet easy to like and the sentences rollicked one right after the other. Reading about dingy bars and deadbeat jobs was indeed disconcerting in sunny, sexy Spain but Bukowski is extremely funny and quite impressive the first time you read him. Watching him fail at job after job got me thinking about a few of the crap jobs I have had.
I picked strawberries every summer as a kid and the stint felt like an eternity (it was probably a few weeks). The first season I used my earnings ($70) to buy my first walkman and a tape of The Scorpions' Blackout. I was 10 years-old and hell on wheels. For the rest of the summer when I tried to erase memories of waking up at dawn every morning, there were berry stains on my fingers to remind me.
My second job was stocking the fridge in my friend's parent's 7-11.
My third job required me to load large wooden boxes with burlap bags full of frozen king crab. One of the crew was a cocky Mexican named Julio who hardly spoke any English. He told me he was hot stuff on the basketball court and I took that as a challenge to get some of my white suburban friends together to take on some of his Mexican brethren, Sharks vs. Jets-style. We clashed in a ghetto locale. I ended up twisting my ankle and holding back the tears as the Mexicans routed us.
When I was 17 and on summer break a bunch of Safeway employees went on strike and a job opened up for me in their produce section. Every morning I passed picketers standing outside who called me scab. A 20 year-old who I later learned thought I looked like her boyfriend who died the previous summer took a liking to me and we started hanging out. She took me to a party and I ended up getting really sick and embarrassing myself and the relationship fizzled out before I even got the chance to kiss her.
Before my first year at college I worked at the steel foundry my Dad did 40 years at. From 9.30pm to 6am I flogged steel castings with a sledge hammer. My boss looked like Bill Gaines from Mad Magazine and had a crazy addiction to Habanero Peppers. A chain link fence separated my work area from the railroad tracks and every so often a train would roll past. Once the Barnum and Bailey circus train went by and I saw lions and tigers and elephants and zebras, and for a brief moment there, the world was unreal.
So anyway, Factotum. To these eyes, Matt Dillon can only play a form of Matt Dillon, so playing the grand asshole of late 20th century letters is a bit of a stretch. Factotum is pretty boring, even though I quite liked the scene where he gets crabs. Bye!