May 31, 2020:

With whom then was I genuinely friends?

I liked the bikers in OB. Tony Tuinal and Tiny and Shamu. They were honest. They lived in a very open way, where they told the truth about their feelings, and they were loyal to each other. There were very occasional suggestions of incipient violence, but mostly they were too stoned to tussle, and too loyal to harm one another. They'd give each other hugs when they felt hugs were needed. If you played Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry", Tony would bawl out his eyeballs. Big dudes in colors, openly sentimental.

I liked the students at UCSD, especially my three girlfriends there, the girls I'd met at Mission Beach, bored while their boyfriends were surfing. We talked at the taco truck and they took me home, to Tenaya Hall and the Che Café and the Women's Center. They taught me things, and were very patient. They still are. We've been friends almost fifty years.

There was a girl I admired, Debbie, a sarcastic intellectual, who turned me on to Dostoyevsky, one of the first moments of enlightenment that eventually turned my life in a productive direction. We were never close — I wasn't close with anyone. Truthfully we barely knew each other. But I liked her and am forever grateful to her for helping save my brain.

There was a very beautiful girl, Cynthia. Light dripped from her like golden sparks. She was extraordinary because she was kind. She espoused nonviolence, played guitar, and told me of tetracycline, for which I credit my ability to have ever had a sex life. I felt calm when she was near. But we never knew each other. To me she seemed like a being of light from another universe.

My real friend, all through those years, was Craig, my neighborhood bestie and compatriot in bike rides and basketball. We understood things. But I drifted from him as I got deeper into drugs and bikers and college girls. Exactly at the moment his father died and he was diagnosed with diabetes. That is, just when he could most have used a best friend.