Archive for July, 2008

Ah, Los Angeles 6

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Earthquakes and other experiences, oh my

Other experiences:

You drive to Beverly Hills. There are several things that tell you you’re in Beverly Hills. First of all, almost all billboards are gone. Secondly, signage is in English. third of all, gas prices. You hit La Cienega and Beverly and the Mobil station welcomes you with it’s $5.19 for regular sign. Considering you just spent $4.49 in Silver Lake for regular, you feel pretty good about yourself. Odd to say that you feel good about paying $4.49 per gallon but it’s a sad fact. You wonder if this is the new separator. Instead of being from the wrong side of the tracks you’re from the cheap gas neighborhood. It seems fitting and proper that people driving Hummers and Ferraris should pay the most. People from the cheap gas neighborhood seem to all drive small foreign cars.

You go to Hollywood Forever Cemetery to watch a film projected against the side of the mausoleum. Hollywood Forever is where Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and Jayne Mansfield are buried. About seven hundred others join you. the night is Southern California perfect. To borrow a line from the horrible movie “Drag Net”, there are tens of stars out. Maybe eleven. You walk by ornate tombstones that quickly become Armenian, then pass James and Mary Schuyler’s monument before you enter a little park without, one assumes, graves, pitch your picnic blanket, eat and drink your fill and watch a classic movie. Macabre you might think but really delightful.

You go to the Hollywood Bowl. You’re invited to join friends at a box which is a boxed in place for four that can be converted to and from a picnic table with little effort. You bring the food and bring out your best Denver culinary effort only to find that four men sitting next to you did you one better. Well, maybe exponentially better. The food, the presentation and the conversation from their table is amazing. You try to hide what you’re eating and apologize to your hosts who shake it off by you can see them eyeing the other tables food enviously.

the music starts. You disassemble your picnic in mere moments, thankful that no more comparison will be made, turn your chairs around and take in the splendor of the bowl. You watch Pacifika, a latin american blend trio who are wonderful, then Sharon Jones a soul singer who keeps paces with James Brown when she wants to, and Feist. Her music is good but live she is great. The drive out of the Bowl is reminiscent of leaving Red Rocks after a concert only there’s 8000 more people to deal with.

By the time you get this, two things. Gas has gone down to a reasonable $4.19 per gallon and you will have heard that there was a medium (5.4 or 5.8 depending on seismic reading source) earthquake here.

Fascinating experience. You are standing. Your eyes, your inner ear and little muscles and nerves in your legs tell you that you are standing erect then your eyes, your inner ear and your little muscles and nerves tell you they aren’t sure any more. By the time your brain catches up, you’re body is moving as fast as it can. This earthquake lasted for 40 seconds. It’s amazing how long that seems while you’re trying to negotiate a house that’s moving faster than you can.

The latest wisdom is that you get outside. Easier said than done. If you can’t get outside, get in a space between heavy furniture and a wall so that the falling ceiling will not crush you under the bed. No one told the animals that. Your animals think under the bed makes sense.

You run outside and once you stop reacting and pay attention to the present, you look around and notice that neighbors are holding coffee cups, frying pans or, the Southern California pros, valuables. You look in your hand and wonder why you’re holding a tooth brush. It takes a moment to remember that you were brushing your teeth and you’ve dribbled toothpaste all over your shirt.

cautiously you reenter the building and call your animals. The cat assumes you did this to her on purpose and won’t talk to you again for days. The dog is under the bed and won’t come out without a fair amount of coaxing. Once out, he finds that more than a few centimeters from your ankles is too far. You’re in greater danger of tripping over him than being hurt as a result of an after shock. Telephone service goes out not because of downed lines but because everybody is calling everybody. You turn on your gas stove, after a thorough sniff test, and water taps to make sure that things are working as well as they should settle in.

You calm your dog which goes a long way to calm yourself. Speak reassuringly to your cat who hisses at you which reassures you as well and try to go on with your day. There is a sense of gaiety in the air. “we lived through another one” one guesses but nevertheless, it’s a very alive feeling.

You try to return to your routine but that just doesn’t make a lot of sense at the moment and you walk around a bit to reassure those sensitive nerves in your eyes, ears and legs that you’re just fine. They trust you just about as much as the cat but you do it anyway.

Ah Los Angeles. On a more personal note. We have lost our old cat who was 17. The cat referred to is a new kitten rescued by Stephanie a week ago. The black honda we had is no more. It was totaled by Audrey who, thank goodness, walked away unscathed. We’ve offered up a car and a cat to the god’s of Los Angeles and really feel like that’s enough.

Stef was in her first Hollywood premier at the beautiful Directors’ Guild Theater. She starred as the mother in “Trophy” an award winning HBO short by a young writer/director. It was well done on all levels. Stephanie was great