LA Heat Wave – Stanford for a Second

It’s the middle of a 2 week heat wave in LA. I’m sitting in my bedroom at my desk in front of the keyboard in nothing but my Lucky boxers. Its morning and I’m sweaty and tired. 3 of my 5 vacation days have passed now. My boss thinks I’m in Barbados but really I’m barely 5 miles from the office writing shit no one will ever read. No one wants to read. Maybe not even me.

The self loathing and the heat result in a severe state of nausea. Even the carrots won’t stay down. The only thing that could make this bearable is the weed but we’ve given that up now haven’t we.  I’m almost 27 now. Soon it’ll be 37. Shit. I try to play with myself to my favorite porn to get my mind off it all but with this heat it feels like I’m about to have a fucking stroke. I put some pants on and go on a walk around Culver.

I take a left on Motor as I walk out of the gate. Go past Venice to Washington, where the Sony Studios lot sits. On Madison and Washington now. Its peaceful so far. No one around. A nice breeze that doesn’t exist indoors. On my right, a building in the process of being torn down. Further up, a leaky fire hydrant bleeding into the street. Next to that, a young girl sitting at the bus stop by herself. I walk past them all down to the empty bike stands at the corner of Jean Place and Washington.  If it wasn’t for that Dentist office this area would remind me of the parking lot behind that Packard building at Stanford. For the first time in 5 years of walking here, it feels different, extraordinary. Beautiful and haunting. The parking lots. The feel of the gravel under my shoes. All together it smells of nostalgia. Both specific and general.

I turn into a random alley way and breathe in city smells. It looks Spanish back here. Or French. Something old worldly. I come around and end up in front of Saint Augustine’s Church. There are Mexican families scattered all over the front lawn. The guys wear oversized Affliction t-shirts and thick yellow chains and wispy Genghis Khan mustaches. Their fat sweaty heinas chatter shrilly and shamelessly over one another. Call me what you will but it doesn’t feel right. Like a loud fart in a quiet room. Like Americans in the sweaty Hawaii shirts and the worn white sox in brown sandals looking around, lost and dumb in front of the Arc de Triumphe.

Not the churches, not the bars, nothing’s sacred anymore. Everyone’s entitled to be a copy of a copy of the crap they see elsewhere.

As I pass they stare me down like I’m the village crackhead, like I’m the hypocrite. Like I’m the only one. We never see our own special brand of douchebaggery. We only see and judge others’. I’m no different.

I pass by a dirty out of place shopping cart in the middle of the sidewalk. Where’s her bum? She’s been abandoned. Maybe that’s what I should write about. An abandoned bum-cart trying to find its place in the world. Kind of like cars but more existential. How convenient that Sony Studios is located right across the street. Even a bum-cart can dream of being discovered, of becoming a star in Hollywood.

I turn onto Motor and see two Egyptian men with nice beards talking. One of them can’t find parking so he’s double parked with the blinkers on. Welcome to LA.

Further on down the street are two Asian grandmas coddling a baby. The one holding it keeps giggling while other makes Chinese baby voice noises way too close up in the kids face. Only the kid notices me as I pass. She looks calm and confused. I crane my neck as I pass and continue to watch. The kid has a bow in its hair and looks confused. Calm and confused. Must be a she. She stares at me without blinking as if asking me to save her. I’m sorry. I can’t. You have to deal with them until they die now. Or you, god forbid.

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