I’m singing in the rain..just singing in the rain….
My butt is back in Los Angeles. 20 miles from the airport, it took two hours to reach my abode in the hills of Silverlake last night. The rain making all the drivers, who lets face it, get little chance to practice their driving in the rain skills, a little crazy. Plaining everywhere and stacking up the freeway. The bus drove like it was being film in slow mo.
I took a quick glance around my apartment, making mental notes of its set up for consideration of changing it around, thinking of props I need to add to make it my own. This may seem a little extreme for a two week stay but I’ve learnt, if I shift stuff to my liking straight away, I settle easy. I slipped each foot into a carrier bag and stuffed them into my leaky boots. I wish cows would shed their skins like snakes so I could have leather boots that keep my feet dry and toasty, and last more than a handful of months. I headed straight for Flore http://www.florevegan.com/. And my waiter helped me to decide on the reuban. A vegan version of a well known NY sandwich. Warm, toasted spelt bread, lifted by vegan butter, and layers of marinated seitan, cashew cheese and sauerkraut. I circled a mustard squeezy over each sandwich triangle and sunk right in. My eyelids fell in unison with my shoulders…..hmm, a deep sigh escaped and floated like a feather ot the floor. I felt home. Home. Not a physical place that can be mapped on a GPS, but a little homestead inside me.
As I savoured each bite, trying not to glance over at the stacks of cupcakes in the display cabinet, I thought back over the last few days and the distance that now existed between me and San Francisco. Not just the city scape, a gridded blanket thrown over knuckly earth, but the smells of steaming masa flour, frying oils, eucalyptus, weed and roasting coffee beans. The people whom I met; Craig – the Jim’ll Fix it of the US and my dinner pal, Ruth, Jihad and Danielle the cafe chica’s who welcomed me with a smile everyday, Skillet, my little four legged homeboy, the unfathomable (to me) but exotic Spanish, spoken by olived skinned Latino’s. The same people who readily forgave me for speaking scant, stumbling, Spanish and every smiling store person who cheerily answered all of my needs, all the fun people I got to share time with at the volunteer organisation, and each bright little child who made my heart ache and my face hold a smile as they read books about loosing beach bags and pencilled answers to how many bananas remained in baskets after sums were subtracted.
My expereince of San Francisco had been a slow burn experience, the first few days there left me lost and flat. I found it a challenge to connect. But as each day passed I rose like a Victoria sponge and in the pockets of air, people and places floated happily like weightless astronauts (too many similies…perhaps, but who makes the rules anyhow?!). In the five or six weeks I lived in San Francisco I could count on half of one hand the times I felt lonely. The city filled me, lapped outwards to the shores between my body and the air, and I LIVED. I feel close to tears as I write this but I let go of the self imposed restraints, in place to keep me safe. Life sometimes charts a course that veers wildly away, like jerky dodgem cars, from experiences, that in the past, scalded me. I enjoyed the break from the morning run, enforced by a sciatic nerve that pinched in my spine, looked forward to my daily massage to put it right, and time on the rather odd looking magnet therapy machine that clicked through my body and made my muscles jump. I sat for hours in the Sugarlump cafe absolutely engrossed in a surreal book, discovered in the back of the wooden wardrobe in my apartment on Shotwell Street. I stayed up too late and failed to set my alarm clock for 6am. Watched a famous member of Talking Heads and Dave Eggers play a bloody good game of ping pong at a book tour called Everything is Pong, written by two very funny authors; Eli Horowitz and Englishman Roger Bennett. I had FUN.
Los Angeles feels a world away from San Francisco. I needed to try and recapture the excitement I’d felt here only a brief time ago, so I wandered to Echo Park and sit now, amongst the stacks of print in the Stories book shop. I don’t want to label how it feels to be back here. Want to leave space for it to come to life…rather like a colourful, pop-up children’s book. Afterall, it is me, my thoughts, my reactions that determine my life.
I have a foot in two camps, I’m kinda acting like a child dipping its foot in a flowing river and an adult who knows that good ALWAYS shows up.