Jesus, it’s HOT right now in LA. I’m suffering from heat exhaustion…well, probably not but I AM pooped.
It’s been a day…..formed by men..not man..men. A trio of hombres. No..GENTLEmen. Well two out of the three were.
Beep, beep, beep, beep. The day began at 5:45 am. I was sort of awake anyway. It hadn’t been a template night for deep slumber. It had been nearly 2am when I crawled into bed…without much hope of marking up many of zzz’s. Earlier in the evening, just as I was locking up the Lodge, a tall, dark haired guy with a booming voice, was standing on the deck as I was turning the light switch by the old fashioned Baker Lite trumpet phone. ‘You hiring?’, I had him repeat his question. He’d thrown me with his seeming ‘beam me down Scottie’ materialisation at the door. ‘No…no thanks, we’ve got it covered. ‘Those oranges free?’, he said, eyes fixed on the basket full of freshly picked oranges from Chrissy’s parents place. I handed him one. The biggest. Without another word he turned and walked back down the deck into the trees before rounding the building and jumping in his truck. I stood there spooked. My imagination was trying to get me to think like a writer of a scary movie. ‘Don’t go there’, I told myself but decided to give up all expectations of a decent nights sleep. I was not going to imagine him returning…standing in the Lodge at 1am, wearing lederhosen, juggling oranges and performing his best horror movie evil laughter performance and freaking me out. No, no, no. I think I managed to grab a reasonable two hours of sleep, though I may have kept one eye open like a dolphin.
At 8am I was ready. My bags parked by the door like a pack of hopeful dogs. A friend stopped by to say goodbye, mesmerizing me with the ribbonettes of feathers she’d fixed between her curls. I felt numb. Like someone had pulled the power cord to my heart out of the wall. Chrissy had arranged a friend to drive me into LA. He was wearing on a beautiful shirt, so white it was ‘TV Commercial’ clean. A blue tie. Tailored suit. Not your typical Idyllwild attire. We talked non-stop as we cruised, unhindered in the car-pool lane of the freeway. Topics covered…entreprenuership, agism, anthropology, love. We grabbed for solutions to the unworkable and ineffective notion of war, and the futility of the ‘creepy crawly’ method….sqaushing something with the bash of a shoe to stop it from disturbing you. Once in Downtown Thomas led me to his expansive office suite and gave me carte blanche to use anything I needed. I’d failed to secure a place to stay the night before, and had scrappy bits of paper with nonsensical numbers of vacation rentals scribbled all over them. Fired up by the incredible kindness of Thomas and backed into a corner to find a room pronto, I muted the fearful voice in my head, said a little prayer and called Stan. I’d spoken to him the night before…he’d confused me with his open nature. He spoke to me like a friend who’d he’d known for years. I was torn…ooh, is he going to creepy, am I going to wish I’d stumped up the extra bucks and stay in a grotty hotel? As I sat in Thomas’s plush conference room, ten floors above Figeroa st, I had the thought, ‘what if EVERYONE I meet EVER, is so full of love and kindness that I ALWAYS get to be happy’? ‘How would my world be if I REALLY believed that?’. I believe it. My life has changed beyond belief since I dropped the fear like a hot potato…but do I BELIEVE it beyond doubt?’ No, but I want to. I ignored three of the other contact numbers I had. Called one, half-heartedly. I actually wanted them to say they had no availability. They obliged. I called Stan. ‘Hi honey…I was just in the garden’. 15 minutes later he was outside the building calling to me out of his car window. ‘What about if I don’t like the room?’ I asked as I got in, keen to be as honest as he. ‘Honey…..I’m not worried…it’s clean..you’ll like it’. ‘If not I’ll take you to the Comfort Inn’. He smiled at me. Commented that he liked me already as we had the same Hollywood-white teeth. The state of flux in his car and the crackling of cheep plastic water bottles, spent, at my feet did nothing to shake me. Stan was a delight! Flamboyant, cussing, colourful, say it like it is….that’s Stan. I was grinning ridiculously all the way to the little dungeon room (dark…one window) in his studio I was to rent. I didn’t care about that. It was clean. I liked it enough. Stan was right.
After dropping in my bags he drove me up Sunset to Hollywood and he went off to Home Depot. I walked, hugging the buildings to get shade, alongside the movies stars names, sunk in the sidewalk. Underwhelmed…not really feeling it. The area was a little sketchy and I decided to just go back to Silverlake. The cool cafes. The beautiful homes built among the cerese flowers, fragrant jasmine and shady trees.
I was humming to myself as I walked. Looking all around me….taking it all in. Still thrilled to be in America. ALWAYS thrilled to be in America. A billboard over a shop with two feet drawn upon it, and a $15 sign caught my eye. Without a thought I went inside and was greeted by man #3. He spoke little English and my Mandarin is non-existent. He just smiled and nodded and beckoned me into the darkened room. The massage chair was surprisingly soft. I sunk in and stared into space whilst he bathed my feet before commencing to dug his knuckles into my feet. He squeezed my toes and ran a strong thumb up my calves..making me wince and dig my nails into my palms. A row of tables to my left, had a guy, fully dressed, lying face down on it as another guy used his elbows to knead his muscles. I wished I’d booked that too……. When the time was up my little man motioned me over to the massage tables to lie down. What the…? It was my lucky day (life) I then received a back and head massage too. I had to stop myself from giggling like a loon! Wow! $15 for over an hour. $15! The Gods are smiling on me for sure. I’m smiling right back.