Content is content.

8.6.14
Been reading through my travel journal lately, seeking inspiration, and I hadn't read much of it since I first wrote it. This is a bit I never posted from April 2012, just getting back to Los Angeles from Spain after three months out: 

I arrive in LA and pick up my baggage, and I get a cab to the hotel. The hotel is very beautiful and very convenient but the room is small and definitely not worth the $400 a night or whatever it is.

I can't smoke anywhere, and there is lots of noise and lots of rudeness and tons of skin. I failed to notice, although this is one thing I always forget and then am reminded of when I get back here, that shorts are not common in Europe. In Europe, they have these things called skirts, which apparently are only useful anymore in the States when at work or on a first date. 

So all the tits, short-shorts, and yoga pant crack-ass is a shocking welcome home. 

I decide, for some reason, to extend the trip by pretending I am French and speaking with an accent. It works beautifully. I convince everyone and it keeps the homeless from continuing to ask for money.

First night I get home I go to Misfits with Robyn. We have bacon wrapped dates and I have a steak. It’s good to see her again although I have not slept in 24 hours and it is effectively 4 in the morning for me.

I get to bed at 12 thinking Im going to lay down some good sleep but I am up at 5:30 with no hope for return. I give in, shower, and walk. Its very beautiful at this time of morning, there are no people and it is very quiet.

I've gotten very good at wandering around. I have also gotten very good with not considering how I will fill my days. I didn’t nap all day. I just wandered and sat and watched and listened and began designing my tattoo.

I also realized I don’t feel the need to drink as much.

So day two is a Sunday and I have nothing to do again. I go to a French restaurant called Le Pain Quotidiene, or something similar. This is when I begin to act like I am French, but not really on purpose. It's because I am a little used to speaking English like a French person. And immediately it is assumed that I am French, and it seems I am treated nicely due to this fact, so I go with it.

I go with it at the restaurant, and then at the tobacco shop where I lie my ass off and tell him I live in France and then again at Nordstroms, and I'm kind of liking this.

I don’t do much on this day but sit in the park and draw and watch people and all of a sudden it is dusk and I go to BOA steakhouse to have a real American steak, which I have been craving.

It's very windy and by the time I get there my eyes are watering so I ask the girls to seat me in the single-guy-crying section and they laugh and sit me in a row of couches which actually turns out to be 3 guys, all at their own table, eating. So there is a single guy section after all.

And the guy next to me says, in an Australian accent because he is Australian “If you fancy a steak, I recommend the strip.” So I tell the girl that I will have what he is having and she asks me if I want broccolini as well and I say yes. Fine, fine, just give me what he has. And Im feeling very good, but also a bit like I'm drugged and maybe this is not real because again, it is 5 in the morning to my body.

But this is the meat: the guy is 32 and three days ago he got up from his desk in Canberra, Australia and decided he was not going to sit there anymore and he drove to the airport with his passport and his suit and his phone and got the first flight to the US.

He had never left Australia before. And he was having a “how-the-fuck-did-I-get-here-moment,” just like I have had a hundred times.

How I come to bump into these people over and over is a mystery to me, but fascinating. Really fascinating. 

We talk throughout dinner and at the end of it we shake hands. I walk myself through the third-street promenade and there is a dark haired kid, maybe 15, playing the electric guitar with speakers blaring Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. And I can't keep my eyes of off him. He is amazing. I stay for four songs and throw a 5 dollar bill in his plastic jar. His dad is there, with a hoodie on, taking a video.

And what is more amazing is watching all the people who walk right through his set-up without even turning a head, as in between and over the cord leading from his guitar to the speakers, like if you were to walk behind a counter at a convenience store and pay no mind to the fact. 

I sleep maybe 7 hours. Up and to the shop to get the tires plugged. I thought two of them were flat but only one needs plugging apparently. Guy doesn’t charge me, just says tip my guy. I give him $20.

In the parking garage there is a girl in pink pants, a Mexican girl, and she has two friends with her. She is looking at me as I park and I smile at her and she walks up and asks me if she can have a picture with my car. And here again, I act like I am a foreigner.

I say "of course,” and then I pull the car back out of the spot so they can get a good picture and she gets in the driver side and her friend gets in the passenger side and the guy takes some pictures. Then the pink pants girl gets out and wants a picture with me in front of the car.

I don’t know why any of this is happening. Perhaps she thinks I am a celebrity or something, but she wraps her arms around me and the guy takes a photo. She says thank you and that it was really nice of me to do that and I park the car again.

Interesting start.

I go back to the same French place and have bread and jam and a soft boiled egg. I watch people for two hours.

I go to Venice and I get a massage from Reggie, who is heavily tattooed. We don’t talk much for the first 20 minutes but then the floodgates open. He studied philosophy and massage and the University of Ottawa, he has gone to Paris but only Paris, but loves to travel. He surfs and plays in a band with the same guy he has played with since he was 10. They played at the Whiskey A-Go-Go last week and that was a dream come true.
Again, another like-minded-soul, and at this point in LA, I may have lost count.

I get a bite to eat and drive to Dani’s to give her the chocolates I bought her in Spain as a thank you for watching over my car. She reports that she is deciding to leave and go for a trip as well, although points out that it has nothing to do with me but it is because she feels she is having a mid-life crisis. She says she wants it to be spontaneous, but can’t stop planning. 

I tell her is easier once you get used to it. I may have said before, the step off the plane is the hardest, the free-fall is brainless.

And then in the afternoon, I take a scotch down to the sitting area outside the hotel and a homeless guy approaches and asks if I have a cigarette. I hear him but pretend I don’t. He gets closer and asks again.

I say “cigarette,” and he says “yeah do you have one?” and I say “bien sur,” and he sits down directly next to me and I light it for him. Normally, this would be very off-putting, just me and this homeless guy sitting together smoking.

He asks me if I have any food. I tell him my English is not very good. He makes a gesture like eating and says “food” and I say that I don’t have any and that, again, my English is not very good.

He says “I understand man, I get it.” And then we sit there in the sun and I am very calm and I do my very best not to change my energy output and after about two minutes, at a moment where I have my eyes closed and am feeling the sun on my face he says “just relaxing huh,” and I look at him quizzically and he says “relaxing?” and I say “yes, yes, its easy to relax,” and he nods his head and takes a drag and puts his head back as well.

And then we sit there in silence and we both watch the people go by and when he is finished he wishes me a good day and I do the same and that part is over.

I try and nap, but it won't come.

So I go to a restaurant on the corner and order something small and a glass of Tempranillo. Steak and asparagus marinated in miso. It’s good. The manager comes to ask if I like the way the steak was prepared and I don't say anything because I am chewing, but I nod my head. 

After that, he leaves me alone, as I am content to be. 
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