The past 48 hours stretched from Venice to Hancock Park, criss-crossed by drives over canyons, across the 405, and over to the Marina and back to here in Van Nuys.
I had meetings, as do all fervent Californians these days, meetings in coffee bars, meetings in offices, and meetings in my head. Fueled by $4 a gallon gas and $5 a cup coffee.
In Venice, on a Wednesday morning, I parked my car on Oakwood near Superba and took a long walk past those expensive cottages where freshly shampooed dogs traipse through fragrant gardens full of honeysuckle, lavender, roses and orange blossoms. The wind was blowing, the sun shined, and I walked down a street cleared of cars, when suddenly a street cleaning truck drove past me and kicked up dust.
Most of these old houses had new windows- decorative and quaint, derivative and rhythmic. Lots of people have borrowed a lot of money and emptied their bank accounts to produce these prosperous facades.
There was new housing construction along Electric Avenue: green manufactured horizontal boxes. Workers were also hammering up wallboard, carrying lumber, and unloading trucks and everyone seemed to be gainfully employed and industrious.
At Intelligensia, I sat and waited for one of the seminal moments in my silly imagination, to finally meet someone who liked my writing, and to talk with him about anything.
It turned out to be a warm encounter, enlivened by good coffee, beautiful weather, and dogs curling under my feet as I sat on a bench tearing into my croissant and iced Sencha tea.
Twenty odd years ago, I had worked in the Polo Mansion on Madison Avenue in New York, mostly in the (don’t laugh) Boys Department.
During a frantic post-Christmas sale, one of my customers, Michelle Klier, stormed into the room and over to the sweater wall and pulled out a large white brick from her purse which turned out to be a mobile phone.
It was the first time I had ever seen one of those devices, which I had, until then, thought of as only appropriate for the President of the United States who might talk on it to order the nuclear annihilation of Moscow.
But Ms. Klier was screaming into it, not for national security purposes, but….. to ask her daughters which color polo shirts they wanted her to buy.
It seemed so trivial, so utterly unimportant, so unworthy of this great technology, that I sat and watched this rich middle-aged woman and almost pitied her, that she would reduce herself to talking into a wireless phone and discuss such inanities.
Little did I know that we would all soon live inside a world of inane wireless communication.
And over on LaBrea, yesterday, I was needed, if only for a week, to work on a research job for a new show that will take the great events of history and turn them into 10 minute cooking episodes for reality TV.
There was excitement, and gesticulation and bottles of water passed around the conference table as the Producer drummed up an amazing and awesome preview of a show that will take the best chefs and have them perform their tricks without tools, ingredients or kitchens.
None of it made sense, but the network of Samantha and Ann Marie and the Caped Crusader had green lit it, and who was I, living on EDD handouts, to argue with something that the great minds in Burbank had approved?
I love the creator of the show, for he lives fast and furiously and creatively, his mind ever connecting pop culture with something televisionary.
We have known each other for years, but like Mrs. Klier, he doesn’t have time for small talk, because he is onto the next big thing, the next big project, the next enterprise down the road.
We adjourned the meeting, and I walked past a room where a closed door opened slightly, revealing a second cousin sitting in a chair taking notes. His grandfather, and my Uncle Harold, had told me something last year, something that I take to heart and think of as I wander through the City of Angels grasping for meaning:
“There is no substitute for pure dumb luck,” he said.