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June 17, 2011

Some Friday Stuff

Day before yesterday when they were jackhammering away to China I was so frazzled and unnerved I grabbed my bag and left the apartment in a fluster. I was in my car and headed up the road before I even knew where I was going. Going to the movies was a spur of the moment decision, I picked "Beginners," it started at noon and the line was short. I sat alone in a row in the dark movie theater, the only other people near me were in the row just below, a man and a woman in their 60s.

We sat in that movie theater and cried a lot. I loved the movie but I had a few moments when I worried I was falling into the ugly, guffawing, snot cry. It's that kind of movie. I felt so self-conscious about crying then I looked at the man in the row ahead of me, I assumed he was there with his wife but I don't know, maybe she wasn't his wife, maybe I just assume everyone is paired off except me, and I saw this man remove his glasses and slowly wipe away his tears. I felt better. I felt like it was okay to just be a blathering mess right there in my popcorn.

After the movie I sat in my seat and felt a little worn out in a good way.

- - -

Mysteriously enough the entire construction crew did not show up yesterday and so there was no jackhammering next door, no whining tile saw piercing into my arteries all day. It was a remarkably good day. Even with the opera enthusiast in the building across the alley playing Sonata of Depression and Killing all afternoon at the highest possible volume, even with the helicopters and airplanes and car alarms and the ambulances and sirens it felt downright quiet here. So that was the purpose of the jackhammer, perhaps. It was put on this earth to make me appreciate the ambient noise of my neighborhood.

I had a list of errands to run yesterday and I did none of them, I opened the windows and stayed home all day, no radio, no TV, just the sound of typing, an occasional meow from a cat letting me know I was a boring companion. I listened to secondhand opera from across the alleyway, music which I kind of like though you have to admit it's a really weird soundtrack to an uncertain time in your life. If you were feeling at a crossroads in a big crazy city and found yourself in some temporary apartment with all your stuff piled up in a corner and opera was the soundtrack running beneath it all you might think, Okay. Are we about to see a scene from The Godfather or is the war about to start or the disaster about to hit or is this the hipster heartbreak scene or are the neighbors going to be revealed as vampires?

Or maybe you wouldn't think that. Maybe you would just be happy your neighbor isn't playing Ranchero music all day.

The crew is back today. The tile saw started up at 6:45 a.m.

- - -

I love Los Angeles in the June gloom. In the mornings it's so gray and dreary and heavy outside, and it's chilly like winter. People wear hoodies and sweaters and jackets and there's mist. The mist feels like a rainstorm because any kind of moisture feels significant here, that's what it's like to live in a place where it only rains eight days a year.

Today and tomorrow are probably the last of the June gloom. Soon summer will start and the morning fog will be long gone and the sun will bake everything dry and the wind will kick up leaves and dust and topple big trucks in the Cajon Pass. The hillsides will catch on fire.

Sometimes I wonder if I should leave Los Angeles and find someplace cool and gray and quiet. Then I wonder how do you leave a city like L.A.? Once you make it here and survive here and live here, love it here, how do you ever leave it? People probably feel that way about any place they call home. Even if the underlying soundtrack is opera.

Posted by laurie at June 17, 2011 9:58 AM