Leaving the 405 Behind

Mario

Mario, heading south

You live in Northridge. Do you vary your commute, or are you a creature of habit?  Sometimes I take Sepulveda on the way home.  It’s longer, but more contemplative. Sometimes the moon is out and you can enjoy it. I love the grandeur of the lights twinkling.

Music in the car, or quiet? Music. I’ll listen to the same piece of music for about a week then change it up.   I ponder where I am in my life, but try not to think about it too much.  I am inclined toward depression, but I don’t take medications. I don’t believe in that.  I jog instead.

Religion? I was raised Buddhist.

Is there a caste system in LA?  Yes, but you can break through it.  Socially, women don’t like to hear you’re from the Valley. There’s a stigma. But I don’t lie about it.

Do you find driving over the hill to wait on wealthy people uncomfortable?  Not really.

You live with your parents, is there any tension over that?  No pressure from my parents. They don’t have a timetable for me.  They understand the cost of housing in LA. I put the pressure on myself.

You’re a jazz musician. I’ve been playing saxophone since I was a kid.  I also really like grappling.  I train at the Gracie Barra gym in Northridge.

What’s your favorite virtue?  Awareness.

What’s you idea of happiness?  I’m still trying to find my own happiness, so I don’t know how to answer that question.

What’s your idea of misery? Misery would be not fulfilling your life’s mission.

To that end, you’re leaving the store. What will you be doing? I’m going to be training a lot more.  In a couple months I’m going to go to Brazil, but I’m not going to fly. I’m going to take the bus through Central America.  I’m going to find my way there.

That’s a very long way from the 405.  That’s as far as you can get, and not get lost.

This Was Us

1958, when the Valley was quiet

1958, when the Valley was quiet

We built capacity because we knew what was coming, though not so white as we imagined. Now the future is here, it’s 12 lanes, and it’s not moving at all.

We were the outer limit of the metropolitan commute. Now you stop here for gas on the way to Moorpark.

As consolation, the food is a whole lot better.

People are prettier, when pretty is a professional aspiration. The rest of us are fat as f***.

Houses are unobtainably expensive.

Electronic gadgetry is cheap, ubiquitous, and wonder making in its power.

The air is cleaner.

Good manners have gone to hell.

Love of a beautiful sentence is going the way of VHS and polyester slacks.

A year of pop music is a pale facsimile of a month’s worth of output in the 1970’s.

Long form television is our Golden Age.

We are lonely in our crowds, in a way the man in the stepside pickup probably wasn’t.

We nest inside our Netflix queue and pronounce ourselves content.

We are growing childlike in our willingness to repeat propaganda.

They don't know what's coming. But neither do we.

They don’t know what’s coming. But neither do we.

Whack-A-Mole

Marissa and Baby

Marisa told me her foot was infected from a spider bite. Shoeless, she gingerly picked her way through the debris. They had two dogs living with them.

Both sides of the freeway were cleared out only a few weeks ago, everyone pushed off of State of California property and onto the railroad tracks (the county’s problem) or onto a tiny patch of ground next to the Roscoe Blvd offramp, two feet from traffic (the City’s problem).  They’ve slowly trickled back, in pairs. Nature abhors a vacuum.

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In the chaos of moving day, there were lost connections.

Keep Voting, sez MSNBC

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Mrs. UpintheValley, who did not vote for Godzilla, has been obliged to avoid Facebook, the vitriol and emotive accusation has been so intense.

Now, in the name of tolerance, the call has gone out for the assassination of the non-President, the week after the election.

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Bullet in the forehead, bleeding from his, wherever….

And I thought my apolitical blog was going to go back to being apolitical.

He hasn’t even taken the oath, people.  Tell me how this movie ends.

Banksy-graffiti

Banksy has his own view.   He of course has made millions doing something which is technically illegal, but clearly changes how things are perceived. Or tries to. Otherwise what would be the point?

What begins in wish fulfillment,  ends as all Pygmalion-like creation myths do. Carve a woman from marble and your feverish longing, and you will fall in love with her. You will leave a bloody handprint.

Riddles in the Afternoon

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Van Nuys is not on anyone’s list of urban pleasure walks, but you can see a lot in an hour.  Freedom. Love. Trust. Help.  I have no idea who Trusty is. I don’t know who is asking for help. I don’t know if the panhandler sign is trying to say pleaser or pleasure, or if the misspellings are a deliberate calculation. Or if the declaration of daddy love is ironic. They’re all messages from the parallel world of the dispossessed.