Creme de la Creme

[So I get in the occasional mood where I think to ask for help would be to be weak. Wrong! I’m wrong. In truth, I was thinking, if I have to depend on someone, then I am dependent. What a crazy mindset to have I am now thinking. I need to learn how to identify a problem better so I can ask for the right kind of help.]

I had an awesome day yesterday. I learned a lot and I cleared my head. It didn’t hurt that the weather was a balmy 78 degrees with the sun’s reflections rippling across the city, pouring through various thickets of foliage and creating suspended, balanced geometries of shadow-play all over the city. All you had to do was go outside and you were thrust into the fury of its delight. I was down to see where it went, like questing for gold at the end of the rainbow. (I actually tried to do this when I was young, less for the gold, and more to go where I hadn’t been before. If this isn’t the allure of being young and much smaller-bodied — where the world beyond the neighborhood street you grew up on is completely and only known by the imagination — I don’t know what is.)

I found myself in Glendale and stepped onto Brand Avenue. I looked toward Downtown and the sparkling Angeles Crest mountains beyond in what became kind of a live painting of balanced elements between the hard edges of the buildings, the irregular edges of the rocky mountains beyond them and the wide open walkway of the avenue stretching out into both as they reflected the sun in a kaleidoscopic clarity. It was a sight/sleight of beauty.

I turned off the strip, honing in on a residential street that would eventually take me to my car. I found myself in a pocket of stillness. A brief moisture was in the air. The leaves gently fluttered as the city sounds dampened. I had a cup of warmed coffee in my hand and I was looking at Facebook on my phone, thinking of a certain someone momentarily, and noticed the odd lack of palm trees in Glendale.

I was driving back toward the freeway, the street was so congested that I made a U-turn and so headed out southbound. At this point, I wasn’t sure where I was going, but that was sort of the point. We don’t allow ourselves to get lost enough. When I got closer to Silverlake and Los Feliz, I phoned my bff since high school, Mike. Though he was out, I just continued on tracing Los Feliz Blvd as it undulated up and down beneath a tunnel of tree and mountain shade. I felt as if on this path, that instead of being carried by gas, that I was instead lifted by the fluttering breeze only to land upon Griffith Park where I turned in and parked facing down the street. Without thinking, I plopped down on a shady spot along the bank.

It was starting to become evening. My restlessness was getting the better of me though, and soon, I could be found exploring the hillside moving from Los Feliz to Hollywood to West Hollywood. I ended up at Regen Projects because I had stumbled into it while picking up my car from the tire shop. Unconsciously, I think I might be creating diversions in order to see more of the city and gain my footing in it. You know how you enter something new and now I guess it’s that I’m needing to see what all is there in order to make the best navigational choices. Also, I think it’s also to continually seek and find inspiration. We all need it to continue making the life we want, whatever that is. It gets too easy to not get out, and to get caught up in a routine or work. Let’s break the pattern! Let’s break the conditioning. Let’s just…live.

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Love..

I have taken a liking/longing to my new parking lot, though it took me a little while to get used to it. I used to enjoy the transition of mobility between my house, the walk over to the lot and the 5 min. drive, usually through Skid Row to work. (San Pedro is way more cruise-able than the kitsch-pitsch Los Angeles St. (In Hindi, kitsch-pitsch is an expression of “rubbish”, which is exactly how Los Angeles St. is, in its total (mis)conception.)

The old lot was a few blocks away and it got me into a rhythm of you know, waking up, and at least getting some 3 blocks of sunshine/air on the walk to the car. I know it’s a small thing, but it actually made my transition from house to vehicle to work very full(filling).

However, when I realized what a shady operation the parking lot was, I had to – on principle – GTFO! I was sorry to leave this open-air spot because it’s spaciousness gave my mind a lot of room to stretch out and be in. It is always better when things flow.

The new lot looked totally shady, but was recommended by my building’s manager. I am realizing it is better to take people I know on their word of mouth these days. It strengthens an ever-strengthening social fabric. I should learn to trust people more. When I first arrived, the middle-aged (but not from the Middle Ages) blonde lady took one look at me and made an exception. Space is extremely strained Downtown. A good parking space is something to covet. The new lot was and is an unusual operation, but I didn’t know how entertaining and comical it would be! The lady has definite matron-hood over this joint! She runs the tightest ship. She keeps a golf cart around and cruises up and down floors! Lol! She has three younger, core workers who know if your car is being blocked, or where your keys are if you give them up (you give them up if you are going to be blocking someone). And, they are all incredibly sweet, honest and knowledgeable. They all look like they could be siblings. But I somehow don’t they actually are. That is just to say that there is a seriously familial vibe happening up in this biatch!

The building itself is like a funhouse from the 70’s. It reminds me of places like Fantastic Nathan’s (it was an indoor amusement park at Cinderella City Mall in Englewood, Colorado  full of mazes, inflatable castles, dank caves, glow in the dark rooms and much much more.) because of the awesomely trippy paint job. (But I think it won’t be that way for long)

You have to be SO careful because if you’re literally a couple inches off, you’ll wreck your car! That is because there are pillars every 10 feet to navigate through. And they’re painted an acidic forest green, while the walls are painted a bright turquoise and acidic blue! Hahaha!!! All of this though, is, of course become its charm. A super-narrow and super steep, spiraling ramp takes you up to the second and third floors. I run up and down this thing because it is superior to the rather straightforward stairwell. Both second and third floors are equally cramped and precarious to maneuver. But you know what? All of this dissipates because it is all managed well enough. When you are comfortable with people, everything changes and even tight spaces like this begin to feel….roomy. They are always moving cars, making more room and never losing their cool, though I imagine she definitely knows how to negotiate high-pressure situations.

In recent weeks, I became impressed by this Lego-like structure and the owners. A major overhaul/renovation overtook the outside lot and inside structure. little by little, workers appeared in teams. And just like that, my trips up to my car were highlighted by little improvements and additions. A resurfaced wall here and a newly-paved landing there. Next, they unfolded scaffolding throughout the building inside the structure and outside in the lot. Then, they mounted wire mesh screen throughout. Finally, over the course of just a day or two, resurfaced the whole thing in freshly-applied mortar. Awesome! I have a very primal response to this kind of activity. It reminds me of how they do things in India. It’s like when you lack modern equipment, you just go with other tried-and-true methods. Weirdly though, it feels like a home. Weirdly! To be a part of something where people are actually doing something good and doing good by others, is simply a loving environment. You go the extra miles when you love.

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Descriptive exercise

After writing this, I am going to take a picture of an engine. Here is what I’m going to do before: I am going to look for my keys, grab them (the whole hunk of them are sure to be found anchoring the bottom of my coat pocket), or maybe I slip on said puffy coat (because really, its silken-polyester fabric adds lovely ease to putting it on – as if there is little difference between itself and the air, literally). I will then walk out of this building (my boots’ click-clacking will echo even louder against the thin, linoleum-covered floorboards of this empty gallery space. The matte-black, glass-encased metal door will hinge and swing open. The sound of the metal, gold-colored and round bell dangling from the door’s handle on a piece of long thin cream-colored rope will clang against the glass and both bell and glass will cause a little cacophony of sound that resonates a different pitch or timbre, depending on the person walking in. It can be said that the sound is really a portrait of the person opening the door and to clarify more than that, it is a portrait of the person themselves, and how they open a door. How one opens a door communicates everything!!!!

After opening the door and letting it close behind me (as it will), I will cut across the lobby of pale, trampled hunter’s green, slightly turquoise-speckled carpet – by the looks of it, it probably has been there for over 15 years. It is so thinned, gently faded and impressed. I will walk out of this building’s front entrance, that is, I will pass through two solid gloss-brown-painted, heavy, wooden doors and finally, step outside, walking around to the right, up through the walkway – it being skirted by concrete columns and the building’s own, almost unnaturally light-brown brick facade. A wheelchair-access ramp of brittle, crumbling shale tile with a raised curb marks the end of the walkway and of the building’s extremities itself. It is common for people (who aren’t in wheelchairs) to walk up, on over this ledge and step down, which would put you to the side of the building, where there is a two-lane driveway of light-gray, newer pavement that runs along the building’s side and to the back where, demarcated by a 75-foot long, matte-black, wrought-iron gate – made irregularly bent by cars from the parking lot on the other side, smashing into it over the years – a lone parking lot sits on the other side, at slightly varying levels to the building’s alley. Finally, I see my car, huddled as it is, facing out and away from me, towards the rear entrance of the building’s premises, against the darker, redder front brick wall. I have put my coat on as previously mentioned, and unlock the car remotely, with my fingers feeling the squishy rubber button’s round, triangular pad from within my pocket. I have worn the rubber pad over the last 6 years to become soft and pliable. I have to get closer to the car than I expect for the remote to work. The signal is obscured through the materials of the coat. Otherwise, it will work from about 15 feet or so. As I draw within 5 feet of the car, the yellow tail-lights flicker telling me that the car has responded to its key. I pull under the latch to the driver-side front door, pull as it unbuckles, opening the door and with my right hand and arm, pull the hood lever noticing (under to the left of the steering wheel) how it takes extra strength to give, before the deep and vibrating sound of an unbuckle is heard/felt from within the car’s belly. I return to the front of the car, leaving the driver-side door open. I lift the latch under the hood. The engine is still warm from a previous drive. I lift and place the rod’s hook under the hood where there is an arrow pointing to a small, oval recess. Here it goes.

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