Last night was the weekly meeting of the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch group at the Farmer's Market. I missed last week, having found myself unshowered and in full slug mode at 6 o'clock. The group gathers at 7. I prefer to walk rather than drive since a) finding a decent parking space when I get home is a pain in the ass, b) I'd like to show some concern for the environment and not be driving 1/4 mile distances, and c) not only do I live in a room, but I live in a room shrewdly. In other words, I've managed to make everything in my room available within arm's reach of, what else? my bed. So, exercise. Don't get much. Walking the neighborhood rather than driving it is my only hope. But last week I wasn't up to walking. I was up to driving. But I hadn't seen the Vikings (they really are Vikings. Viking Motors on Pico in Santa Monica, where they speak Viking and everything and if you're into Nordic beef I'd say get yourself a 15-year-old Volvo like me and go.) so I was still down to 1 brake light which isn't good with all the maniacs driving around LA, myself included. And you know, if you haven't taken a shower by, say, 4 o'clock, the chance that you will shower, get dressed, and go out someplace optional is pretty much shot.
But yesterday I was bound by honor and determination to make it, walking, no less, to SnB. That I actually went shows I ate my Wheaties, because what a day it was.
Schmin's birthday threw me for a loop. When one has a kid at 18, it does cross one's mind that 36 will be The Golden Age. The Golden Age at which it will be time to release said kid into either college or the streets and maybe one should care which one, and deep down, one does, but mostly one stays busy dreaming of The Golden Age at which one will be free. Now I've gone and shot right past The Golden Age and I do indeed find myself free, but free to what?
Life is what it is, always. At its essence, it's only Breath, isn't it? Just Breath and what happens in between. Sure. We put all this value on things: cars, houses, the caliber of friends we make, money, political beliefs, whatever. But it all comes back to the Breath. Everything else is arbitrary. At Agape, we call it the Breath of God. Without it... well, that's not something I'd like to think about. I'm finally starting to get that the core of any spiritual practice takes you back to the Breath for a reason. If you can get back there, you can get back to what matters, you can do this thing that's always stumped me. I think it's called "staying in the moment."
I don't look back with much regret, but I do see where I could've done more staying in the moment, because now the moment's gone. Me and Schmin and all those people, my mother and nearly all her family, who have now passed. Yesterday I may not have regretted, but I did wish. I wished I'd paid a little more attention. I wished I'd appreciated more. I wished I'd spent a little less time dreaming of The Golden Age and a little more time being present when Schmin was small and the two of us were growing up together.
I took all this business with me to downtown LA, where the peeps and the freaks hang out, day and night. Seems I made a little illegal u-turn one day and a cop stopped me and gave me a citation. Seems on that same day, my tags were expired (What can I say? We moved. I lost the renewal notice. Stuff happens.). It also seems that yesterday was the last day to go down to the Los Angeles Municipal Court Metropolitan Branch and handle the whole affair before the pigs put a warrant out for my arrest. Okay. Maybe not a warrant. But in LA, The Man has a way of tripling and quadrupling traffic fines that'll make you wish you could just go to jail. The LA Municipal Court is on Hill Street. On the way down, I had a moment of pure illumination. I realized the show "Hill Street Blues" could've been based on LA's Hill Street, even though it was set in an unnamed city. Back then I didn't care about Los Angeles. From Toledo, New York City was the only worthy perch. Any big city show not set in New York got transplanted there in the annals of my memory, with the possible exception being "Streets of San Francisco," the title coming right out and making the location too obvious to blur.
So there I was on Hill Street, walking into the courthouse, and the number of folks casually hanging out in front did seem high. Walking on, I heard a clarifying remark. Two young Mexican guys, coming out of the building, one elbowing the other and saying, "If you get down here earlier fool, you'll see even more ass." Hot damn. The LA municipal court is a meatmarket. These are things I need to know. People come from the hinterlands to visit me. Sometimes they want to know where to meet LA's hotties, and since I'm on a budget...
The courthouse, where I didn't have to attend actual court, thank God. Turns out 10 bucks and a smog check will keep me out of the pokey.
With my eye on SnB, I went about the rest of the day's errands. When I got there, I lived the things I had thought of earlier, I stayed in the moment, and had a lovely time.
Next up, WeHo SnB! In the meantime, Let's be careful out there.