I find myself cursing L.A.’s traffic and skin-killing sun until a day like today happens—full of sublime weirdness that could have happened nowhere else and I feel grateful I’m still knocking around this whacky place.
After attending Thom Knoles’ invigorating lecture on the true meaning of karma, I witnessed a scary fist fight in the middle of Santa Monica’s swanky Montana Avenue between a furious pedestrian and a guy in a Mercedes. The driver apparently nearly hit the pedestrian’s family when they rushed into the street. The men kicked, punched, swung at each other and generally behaved like idiots. The wife fueled the drama by nearly rushing into the street while her poor little children clutched her hands, wailing and utterly terrified. Onlookers dialed 911 and one kind gray-bearded man cautiously tried to intervene in the madness “C’mon you guys, there are children here…”
When the guy in the Mercedes started to drive off, the apoplectic pedestrian jumped on the hood like a deranged stunt man, tumbling to the street when the driver stopped short, no doubt rehearsing for a later lawsuit.
My friend Brandy and I felt disoriented—this abrupt immersion in human melodrama, after such a transcendent meditation talk made us both queasy. We found a delicious Indian food restaurant a few blocks north that was empty except for us and Harrison Ford who, as Brandy said, “looks fantastic for his age.”
Later I picked up beach trash for two hours while watching a woman walk a black rabbit on a leash and chatting with a French man who had very interesting teeth. When I told him of my major star sighting (the first in a long while), the tourist looked puzzled and said that he thought that Harrison Ford was already dead. While I untangled the shriveled navels of abandoned balloons from clumps of kelp, the wayward traveler spoke about the wisdom of weather, how lucky I was to live in the land of sunshine, (despite today’s rare overcast skies) and how he’d seen dolphins while paddleboarding near the pier “that was my reward for being daring” (true), and how happy he felt when he realized that the merry fins surrounding the surfboard did not belong to sharks. He then asked me to confirm a rumor he’d heard that it is impossible to sleep in Las Vegas because of the relentless nocturnal campaigns of its hookers.