East Hollywood Blues

A Diary Of Life Among Millennials

Category: Spring 2017

Toilet Paper Leads To Child Support? Welcome To The Neighborhood

I walked out of the Korean deli at the corner of Berendo and Vermont at 1 am with the toilet paper I forgot to buy hours earlier as I was engaged in a meeting for my project.

I managed to walk 20 feet towards the Local when a shrill voice rang out and set the hair on the base of my skull and back – because the hair isn’t going to the top of me head anymore – straight up.

“Buck,” she screamed.

I could see her in silhouette; spiky blonde hair, black tank top and a tight black skirt slit just enough with what looked like velvet black ankle boots but I really need new contact lenses.

“Buck” she screamed.

The Korean deli owner at the corner of Vermont and Berendo calls me by my last name, which he thinks makes me sound like a thug,  while he reads the Bible behind bulletproof glass.   How did she know my name was Buck?

Perhaps a lucky guess from a denizen of a neighborhood moving from the Central American to the Anglo-Millennial. Do I know you, I thought.

“Buck,” she screamed.

The Original Drinker sat on the window ledge on the local Lavendaria  drinking his  Jose Cuervo, scratching his bald head and laughing at me.  “Looks like it’s child support time Carnal!”

My Michael Mann View of the Neighborhood

Everyone talks about the weather in Los Angeles, how great it is, sun all the time et al. That’s why they are willing to pay the sunshine tax. What they don’t tell you about is the humidity. It’s over 50% every day. So when my eyes open at 7:30 sharp every day – it’s been that way since I turned 40 eight years back almost to the day who needs an alarm clock anymore – I’m in a pool of my own sweat. Great weather my ass.

Looking out over the tops of what passes for tenement apartment houses in East Hollywood towards Culver City, I reflect every morning on what I’ve lost and gained, view wise, since I left Gramercy Park for Los Angeles. Gone are the blue curtain blocked windows and a/c units across the roof top. Now I have a view of roof tops and Palm trees that remind me of Michael Mann movies. And it’s always sunny, gone is my indirect semi-shade.

Just behind the fence that separates my parking lot from the three unit building on the next street over that appears to be rapidly sinking in the Los Angeles basin beneath it, three bearded hipster types are shirtless and firing up the BBQ, cans of PBR in hand and auto tuned rap on the box. It’s just a reminder that I’ve traded in my 492 square foot Co-op on the southeast corner of the only private park in Manhattan for an 800 square foot one bedroom in a rapidly gentrifying central Los Angeles neighborhood.

“Jesus H Christ,” I mumble, drinking my black coffee, “how the fuck did I get here?”

She sat in my red chair, staring at me while I looked out over the roof tops.

“What are you looking at,” I asked.

“You.”

I rubbed my chin and drank the coffee she handed me moments before. That’s when it hit me, she’d slept over every night for the last week.

“How long have we been seeing each other,” I asked.

“Eight months now.”

I looked over at this gorgeous leggy 30 year old brunette. “What do you see in a middle aged guy like me?”

“You had me when we first started talking at that bar we went to after work  “Heart of the Matter” by Don Henley came on and you started crying,” she said.

“I miss Gram Parsons.

“Who?”

“You know that song I play for you “The New Soft Shoe,” I asked.

“Did he record with that Captain Beefheart guy?”

“No he discovered Emmylou Harris.”

“Who is she?”

“I’ll play him for you later,” I mumbled and sipped my coffee.

“When you cried at that song I knew you are a wonderful man who is horribly broken and needs to be fixed,” she said.

“Jesus H. Christ, what romance novel are you reading now?”

“Here,” she said handing me a copy of 50 Shades of Gray. “It’s not as bad as everyone thinks.”

I took the book and flung it out the window.   I walked over to my bookcase and grabbed Lady Chatterly’s Lover and Philosophy in the Bedroom. “If you’re going to read that crap it should at least have literary value.”

She flipped through the pages. “The classics,” she exclaimed. “I can’t wait to read these at the beach today with Nats and Erin!” Her phone went off.   A text from one of “her girls.” “And I’m late. I have to run. I’ll see you tonight!” She grabbed her purse and flip flops and ran out of the apartment.

You know I miss the way the New York women say ‘Tootles’ when they leave.