Monday, September 23, 2013

On Gray Days.

On gray days, like today, she wondered where the sun went. Wondered if it went on hiatus as had her own will to create joy. Wondered if it was secluded in a cozy cafĂ© drinking the cup of coffee she’d given up, worried that too much caffeine was the cause of all her troubles, as the magazines told her. Wondered if it had just …given up. She twisted her brown hair wistfully between her long fingers while sipping her Ginger tea from a white mug with a red heart on it and staring out her bay window at the gray that enveloped the cars and people and trucks and dogs and trees and flowers as they carried on without the sunshine. As she stared, she decided, with an encouraging smile that grazed her lips briefly, “…If they can do it, shouldn’t I…?”

She sipped the herbal, now at least thirty minutes old and still trying to hold on to some warmth like a grandma does her memories of youth. The tea wasn’t bad. It was certainly no Intelligentsia, but it wasn’t bad. She figured she could learn to like it. Like liver. Or like now. Learning to like the gray that was doing nothing wrong, but merely existing and clouding her thoughts with ideas on where the sun had gone. She wondered why she focused on the one day, out of at least twenty-five or more, where there was no sun, rather than focusing on all those others when it did exist. She felt ungrateful; “Sorry,” she said, to no one. She was alone, as was often the case, these days. She wiggled her toes in her rainbow-striped socks as she sat at her butcher-block kitchen table; the whir of the fridge keeping her company. She looked at its beige-ness. Beige.  It had come with the apartment. She relished the day she would be able to buy her own spankin’ new refrigerator. (Would she pick stainless steel? A shiny lacquered Red one? A vintage, 1970s yellow number…?) That day felt far away, but she knew it would come. It would come and she wouldn’t be alone. The kitchen would be filled with the voices she’d been dreaming of; big ones and little ones belonging to those who would fulfill her life and not give her the luxury to sit and lament about the color of the sky. Until then, she was at one with beige. She looked at a yellow sticky note trapped under a blue magnet with a motivational motivator: “In twenty years, you’ll regret what you didn’t do today…” or something like that. She’d read it so many times over the years in the rented kitchen, that she stopped reading what it actually said and chose to remember what she thought it said. She sighed, “Same difference.” She turned from the fridge, back to the window and the life outside it, because she remembered that the months’ old note under the magnet shouted, “BUY FRIDGE LIGHT!!!” The little bulb inside the refrigerator had given up.  She’d been meaning to get another one. Although it was dark in the fridge, somehow she stopped caring that she couldn’t see the orange juice when she tiptoed at night in her PJs to swig from it. But, maybe it was time she did.   

She rose, swallowed the last of her tea and stretched as she placed the cup in the porcelain sink. She grabbed the sticky note and threw it in the trash bin under the sink. She repositioned the magnet and smiled as she read it again because she hoped that when the voices finally came, one by one as they only could come, the ones that would color her life, that the magnet would be right and that she’d have no regrets. Even on gray days.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I’ll admit I have a curious nature about myself. If there is a shiny, silver nickel in the gutter, I’ll wonder how it got there and to whom it belonged. If there is a discarded leather chair on the side of the road, I’ll first wonder if there are bed bugs in it and if so, if that is the reason it has been chucked from the warmth of its former home…and then I will wonder who sat in it, when they sat in it, and if the sitter was anything like Archie Bunker.

I don’t let my curiosity get the best of me…I’m good about it only leading me so far. I have no desire to be killed (like a cat). That is why one late night when I saw two pair of empty shoes (Chuck Taylor’s and women’s ballerina flats) abandoned in front of an ATM on Magnolia in North Hollywood, I let it alone, because clearly they had either been abducted by aliens while trying to get cash from the SAG/AFTRA ATM…or worse. There was an empty parking lot nearby and I could only imagine that some mean guy had carted them off into the darkness after forcing not only their pin number from them, but also from out of their shoes.

I have this same curiosity about the Transvestites that work on Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland in Hollywood.

If you live in Los Angeles, or visited, you’ve seen these ladies working their stuff up and down Santa Monica and/or congregating at the Donut Shop on the north east corner. You’ve watched with awe and sometimes shock at the outfits, at the hair, at the sashaying, at the chatty-Kathy coffee-clutch gaggle of them as they sit at the bus stop jawing about God knows what. (And you know I want to know!)

The other day, I’d just finished a great breakfast meeting with a friend at the Hollywood Corner restaurant which is on Highland and Lexington, just a few blocks South of Santa Monica. I sat in my car as I planned the rest of my day via my smartphone. I looked up in thought and from my driver’s side window, I noticed a shiny silver purse and a shirt thrown on top of a garage across the street. “Arrrrguuu-ment” I thought as I imagined a hissy fit that involved Tranny 1 mad at Tranny 2 for steppin’ in on her man. I’d hoped there was nothing valuable in the purse and that they’d made up by now.

As I stared at the purse, a lovely lady with flowing Britney-blond hair and Marie-Antoinette pale skin came into view as the street light changed at the corner. He was pedaling like Mary Poppins on a very cute bicycle, with not a Mary Poppin’s worry about him. I wondered if he was headed home or if he was roaming the block looking for work...? He wore a cap, black fitted tank top, black thigh-high boots and short-shorts as he strolled by. As he neared, I felt he was going for Liza Minnelli in “Cabaret”, but quite expired for the outfit as he may have been about 60 years old. He reminded me of (perhaps) the only Transvestite in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She would come into the McDonald’s where I worked in high school. I always thought of the courage she had, walking into McD’s with the wig and the matted fur coat; full blue and green make up at 7am on a Sunday; the bad nude Walgreen’s hose and the sensible size 11 heels. I wondered if she was lonely…what is life like as you become an aging Transvestite? I always smiled my best smile as I handed her her morning coffee, and she would smile back just as warmly through her bright pink lipstick.

Blond Liza sailed by my driver’s side and I was alone with my smartphone. But, not for long! I was next visited by someone I'll call, Brown Roxie. I saw her legs first as she Tyra Banked across the cross walk in front of me. She had very, very nice legs -- quite toned. I was almost jealous until she turned her torso to address some incessant honking; it was then I saw way too much ass. Roxie was wearing extra-small bikini-cut bootie shorts circa Xanadu. She wore army boots, and a tank. Her very short, low fade looked fantastic. (I wondered if she was working yet because she didn't have a weave...but, then, there is a huge trend towards being natural these days, so...). Roxie walked past me and I couldn't help but stare at her sashaying butt in my rear-view mirror and she caught me, which was highly embarrassing. She stopped as she looked at me through the window; confused or maybe annoyed with me. I looked down. I was intruding. Still, I wondered. Was Brown Roxie going home, too? Was this the outfit she wore to go get milk at 7-eleven? I wonder so many things because I don’t know. If I asked, would Brown Roxie have coffee with me at Hollywood Corner and let me ask any question I wanted??

Brown Roxie’s firm butt bounced about in my brain as crazy Trixie rounded the corner and ended up on the sidewalk near my car on the passenger side. She was in a trendy army coat; rocked ripped, cute black leggings and was wearing ear bud Trixie was rocking her brown weave, to and fro; fro and to as she started doing pivot turns on the block. Her long, square-cut French manicure fingernails caressed a wooden telephone while she sauntered around it and drew on a cigarette. She seemed bored, or preoccupied. But, she started dancing. And singing. And twerking. Was there music in the earphones? Who knows. Do working-girl Tranny’s go for anyone who is interested, including women? I mean, for all she knows, I was lurking in my car trying to score or something. I have to think that that is why I was getting Beyonce’s half-hearted half-time show that took place in the space of two sidewalk squares.

I’m not any closer to understanding the world of these ladies than when I moved to LA or when I served my friend at McDonald’s. But, I hope one day to get over my curiosity and just ask.