July 10, 2009

Outside of a Hollywood fire station there is a sign with the silhouette of a baby’s head that reads SAFE SURRENDER STATION. Which I think means you can leave your baby there if you can’t take care of it.

It’s not the only disturbing kid-related signage in our neighborhood. A digital billboard over an intersection nearby displays the images of kidnapped kids under the letters AMBER ALERT. Next to the kids an image of a mugshot of the suspect is shown. Four or five kids suspected taken by the same guy. This billboard alternates between this and a jeans ad and a Dodgers ad and an ad for Mexican beer.


On Wednesday I have lunch with my Uncle Steve and Aunt Jane and their friend Tracey and her son Sam. Tracey used to be Head of Trauma (I might be fudging the name and if I am I’m not too sorry, because that would be a pretty good name for a metal band) at Johns Hopkins and now runs a business that seeks honesty in patient coding at hospitals and she’s currently in LA doing research for a book she’s writing about Douglas Fairbanks Senior because she is a silent film die-hard. She is a very neat lady and excellent company and she buys us all lunch.


That afternoon I see my first visible case of road rage. We pull up to an intersection and there’s a car in the intersection attempting to make a left turn and there’s another car behind it, kissing it, bumper to bumper. Finally the first car makes the turn and the car that did the kissing speeds off after it. When it’s our turn to go we see that the guy in the front car has pulled over and the driver of the kissing car drives up and leaps out of his car and begins screaming into the other driver’s open window. He must be a just and honorable traffic cowboy, the guy who pulled over, to even pull over at all with a guy following him who looks like he’s not in an emotional place to weigh the long-term consequences of murdering someone. I think without thinking about it I would keep going. My adrenaline would get me to San Diego somehow four minutes ahead of my car arriving there.


Later, I am tying my shoelace with leg laid across my knee and I make a mistake and one of the shoelaces flies up and hits me in the eye. It is not thinking about how dirty it must be that freaks me out about this, it’s thinking about how many times in a day I look down and think, “Jesus my shoelaces must be dirty.” I have prepared myself to freak out about this, unknowingly trained myself to make this as gross as possible by building whole neural networks solely dedicated to how impossibly disgusting my shoelaces must be. There is a deep-seated deficiency in my shoe-tying technique so the things are always springing apart and dragging around and I used to live in New fucking York and took the subway a whole bunch. As I am flushing the affected eye out with water I think I can hear persecuted super-germs from all over the world declaring my left eye their Israel.


Our building assigns two parking spaces to every apartment but it’s the sort of layout where in order for both cars to park one of them must be blocked in by another one. Dominic and I split two of these parking spaces. Dan and I go downstairs to get in the car to go to a meeting and Dominic’s car is blocking my car in. We execute a very slick dual-car dual-driver parking garage maneuver involving lots of throwing of car keys and lots of me hoping I will have an interval between Dan pulling back in and parking Dominic’s car and Dan getting into my car so I can change the CD before we get on the road.


I do not have my Car Exit Strategy down yet for when I am driving. This is what you do after you turn the ignition off, the little tics and things to remember about getting out of your vehicle that I hope become ingrained in me over time because right now, oh boy, it’s a disaster. Our driver’s education system is hopelessly broken because it does not acknowledge that getting out of your car is just as important if not more important than getting into your car and driving around. I usually roll up my window by accidentally rolling down one of the rear windows. I usually leave my foot on the brake long after I’ve put the car in park so when I finally do remove my foot so I can get out of the car the whole thing lurches forward a disconcerting inch or two. I usually leave my phone in the cupholder and have to jog back and grab it. So many things are standing in the way of me making a wide and lazy turn into a parking space at a drive-in burger stand and then iconically climbing out of my car before walking across the parking lot in slow-motion to a song by Booker T and the MG’s, and one of them is that I don’t have pomade in my hair or a leather jacket or an old red car with fins and a backseat big enough to round the bases in, and another one is that I suck at getting out of my car and it always takes me five minutes and sometimes I accidentally honk the horn.

Posted by DC at July 10, 2009 07:57 AM
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