September 5th, 2006
I hadn't planned on returning to LA from the Coachella Valley until really early Tuesday, before all the traffic makes the commute impossibly slow and, because of my lack of air conditioning, unbearably - if I leave at 3 am and roll down the window, the air feels just fine - but my buddy Nate called asking about poker, which was intriguing, and now RKDaley's in town(ish) so I thought maybe I'll head out early and see what happens.
What happened was traffic, shuffling us fools between 85 and zero, and when I'm only about 10 miles out of LA I spot smoke puffing from the ass of the van. I go on for a few miles more until I find an exit that looks like there'd be a gas station, but I drove around for a bit anyhow, searching. Stopped, I checked under the hood to find my oil cap mssing, so I write the smoke off as an issue regarding a lack of oil, or something. I'm no mechanic, and, having no way to immediately resolve that situation, I get back on the freeway and continue heading to Hollywood, maybe 6 miles or so away at this point, and I get to the Pepboys auto place that I hate for its awful service but love for its convenient location.
On the road, my van is having a hard time shifting gears. I'm supposed to be heading to my editor's house to take a look at the footage from our latest film, but I know now that my van's not going to make it. In Pepboys I buy an oil cap. I let the van rest a few minutes to see if maybe its just overheated, but still it has trouble shifting into reverse and first gear. I buy transmition fluid and somehow manage to work my van a couple blocks down and into this parking garage off Hollywood that I sometimes find myself sleeping in. It's a great place -- a block from my friend Brett's house (he's the writer/director of said film), and three blocks away from my favorite bar (the Power House, the last real dive bar in LA). Three blocks in the other direction is this awesome coffeeshop I'm sitting at right now, with free wireless internet and hours until 3am. There's a drunk bus, the subway, great eateries and drunken whores within stumbling distance.
With a fantastic view of Hollywood and LA as the backdrop, I pop the hood and pour in some tranny fluid. I start the engine. More smoke billows out the back. The poker game is in an hour. I paid $8 for parking. I put the car into gear but its just not going to happen. I call Nate and he graciously picks me up. I lose the first game but win the second. Afterward, I go to the Baked Potato and meet up with Brett and his friends to see some bands. Many of the were excellent, but the Bud Lights were $5 and the bartender was a bitch. Also, there was nowhere to sit.
Brett and I walk back to Hollywood, from the valley, 4 or so miles up hill at 2 in the morning, drunk. My toes hurt but I feel good regardless. He goes home, and I crawl into my van and try to check my email. Sometimes I get lucky and tap into some kid's wireless, but not tonight. I consider a hotel room with the money I won earlier, but remind myself that I need to make sure I've got enough money to at least pretend to resolve this issue somehow, so I go to bed, instead.
10:00 am. It's hot already. I'm slightly hungover and my feet are killing me. I didn't have an opportunity to brush my teeth the night before so I've got that funky feeling in my mouth. I check the van to see if it works. It starts, it doesn't turn into a fiery ball of my demise when I turn the key, so that's a good sign. But it won't go into reverse. It won't even try. Beneath the van there's fluids everywhere, as though it had a wet dream, or, like one of those dogs that someone beats up and abandons so when it approaches you pitifully for a handout, when you reach down to pet it, it wets itself. That's my van, wetting itself all over the nice concrete of this nice parking garage, under a nice smog gray sky. I've got to piss like no one's business.
I grab my backpack and hoof it over to the coffee joint. I brush my teeth, wipe my ass (sweat, not poop), and I grab an iced coffee, which is something I've never really liked until recently. Coffee flavor is gross, but I'm turning that corner. My tastes are maturing, I suppose. I think I'm going to grow my first pubic hair soon. Dear god, please. Make it soon.
Today, I'm going to finish this thread and figure out how to get to Encino to pick up my paychecks and sort through my options. Then, I'm going to go see a movie(*).
1: Try to get my van out of the parking garage and over to Pepboys a mile down one of the busiest roads in the country, or I can leave it and look into purchasing a month long parking pass and use this as my base of operations while I figure out how to get to work and back, which is difficult because we typically work a week in one area and move to somewhere else entirely.
2: See how long they go without noticing my van sitting here, pissing on the rooftop with some crazy, smelling dirty guy sleeping inside.
Or 3: Call it quits, phone my friend Matt who just moved back to Palm Springs recently, and have him pick me up with my stuff in his truck and head back to Desert Hot Springs where I will be in the heat without a vehicle, in a house with sporatic plumbing - which is pretty much exactly the situation I'm in here, except my house is a little roomier than my van but I don't have wireless internet or a possible job.