Welcome to the Barbershop, would you like a haircut?

Posted on May 23, 2009


Saturday night in Hollywood. The streets are buzzing with life, strangers walk from street corner to street corner bumping into each other, carelessly unaware of the feet that have traveled the same path before them. Girls in short dresses that are more in line with belts, stumbling into the arms of men with iron crosses on the seat of their jeans, and laughter spills into my car along with the occasional scream to “Hurry up” or “Wait up” or “what up” and so many things going on in Hollywood that are seemingly up with no person actually knowing what’s going down.

My day was lovely, filled to the brim with activities, hiking in my new canyon, although it is a very old canyon with people who have been hiking there for years, but because I’ve recently moved close to it, take it as my own, and infuse it with a newness one establishes when coming into possession of something. Not that the canyon is mine, but I like to think it is. I like to think everything is mine, the streets of Hollywood, filled with drunk club goers and diners, with hookers, pimps and drug dealers, the canyons and hills lining this beautiful and sorrow filled city, the homes, the cars, the nameless faces that pass by as I drive down the boulevard, my boulevard. Perhaps that is part of the addiction, ego, possession of all things man made, and touched by humans. Even the humans themselves. There are some big obstacles to overcome. It probably starts with admitting that nothing is mine, not forever, not even the body I currently inhabit. All things will come and go, and the rush of emotions I have been feeling are only mine for a short time, which takes all the power out of experiencing them. How can you own something so fleeting? So impermanent? How can you own your life?

I attended a gallery opening tonight, my second of many (hopefully) and met some incredibly talented and creative people. An architect planning the next art institution, an artist that Duncan claims is amazing and brilliant (which speaks volumes coming from Duncan), a brand new baby, an x-model, a curator and art historian, I met so many people tonight that never would have crossed my path had I not driven completely off the road I’ve been driving, through the hedges and onto the next and more well paved road I’ve chosen to drive. It was a lovely exhibit, pictures illustrating not only the passage of time, but also the slightest change in the sky’s choreography, and you all know how I feel about the sky. The subtle movement of the clouds, rays of light that cast shadows on grassy fields, people in movement forever still in this their photographic debut. The exhibit was lovely, and although the photographer himself did not say much, his work did, which in LA, is all that matters.

Another fantastic thing occurred, on this lovely Saturday evening, and this fantastic thing reminded me of why I don’t go to bars, well unless there are AA meetings in them. Tonight, I met up with a few friends from the program, and they happened to be hanging out at One Sunset, an interesting place for young people to hang out….who drink. And I found my friends sitting at the bar, drinking water or redbull, eating french fries and talking about who knows what as I approached. Before them, on the other side of the bar, is a vast array of alcoholic beverages, all waiting to be consumed in exchange for money and hangovers. Even though none of my friends have the years of sobriety I need to feel comfortable in a place like this, they sat happy, none acknowledging the poison we’ve been drinking, the liquid death that is the reason we all came together in the first place, not more than 10 feet away. I thought;

Either they are incredibly strong or incredibly stupid.

My stay with these good folks lasted maybe 10 minutes. There is absolutely no way I am hanging out in a bar without getting trashed. The bartenders breasts tried to serve me three jack and cokes and she didn’t even open her mouth. That’s how LA goes, the bartenders are comprised of large breasts that pour and serve alcohol and it is incredibly difficult to say no to a huge pair of tits. Especially blond tits. So for nine dollars, and ten minutes, I was reminded of why I can’t go into bars. Because that is where people go to get drunk. There is no point in me sitting at one trying to pretend everything is just fine, no point in staring down every bottle of booze known to man if I do not intend on drinking it, and there is no way that if you hang out at a barber shop, you’re walking out without a haircut. I don’t want a haircut, and I certainly don’t want to drink.

(Speaking of not wanting to drink, my mother called me a couple days ago saying she is interested in going to some meetings. Which is good. Alcoholism is a gene thing, and lord knows I got it from somewhere. She has been struggling with this for much longer than I, and many times I’ve written about how her disease wrecks me, our family gatherings, the stability of our nuclear home. More atomic. Whatever. I told her a few words of advice and said if you really want to quit, you can do that in AA. But I cannot concern myself with her results. In fact, I must stay out of them entirely, because if I focus on any recovery besides my own, I will fail. And I hate failing.)

We left the bar rather quickly, literally ten minutes, and the valet guy hadn’t even gotten back from putting my car away when he was called to bring it back up. I drove the boulevard, listened to some Jethro Tull (locomotive breath), found a parking place directly in front of my building, took Saucerton Dogsworth out for a piss, and sat down to write. Because it will be many many Saturdays before I feel comfortable sitting in a bar looking across the mats and open space into the eyes of jack or johnny, or Jim or Jose. These are all bad men who do a dirty dance when we make out. I don’t care about the music and inebriated laughter that fills the air, or the need to create an image that says I’m okay sitting someplace I used to sit, but doing it differently. Right now, there is nothing that makes me more content than sitting on my couch, writing a few words and calling this Saturday night, a night.

Posted in: Days