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Chasing the Muse down Sunset Boulevard
I'm driving on the 405 freeway, heading west from the San Fernando Valley, my economy class, four cylinders, piece of shit, barely chugging its way up the steep hill. I'm forced to turn off the air conditioner, in order to get the lemon-mobile up the hill. My 98-degree blood begins to boil along with the blazing hot madness outside. I reach for my icy bottled water, only to have the fucking thing slip out of my grasp and out the window. " Jesus H. Chrrrist!" The car next to me honks its horn. " Oh like I did that on purpose, ya old hag," I scream while waving my fist. The driver next to me is a gray-haired, bee hived granny in a 1989 Lincoln Town Car, with a "Jesus is Lord" bumper sticker. I feel like such a heel! Why did I do that? Poor granny, I probably scared her. What's the matter with me? It's like people aren't really people while they are in a car or something. "Drivers deserve to be respected." The traffic schoolteacher wrote this on the black board, during the grueling eight-hour class I just attended last week for a moving violation. Those damn hidden cameras! I didn't even find out about it, until a week later, when a ticket arrived in my mail box, accompanied with a couple of pictures ( that's right, not just one, but two) shots of me going through a red light. And here I thought I was receiving some extra money from the government for back taxes. Fat chance and a fat check I had to write for 300 dollars. But nooo, do you think I remember these things while on the road? Of course not! I usually don't think about it, until after I have made a complete jackass out of myself. My car drives along the side of grannies again and this time I give her the peace sign, while mouthing, "I'm sorry." She nods her head.
Up the road I trudge. My ears plug up and I can hear my mothers voice saying, "Remember to pop your ears!" Snap, crackle, pop, I force a yawn, relieving the pressure build- up.
I turn right on to the Sunset Boulevard off ramp where a brand new Lexus pulls up beside me at the stoplight. I look over to get a peak at the driver residing inside the luxury vehicle, and to my surprise, it wasn't some old fart businessman type, sporting a chia pet on the top of his head, but a muscular young buck, springing with virility. My tippy tops got tweedy, until he stuck a well-manicured finger up his nostril, and proceeded to dredge for a crusty nugget. This pissed me off; he ruined my buttered muffin in his refined face visual! I decided to mimic him for my own amusement, by grabbing my lunch (a banana) and putting it up to my ear, assimilating it as a cell phone, while sticking my finger up my nose. I looked over to see his reaction, but he was not amused, instead speeding off in a huff when the light changed. I guess booger jokes aren't as funny when you've been the one caught picking in public.
I whiz down the serpentine street of Sunset Boulevard, destination unknown, obsessing over the theory that my sunny, southern Californian state will some day be submerged under water, and that I too, will sink down the abyss along with it. Zig, zag, zig, zag, my car slithers along the snake, the Pacific Ocean patiently waiting to devour me when I reach the bottom.
I worry about these things, stupid things that nobody else ever thinks about, which is probably an unconscious attempt to procrastinate my writing. That's why I am driving along the streets of West L.A.; it seems to stimulate my brain into writing mode.
The hardest part is getting started. The minute I pick up my pen to begin writing, I am mummified by a blanket of fear and the harder I try to wriggle free from the layers of gauze restricting my artistic ability, the tighter their grasp becomes on me. I take a deep breath and remind myself that it took Edison a gazillion times before he discovered how to utilize electricity. I ponder on the possibility that maybe J.K Rowling felt like this in the beginning.
This realization puts my mind at ease; slowly my self-binding straps loosen their grip. Next, I summon my muse, which I know is a futile attempt because her majesty refuses to divulge any information when openly asked. The queen prefers to cryptically appear when I least expect it, appearing at the most inopportune moments, such as while I am driving, taking a shower, or working out. She's like one of those pain-in-the-ass boyfriends or girlfriends who demand your attention, the minute you're not paying attention to them. My muse is a tease who likes to play hard to get! Just when I think I've got her, she takes off for weeks on end until I forget about her. Then, out of the clear blue sky, her stimulating brilliance shines its way to guide me whenever I have lost my way along the yellow brick road.
Another problem I commonly run into when I begin to write is that just when I go to sit down, and put pen to the paper, personal people bugs start buzzing all around me. The phone rings, a knock at the door, the fax machine blurts out uncontrollable messages, and every gardener in the neighborhood seems to start their blower engines at the same time! Oh, and then there's the construction workers who decide it's time to use the chain saw, hammer, drill and whatever other noisy device they have available, seemingly to distract "me" exclusively. It's like they all have a conspiracy against me to prevent me from writing. Maybe I'm just crazy, but it seems like all the dogs in the neighborhood are in on it too, all barking simultaneously, the minute I start to work! It's a test; it has to be, the writing gods are testing me to see if I have what it takes.
* * * * *
I enter the city of Pacific Palisades, where Mercedes and Jags rev engines along side each other, and the occasional Ferrari sports past them with effortless speed. Sometimes I spot a celebrity casually crossing the street with a bag of groceries. No big deal, just another human being getting some errands done for the day.
I have to be careful to drive the thirty five mile an hour speed limit between Capri and Almalfi Drive, because there is always a sneaky bike cop hiding in someone's driveway, just waiting for the opportunity to seize some unsuspecting motorist taking a speed run down the high life and fast lanes of Pacific Palisades.
A teenage Bronco bitch rides my ass. The nanny raised brat blares her horn at me for driving the speed limit. Next, she blinks her headlights on and off. When I try to change lanes, she nearly runs my compact, putt putt Mazda Protégé off the road. She's just one of the many, thinks she's savvy, SUV, gold digging bitches, who thinks she owns the road. It's usually not the spoiled Barbie dolls vehicle, but her rich old, burnt out, gas-bag of a boyfriends car, she had to give up her Virginia Slims to obtain. That, or her daddy gave it to her to make himself feel better for not spending any time with his princess - he works long hard hours you know, to support his golfing habit. She disregards the traffic rules of the commoners because after all, don't you know who her father is? He takes care of such nonsense.
She flips me some L.A. hospitality and abruptly cuts in front of me. I push my brakes hard, my pullout stereo soars to the back seat of my car. Great, no music! I hate driving in silence. Suddenly, I become acutely aware of how alone I am.
I finally reach the end of the Sunset snake, arriving at Will Rogers State Beach on Pacific Coast Highway. I pull up to the parking lot, and much to my chagrin, I find I have to wait in a ridiculously long parking line to pay ten dollars for a space. I spend the next half an hour circling around and around the lot looking for a vacancy. Then, just when I was about to give up, I spot a family (sporting in an SUV, of course) backing out of a lane. I bolt over to the other side of the parking lot, noticing another brassy haired, sun-in damaged, Bronco bitch thinking about stealing my space. My little blue torpedo swooshes in front of her, where I stake my claim, sandwiched between two humongous sports utility buns. The blond, kuchi momma with the set of imitation balloon racks, honks her superior horn at me while simultaneously spewing off her tuff girl bullshit, her over-sized jugs jiggling uncontrollably as she does, but I just laugh at her, blowing her a kiss.
I look out over the vast ocean, glistening indigo and sapphires, the sun's reflection making it difficult to keep my eyes open. Closing my eyes, I drop to my knees; humbled by the oceans omnipresent power. I grab a handful of warm sand, walking trance-like up to the waters edge, becoming conscious of the fact that my seemingly insignificant existence is part of nature's vast whole, and that I am contributing to a greater master plan. I decide that today is not the day I will sink into the ocean's abyss, but rather, become one with its omnipotence.
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