Have you noticed how infrequently I have been blogging? I’m afraid the competition in the blogosphere market is getting to me. There are so many other others out there with something to say — celebrities, comedians, professional authors, journalists, individuals who have overcome incredible obstacles — that I just don’t think my voice matters anymore. My life is not that interesting. Some of have lives worthy of memoirs. The rest of us live small, forgettable existences.
Luckily, I have friends who have lives worth caring about, like my long-time friends, Noel and Joy, who recently had a beautiful baby girl in New York. I was lucky to visit them at their Upper West Side apartment a few days before my flight to Los Angeles. Their baby was only two weeks old, so small, but so cute. As I admired their new member of the family, the remaining piece of her umbilical cord few off. I found this disturbing since I assumed the doctors already finished the job at the hospital. After all, my health insurance rates are so high, I assume the money pays for something. Leaving part of the umbilical cord on is something you might expect in Canada, but not in the good ol USA!
Joy explained that this was quite normal. This did little to calm my nerves. I decided to take a cab to my next destination, an Italian restaurant in Harlem, to meet friends for dinner. I bought a bottle of wine for the occasion.
When the cab reached the restaurant, the fare on the meter was seven dollars. I gave the cabbie a ten dollar bill. He was under the wrongful assumption that I was giving him a three dollar tip. I explained that I wanted change, and he started cursing at me in Arabic. The combo of the earlier umbilical cord and the angry cabbie was too much for me to deal with in one afternoon. I rushed out, leaving my bottle of wine inside the cab as it sped off.
At dinner, I joked with the others about the lost bottle of wine, but we toasted each other nonetheless with a new bottle. At the end of a delicious meal, the waiter came with the check. I reached in my back pocket, and the wallet was not there. I didn’t only leave the bottle of wine in the cab. I also left my wallet.
Talk about a pain in the ass. I didn’t care about the money; there was only $50 inside. But what about the credit cards and my driver’s license? My library cards?!
My mother reminded me that I was flying to Los Angeles in three days. Could I fly without identification? Luckily, I remembered that I brought my passport to Queens, just in case I met a Parisian model in my local Flushing McDonald’s, and she wanted to bring me to France to meet her parents.
A week after I returned to Los Angeles, I received a phone call from some woman in Manhattan named “Katie.” She found my wallet in the back of a cab, and since she worked in TV news, she asked her research department to track me down in California and return it to me.
The envelope arrived with no return address. I wondered, just like you — was this Katie Couric? All my cards were in the wallet, but the fifty dollars were missing, so I seriously doubt it was Katie Couric. She would not swipe my fifty bucks.
That’s the end of that story. Other bloggers give advice on how you can find happiness. I give you a half-baked tale of an umbilical cord, an angry cabbie, and lost wallet.
I still wonder what happened to that bottle of wine.
I had hoped to find some good blogging material once I came to California, but no. I’ve been in Los Angeles a couple of weeks now, and while there are moments of humor and pathos, things have been pretty uninspiring. On Twitter, everyone who lives in Los Angeles is always having lunch with important people. My only celebrity encounter is that I almost rammed into the automobile of one of Clint Eastwood’s producers in the Warner Brothers lot. But I doubt you have not interest in that incident. There is nothing sexy about it. Didn’t even see Clint Eastwood.
Since arriving in Los Angeles, I have continued to enjoy my new hobby of taking heavily filtered Istagram photos. Unfortunately, the consensus is that my friends enjoy the photos I took in New York City far better than the ones I’m shooting in Los Angeles. There are a number of reasons for that, the most important being is that it is difficult to do street photography when you are stuck in your car 90% of the time!
One day, I became so desperate to find some “action” to shoot, that I took a walk in a residential area in the San Gabriel Valley, a neighborhood where I was staying with a friend. Across the street from my friend, I encountered three adjacent mailboxes. For some reason, maybe because I never owned a stand-alone mailbox myself, the mailboxes captured my attention. I took a quick photo with my iPhone.
A half hour later, there was a knock on my friend’s door. It was the POLICE! The owner of the house with the mailboxes saw me take the photo. She was worried that I was casing the joint and called the cops.
I explained to the police officers that I was not a criminal, only a online photographer intrigued by the visual symmetry of the three mailboxes, and they seemed to buy my story. Thank God I wear glasses and I’m not African-American. I gave the officers some Christmas cookies, and they left. In NYC, I took photos of gang members on subway platforms without incident. In the LA suburbs, I was almost arrested for taking a photo of mailboxes.
Another lame story. I apologize. You want to hear about successes, not failures. That I’m a keynote speaker somewhere. But sadly, no. I have nothing to say.
It’s embarrassing to say, but I’m miserable. I returned to Los Angeles because it was time to finally move out of house I shared with Sophia, finalize the divorce, and get my own apartment (and also not live with my mother anymore!)
Should I live in Los Angeles or New York? I torture myself with that question, but I’m sure you have your own problems and don’t want to hear me kvetching.
When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I thought it was better to stay over at a friend’s house. So I did, in the neighborhood where I was almost arrested during the infamous “mailbox incident.” I felt a little self-conscious staying in the house during the holidays, especially when he was working and his parents were visiting from Japan.
One day, I got bored writing my screenplay. I was also feeling lonely, like many others during the holiday season. I called up Nicole. Nicole is this woman from Brooklyn who I had a one-night fling over the summer. It’s a long story, and you would be falling asleep if I told you the details.
It was nice to talk to Nicole over the phone. I told here that I was feeling isolated being in the suburbs where I was deemed a dangerous criminal for my iPhone activities.
“I like your iPhone photos,” she said, and then suggested that I make believe that she is riding me in the bed. I said, “OK.”
A little while later, as the tension built during this phone exchange —
“Uh, I think I have to…” I said.
I looked around the room.
“Jeez. There are no tissues or napkins in this guest room.”
“Nothing? That’s not very hospitable for visitors.”
“I don’t think they expect visitors to be doing this.”
“Go the the bathroom and get tissues there.”
I peeked through a slit in the door and saw my friend’s parents watching a Japanese soap opera in the living room. There was no way to reach the bathroom without walking past them.
“I can’t leave the room,” I said.
“There must be something else. Use your sock,” she suggested.
“I’m not going to come into my sock. I just bought these socks!”
“You must have something made of paper in that room.”
I looked on the bed and saw my unbound first draft of the screenplay.
Anyway, I’m not sure I should continue with this story. It’s that whole branding thing. I hate that about blogging nowadays. Everything you write suddenly become part of your “brand.” It’s like you can’t say “I hate gay people” or “fat people suck” anymore without someone unfollowing you. I want to be judged on what I do, not what I say.
I am a good man. In fact, I am so good, that I when Sophia called me a few days, saying she tripped on her laptop cord and broke a toe, I immediately went back to Redondo Beach to help care for her, even though we are on the verge of finalizing our divorce.
Of course, things went quickly downhill when we drove to Trader Joe’s and I offered to wheel her around in her mother’s old wheelchair so she wouldn’t have to put pressure on her foot.
As I wheeled around, danger around every corner, we argued over which direction I should go and how fast I should be wheeling her, and it all seemed like a very very bad movie, and I started acting like an asshole, and by the time we reached the frozen food section of the store, we remembered why we were divorcing. It probably didn’t help that Nicole called while I was wheeling Sophia around, pissed at me for something I’m not going to tell you about, and promptly told me that she didn’t want to talk to me ever again.
That night Sophia and I both slept twelve hours. She slept in the bedroom. I slept on the couch. The next day, we felt calmer, and we laughed a little about our adventure in Trader Joe’s. But it was laughter tinged with pain.
Perhaps now you can understand why I have been avoiding writing on this blog. I have nothing to say.