Nudity and WiFi

from Friday, July11th of the year2008.

I’m going to travel again tomorrow ““ to Los Angeles, and then to London, and I haven’t been updating this space because of frantic preparations for this trip. Whenever I’m frantic, I start forgetting things, or thinking I’ve forgotten something. For instance, the other morning, I thought I had forgotten where I had put my toenail fedex-jersey-overlap-small.gifclippers. While I was showering, I was SURE that I had figured out where they were, and so I rushed out, and over to the window, where I found (a) the toenail clippers and also (b) six eager Chinese toddlers, peeking out over their rooftop at my naked form. Great. Now I can add little Tiffany Fung to the short list of people who have seen me naked (including my old FedEx lady uptown, SORRY, I seriously thought you were somebody else.)

Right now, I am in Los Angeles. I have rented a white two-door mustang, and a GPS system governed by an officious woman who tells me when to do what. Yesterday, she tried to get me to buy a whole lot of grey Carol Christian Poell shirts and then she tried to get me to go to a Starbucks Drive-Thru. Last night, she helped me find the Hollywood Bowl, which is amazing! It’s like Tanglewood for these people! The bowl was lit with a flesh-colored, rosy light, and the whole thing was very supple and inviting. The concert was over-the-top: Saint-Saëns’s's Organ Symphony, and Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique. Having just come from Actual Tanglewood (as opposed to Paved Tanglewood) where I saw some seventeen hours of Berlioz, I think I’ve had enough for the week.

I wish I understood LA better. I am somewhere, Location A. Miss GPS says that it will take me 20 minutes (or 55 minutes in traffic) to get to my Destination, where I need to be in One Hour’s Time. Should I leave now, and then risk being early? Every meeting I have here comes with nineteen people’s assistants emailing talking about “Guest Parking Spot” and “Validation” and “Lot” and “Pass” and “Security Officer.” How do people keep all of this straight!?

I am in a coffee shop using $25 (!?) WiFi.

Something to think about. When traveling (or sometimes when not) there are a lot of moments where you approach somebody in a position of some sort of authority, say, a hotel clerk. You brandish your paperwork, you give her your last name. She makes a FACE, and it’s this FACE that I want to explore for a second. The FACE is like, “Oh, I don’t think we have your reservation.” Even if it lasts a microsecond, that face is the difference, I think, between Okay Service and Not Okay Service. Seeing that face is completely devastating, especially after complicated travel. I got that face yesterday about seventeen times, attendant to every appointment I had. The worst was, I had been left a ticket to the hollywood bowl, along with the instructions, “Drive up to the security guard, and you might have to fight with them, and tell them that you’ve been left a pass at the stop sign.” Are you crazy? What is this, Lagos? Bribing a security guard!? So stressful. And of course, I roll up in my White Mustang and the Nice Officer wanted nothing to do with me and my window-rolling, “It’s at the stop sign” saying ass. Stressful. I wish there were some kind of secret code-word that indicates, no, it’s alright, I’m meant to be here. Maybe this is just a deep-seated anxiety about access/lack of access.

13 Comments

  • In its variety of nuances for the expression of rudeness, LA rivals even England. Come home from these bad places.

  • But has the GPS lady seen you naked? She might not be so officious …

  • As a native Angeleno, I must come to the defense of the ways of the Southland. The first rule of LA is that, in every new encounter — unless you’re repossessing cars or dealing real estate — is that you have to get yourself totally mellow inside and radiate loose confidence outside.

    The best way to prepare for any encounter is to waste large quantities of gasoline: hop into a large late model car late in the night, crank up the music of your choice and transit freeways randomly until you achieve either oneness with LA (see also “flow, go with the”) or get some serious munchies, which can be adequately answered almost anywhere at any hour in LA except, of course, for that place in Westwood with toasters at every table.

  • I, too, am staunchly opposed to the FACE. I actually had an entire BODY and VOICE to go with the FACE last night at a gas station. Horrid. Especially considering all I wanted was to pay for some petrol.

  • I’m in Lagos now, and you’re right of course. I’m curious — when were you in Lagos, and what were you doing here?

  • I wonder how often that face has been mine? It is my face, not my voice, that gives people their first sense of what I am like.

    “It’s alright. I’m meant to be here,” is a truly inspiriting idea. Now, if those of us with faces could convey “It’s alright. You’re meant to be here,” the world would be ok.

  • I am also an LA apologist.

    The whole driving/parking anxiety is something I dealt with a lot when I lived in LA.

    The great thing is, everybody in LA expects themselves and you to be late, so there’s really no reason or excuse to be early.

    And the key to dealing with weird parking issues is, I concur, to be very mellow, loose, and meekly confident. You have to act like you’ve gone through the procedure hundreds of times before. If somebody gives you a hard time, you have to act like they’re a little kid you’re playing a game with. Lots of gentle laughter…

    LA is a good place, for me at least.

  • Nico- Re “the face” – One doesn’t get it much in Vermont- but then one doesn’t get much of anything here in Vermont- other than Vermont- which as you know is plenty, kind of. My theory is that “the face” is simply dumb people who are being asked to think.
    Yes, To think about you. Your reservation, your parking- whatever. That’s why they have celebrities- Celebrities allow them not to think. Oh it’s Brittany -she must have a reservation. Pamela Anderson right this way ( she still alive?). Read- “You’ll Never Lunch In this Town Again” Before next trip to LA.
    About Stravinsky- yes off course and those idiots asking for Beethoven structure are the ones making money feeding the idiots (like me) who watch their conventional narratives. In Painting Cezanne did the same thing- non- hierarchical structure ( Phil Glass of course who took it from plumbing- despite the waste line being seemingly more important than the feed line it’s really not- no I think he took it from Indian festival music and modernism- and minimalism) Stravinsky with all over compostion Joyce and Wolf in literature- i.e. modernism ( why my last series of ptgs were neo-modernist- because modernism now
    has to be an affect- since it’s “over”.
    What is with this benefit for the Main st. museum? I didn’t even give to Dr.’s w/out Borders this year! The only Luncheon benefit I went to was for Landmine Survivor’s Network fopr the Narchios Stavros awards at Chelsea Piers. Epatha Merkeson or whatever her name be there
    as MC- but the real point speaking of girlfriend is that the Guardian was saying that these Opera folk were taking their fishmongers to the Opera- which of course is the thing to do in these days of oil crise
    and escalating food prices- If you DON’T
    take your fish monger to dinner you won’t have fish. Ask your mother how she got the stolen trout we et? huh? She snuggled up to trout thief. And in future my dog and I would prefer if possible not to be referred to as “another homosexual and his dog!”
    Andy & Boss or if you need to accentuate
    my queerness-Queer Andy and his Bi- dog
    Boss. I couldn’t even handle the Religious
    gay thing- makes me too crazy- good for you for digging in there. Saw a nice gay- aids movie called The Witness, last night by Techine- who did The Wild Reeds.

  • what a tomata

  • I can’t wait to hear more of your impressions of Los Angeles nuttiness! That place is bonkers! If they’re not giving you The Face, they’re all, “Oh my God how ARE you?” and not meaning it, sashaying around in their giant sunglasses.

  • “Lack of access.”

  • Surely there must be a way to make that list longer…

  • Blogged about this post. Interesting!