1. My Building feels like a dormitory for troubled youth with a propensity for creative behavior. At any given time, at least one apartment is crackling with activity – but never someone’s TV. If I want to see a DJ work on her next mixtape, a chef prepare her recipe list, a band jam before tour, or a horticulturalist plant his next strain – uh, then I… go do that. I use my knuckles to double-click on their door. While being there, I inevitably learn something about their human experience, and thus, something about mine, which adds to the experience. We chat, with our mouths.
2. The Beach – I live 50 feet from the sand. I’ve always lived in close proximity to the ocean. I can’t live without it. You hear it all the time. Waves crashing, the volume scrolls up and down randomly. The whitewash rolling across itself in the background like white noise or Rice Krispies (sp?). The water and the sun change people’s moods. Everyone here is on vacation when it’s sunny, especially the people who sleep in their shoes. I deal with a lot of stress indoors, on screens. I don’t deal with any outside. I don’t take smoke breaks so much as reality breaks. Ten minutes from my door, in the sun, I’m a different person. Gasp of air. I usually meet an actual new person, too, because I smile at people.
3. The Boardwalk is as much of an entity as the beach. It is a creature that sleeps like the sun. It has moods. I wake up to the sounds either Hendrix on loudspeaker or a live, acapella version of Lil Wayne’s ‘ Six Foot Seven’ done by the Jamaicans on the boardwalk. ‘If it’s sunny, it’s summer.’ Clack of clay wheels on pavement – carts and skates. This is Dogtown and we have our own economy. The skeleton is made up of pot collectives and tattoo shops – our population is highly docile, but dedicated. We live in peace, we will defend ourselves.
The boardwalk dresses up differently all the time. Ads. Spraypaint. Murals. Graffiti. She changes clothes constantly, but she’s got perfect taste. She’s art.
4a. The Alleys (Day)
My first love was film. They’re shooting all the time here. Even though I don’t watch many, I’m always walking through a set. Lighting rigs. Actresses in sundresses. Director screaming cut. PAs funneling traffic and escorting the way-too-real-people out. No one minds the disruption, because the industry pays the city. Locals, housed or otherwise, consider this fair, because we all enjoy the irony of an expensive shoe stepping in a smelly pile of shit.
Speaking of which, I rewatched Richard Kelly‘s Southland Tales the other day for the first time since it came out. I generally like everything I watch now (because of the scarcity), but the fact that I am in 50% of the scenes (just 4 years later) made me enjoy it tremendously. I can relate to JT, SWS, and TR that much better now.
4b. The Alleys (Night)
My part of the city is 100 years old. That might as well be a million to me. It’s haunted. This place has been counter-culture since the 60s. Time stopped here. We won. An ordinance ‘allows’ people to sleep in certain areas.
Example: I take the dog for a walk at night. There are areas I can’t go. The local population gets territorial around winter. They’ll defend themselves. They have secrets here and you can get into trouble if you don’t notice things. There’s always something going on. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, they say [first rule i’d take out, by the way]. I can’t offer much advice, but I look someone in the eyes. Like a fellow Canadian, they just fucking know. And so do I.
There are severe anthropological explanations for the diverse population’s interpretation of this – BUY MY BOOK (purchase/press link pending).
5a. The Streets (Night)
Graffiti all over. Never used to know what it meant till I moved here. That font is so hard to read. It gets taken down so quickly. You know most of them are love letters?
They use chalk on the ground a lot. It’s washed away by morning. Used to be messages for the people without phones – now it’s propaganda or ads. Getting crowded.
5b. The Streets (Day)
There’s no parking, anywhere. This is good for me because I usually do not have gas, but I enjoy using my feet. Crosswalks slow me down, and I haven’t jaywalked since the last time I got arrested for it (May). And I can’t afford the ticket, but I like the city’s pace. She knows when I need to stand there, do nothing, and just listen.
The streets themselves are cracked, severely. I have tripped here before. There is dog shit everywhere – not everyone picks up on it. That’s okay. I am functional enough to not step on shit that is directly in front of me. Don’t be mad, it was probably a stray. I like dogs and have met several here – each has a very distinct personality. Not a single one leaves their shit out in the street w/o securing it in plastic.
Bonus! The Sky
I also enjoy the sky. Great sunsets.
Don’t you hate when the sky is overcast, the color of rotting cottage cheese? Whites and grays. Bumped with stucco clouds.
Sometimes, often here, there are no clouds, and in those instances, I remember the earth is round. Well, I remember that I remember the earth is round, if that translates. 26 years old, I still find that concept mind-blowing. Right up there with the constellations.
When it comes to talking about my home, I need to set ground rules, or I’ll never shut up. I learned that a long time ago. I’d talk about the weather, but I’m going for under 1,000 words.