Archive for June, 2012

Sparkle

June 15, 2012

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Car washes in LA are different.

They not only hawk air fresheners and windshield wiper fluid — but also magazines, greeting cards, espresso, snacks, even ice cream. They offer outdoor seating, where you can enjoy these delicacies under a sun umbrella (or, at one place in Culver City, from the comfort of a coin-operated massage lounger) while before you, an army of very recent immigrants bend over the hoods of BMWs, Audis and the occasional Honda, whipping them shiny with an endless series of clean rags.

I always try to tip well, and directly into the hands of the guys doing the work, ever since I read an LA Times article about how car washes compete with strawberry fields for Worst Office Environment in America. Most of the workers are illegal, and some owners take advantage by paying them even less than you’d think, and then confiscating tips to boot.

But if you’re on the right side of the curb, there are cool drinks, sunshine, nothing to do but sit — you might almost think you’re on vacation in a third-world resort, the kind of place where brown people in white uniforms keep everything picture-perfect for the visitors.

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Gene

June 9, 2012

This year I forgot to remember the day my dad died.

May 26, 2006.

I’m mostly okay with forgetting, because after May comes June, when every business that’s ever gotten my email address sends me something about “Gifts for Dads and Grads,” and the coffee shops and bookstores bring out the Father’s Day cards, and there he is again, plain as day.

Caffe Luxxe has some really nice letter-pressed cards next to the register, and while I’m standing in line I pick out the one I would send, which makes me a little wistful. Then I take my latte over to the table — along with breakfast: a nice whole wheat roll, almost a brötchen, that he would very much enjoy — and I read the New York Times.

I’d like to know what he thinks about this mess in Europe. Just when you thought the whole continent was irrelevant — about time, too — it’s back on the front page. I’m sure he’d have an opinion. I’m sure it’d be pragmatic, well-informed, and not especially optimistic. But it’s a bummer: For the life of me, I’m not exactly sure what his opinion would be.

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Sawtelle

June 3, 2012

It was a really good first date. Comfortable, but not boring. The kind where you feel like somehow, you already know each other. Like you’re the same age, maybe not in years, but cosmically speaking.*

It was the kind of first date that’s followed by a second date. Within the same week.

We went to a place that specializes in LA’s latest culinary trend: “bar food for dinner.” Everything on the menu is either fried or pickled, full of fat and salt — designed to make you reach for another sip of your handcrafted cocktail. We had fun.

Still, I wasn’t prepared for the end of the evening, when we were standing by his car, in that sweet, awkward, pre-first-kiss silence.

Me:    (inside my head) Now? Is it going to happen now?

Him:  There’s something I’ve been thinking I should tell you.

Uh. Oh.

Me:    Yes. You should tell me.

Him:  I’m actually… with someone. I can’t remember if I’d mentioned…?

Me:   No. You definitely didn’t mention it.

Him:  I mean, I think it’s ending.

Me:    Uh-huh.

So, it was a date. The kind that makes you remember you don’t know anything after one or two dates.

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* And I think we can all agree that a date which leaves you musing about the cosmos is either really good… or really, really not.