Los Angeles, 25 March, 2004
(go lemmings, go [the second part])
the more you know the less you need.
anyway ask janis joplin; if you're rich you've got a lot to fear. in a calvinist capitol like california this compulsion gets a tidy strangle-hold by first making lots of rules about what can and can't be done. 'round these parts folks are likely as not to sue each other. in a culture like california (a culture that refuses to take responsibility for its actions) and a place that, by european standards, is lacking in history and social ties... fear, factories, and freedom go together like guns, god, and government.
anyway, what happened is this.
i was living at a guy's house in santa monica. i was taking care of his dogs and his broken old cat while he was getting cancer treatment on the east coast. it was the very best of american suburbia and three months passed by quick, like wind in your lungs.
he came back from the cancer treatment center so i moved out of his house, my job done, and swung lose into the breezes of los angeles for a couple of days in search of a new home. it seemed like being back in the world for me, as if my natural home is now becoming Transition, since living in a house or an apartment - even more so than it has ever before - makes me feel sluggish, sick and older than i really am.
so my first day back in the world, as a remedy, i went to an amusement park.
this bit about calvinist rules and juvenile abandon has always been one of my key definitions of American culture and so (for some reason i've forgotten) i decided an amusement park in the middle of the world's entertainment capitol would make for a good ride.
it's called six flags and while i never saw the flags i did see a lot of roller coaster action.
there's almost two dozen 'coasters in this place. they have more roller coasters on this property than anywhere else in the world.
at least that's what they tell you when you get there.
here is some video i took while riding these. video of 'coasters in the california sunset seemed critical, as if the entire night was made simply for this one act. i'm glad to have the video. i'm horrified and entirely unsurprised to hear myself cackling like some spider-man arch-enemy.
one thing was certain: on one placard there were more rules than there were 'coasters and flags combined.
i met these three cute girls on the merry-go-round. they told me i was a dirty old man (for merely taking their picture). at the uncertain age of 35 i've got a hard time imaging myself as old, but i'll give them dirty. they were all giggling while they told me this. if young women knew half of the way half the world works we'd all be in for at least twice the ride. at the very least i doubt i would mind living in a world run by giggling teenage girls half as much as i mind living in a world run by frowning geriatric men.
god's a fucker, i'm a dirty old man, and this is all about california.
a month after i was at the amusement park, well... let's see.. i have a friend that is very sincere and he and his mother invited me, as something of a guest of honor, to his thirteenth birthday party. we had a good time. he opened presents while his friends make jokes (he got an MP3 player that made me quite jealous) and we all went and ate BBQ ribs at a local texas meat joint.
the birth day was a success. despite being nearly 2 decades older than most of his other friends we still had a knee-slappin good time driving the go-karts at 40mph through hairpin turns and anyone that tells you i am nobler than to stick my elbow in the face of a 12-year old to win a go-kart race doesn't know what he's talking about.
not that any of these underhanded methods of winning go-kart races mattered since my friend M is such a damned good videogame player; he won every race by several seconds.
somehow M's birthday party and my evening at six flags became similar; gutsy fun with machines. juvenile abandon in controlled circles of mechanization. automation and virginal ecstacy.
hell, i should hook M up with the three girls at the merry-go-round and avoid prison. what with M driving the fake cars in circles, and the three girls driving the fake horsies in circles, everyone would probably fall in love and get nauseous.
i could then sit and take pictures and consider, as usual, everyone's impending death.
but perhaps i consider death and sex enough already and thus i remain a permanent resident of Adolescence and, for now, the city of Los Angeles.