It’s been a rough winter. It’s been a rough year. Events of the past 12 months have left me adrift and isolated and struggling to find a way back to life and love and all that hooey. It hasn’t been easy. But it didn’t take me long after returning to Los Angeles to find what I’d been missing.
Last night at Spaceland, above the crash and bang of the music and the din of shouted drink orders, I ran into a bunch of people I’d known from back in the Amoeba daze. And I don’t know why it struck me as surprising, but all of them remembered my name. I mean, this is a store whose work staff was easily over 200 people. You knew lots of names, but they tend to drift away. Especially after three years away.
And then again, today, when I actually dropped by the store, aside from the rows of new faces at the checkout counters, which see more turnover than a WWI trench, it was almost as if I’d never left. Of course, I had, and there’s really not much to do at Amoeba if you’re not on the clock, so I wandered off and drove down the street to my old apartment building on Martel, where I thought I’d check on my old neighbor, Bertila.
I love my old place. It’s in a classic Hollywood apartment enclosure with the front gate and the courtyard and the big, central banana tree, and as I mounted the stairs to her flat, I found it impossible to believe that it had been a full three years since I’d move out of there. So Bertila and I sat and talked in her flat, me, the addled, aimless motormouth and her, the wise, hookah-smoking caterpillar with her back to the sunny window, wreathed in pearly smoke, dispensing advice and gently chiding me for being so reluctant to admit that I’m totally rad.
Those are the kinds of friends I have. The awesome ones.