Underside
Saturday, December 03, 2005, 10:25 AM

Los Angeles is never dull. It's a never-ending kaleidoscope of color and sound that is terrifying and overpowering if you're not prepared for it. And I wasn't.

Unless you're dripping wealth from your manicured fingertips and can afford an outrageously overpriced house, or perhaps a well-insulated condo in a high-rise building that overlooks the city or the ocean, living here is never quiet. Ever.

The city is overpopulated and each person seems blithely unconcerned about the amount of noise he creates. Hell, who would dare complain about Mr. X's Mexican Thursday night pow-wows under the carport when the alley-prowling Reubens of the city choose to push shopping carts down the broken cement of my alley in the wee hours of the morning, digging through each and every metal trash can for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Oh, and I can't forget the process of squashing them. Crack! Crinkle! Kee-runch!

Were you asleep?

Concentrating?

Watching a movie?

Too fucking bad and welcome to the city of angels!

I've been thinking about an alternative plan to the metal can and plastic bottle garbage can diggage and squashage. The alley outside is already disgusting with filth and trash that never made it into the garbage because people around here are piss poor shots and/or they just don't care. Why bother picking up the Indian takeout Styrofoam box to put it into the trash when someone's obviously just dumped his ashtray all over the ground there? God knows what the greenish-yellow splotch is, but whoa, step lively.

Originally I had thought about suggesting padlocking the trashcans and giving only the residents the key. Some of the restaurants in Fort Wayne do that to discourage dumping, but there isn't a chance in hell that that would work here because people already litter. A padlock on a trash can would be like an engraved invitation. As bad as litter is now, it would get worse. I suspect that many of the residents are doing the littering, anyway.

I thought about suggesting that everyone stomp the hell out of their Coke cans and water bottles, then place them neatly outside by the trash cans. Right next to the abandoned sofa, baby! Then the shopping cart Reubens could sit for a moment or two on the sofa, maybe while marveling at how sometimes the gods do smile on you in the size and shape of neatly bagged, squashed bottles and cans. But somehow I don't think this idea's going to work either (there must be at least a hundred folks who throw their trash away here along the alley), but the thought makes me smile.

Usually as my discontent grows, I get more and more quiet because I want to retreat from all of the ugliness. That's how I cope. Silence is a necessary step to come to terms with myself about whatfreakingever. Here in L.A., though, it's taken longer since silence is rare and I usually equate silence with peace. But I'm through being silent. Finis. I plan to rant as often as necessary.

So. There is a big metal trashcan outside my window. Last night there were several random occurrences of something big and crashy being thrown into the bin. The noise and weight of whatever it was reverberated through my room and gave my toes a massage. Unfortunately, the sudden shock of the noise did not outrank the brief massage. Unfortunately, it's a public trashcan and there must be five or six dotting our scenic alleyway here. My hope that whoever was pitching old bowling balls into the trashcans would equally disburse them, was a waste of time. But not really because here I am, capturing all of the glorious details for posterity. And misery makes for such great story telling. And reading, if one isn't too woe-is-me.

I hate it here. I tried not to, but then everything started pressing on my insides and the more I tried to smile, the more I felt like doing less of it and if I have to remember to smile so I'm socially acceptable, it ruins the moment because obviously I didn't feel like smiling at that particular time. But if I don't smile, people ask why and then guilt, regret, tears and shit ensues. A never-ending cycle of depression-fostering muck.

A few weeks ago I went to see a psychoanalyst. I knew I was depressed and desperate because I took the bus to a busy area of the city where I've never been and didn't know where I was going. When I left with a headache and Splotchy Face, I felt drained and horrible, but somehow better. I walked five blocks back to Robertson and waited an hour for the next bus. But I'd made it. I'd successfully navigated my way to point B from A, but can I say that point C still scares the hell out of me?

Life is what I make of it (but may I suggest that you never say so to someone you suspect is depressed). Like choosing to see the clean toilet bowl and not the turd. Admiring the thought behind the box of three dozen doughnuts left on the sidewalk of Culver Boulevard. Realizing that I had to break first if I was to grow stronger. Appreciating how the shadow compliments the sunlight. Marveling at a how a flower can grow out of the cracks of concrete.

12 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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