Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Rose Café

The phone rings twice as a pre-dawn wake-up call which is enough to pull him off the couch, the couch made as a bed, his bed, to rouse him into another day of possibility, or chance.

He doesn't think, really, not even to process his dreams, just strips the sheets, folds them up to tuck them away until this evening. He swiftly dresses and shaves, within minutes striding across the cul-de-sac to his companion's idling car, heading off for the daily ritual, to hike to the peak of the Santa Monica Mountains and dash down the other side.

That accomplished, they retire to The Rose for strong, strong coffee.

The Rose - on Rose, of course - is another comfort, a place to reassure him that things are happening. It's a coffee shop, to be sure, a place to relax, but no one is relaxed his companion points out. Everyone is writing the screenplay (longhand - this is 1991) or pitching the screenplay, talking the good game.

Everyone has a project, she says. She's made a game out of it, walk up to a stranger, pretend like you know them, ask them how "the project" is going and they'll tell you, they'll tell you all about it.

In walks that b-level actor, he's been in some dumb movies, and more recently a supporting player on last year's hot TV show which may or may not have ceased production. He's someone or no one but his mere presence - a guy like that - validates the joint as a place for those who work, who make it happen.

Our man has a banana nut muffin. She, his companion, told him bananas contain potassium, which naturally alleviates anxiety, and though he would be much better served eating an actual banana, this moist, delicious treat has become his defacto power breakfast. It goes much better with coffee. He can justify the caloric intake by skipping lunch, daily.

No one is fat in L.A.

He never smoked in L.A. Never took drugs in L.A. He only drank when out, never in the apartment. Never cut his hair, either, which was a mistake. Wrote a postcard daily to his ex-girlfriend back home which was also a mistake.

The act of happening is happening. Doing the work. Sending the work. It helps if the work is good, but does it matter? Why not create the work and set it aside? Why publish? Why publish! Publication is reality. Publication is fact. Publication says I am here.

This evening they will skulk film shoots, walk the beach, hit Tower Records, it's all part of the work. She's having a reading for a script for Roseanne she's working on. He's never seen it, there's one line that doesn't make sense to him why it's funny. She says it's because he needs to hear John Goodman say it.

He is working on a newsletter, Notes From L.A., a collection of essays and cartoons about how lost and disillusioned he is with the the city. Matt Groening got started this way. He will print it and send it home and that will mean that it is all happening for a reason, that he is happening.

Pungent, black coffee. An empty muffin cup. Bright sunlight. Job interview at Friday's at 1:30 PM. That's in four hours. Writing can wait, time to hit the beach.

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