November 12, 2019, Indio-
Among my circle of family and friends, a half dozen or so live in and work around Hollywood, with a view towards making it in the film industry. I have a sense that each of them will make their mark; some being steady and modest successes and others rising to considerable fame. This is a harsh environment, both in terms of the level of competition and in the amount of stress that striving to entertain others produces. Then, there is all that comes with living in Los Angeles- Knowing how to adapt to high volumes of vehicular traffic and living among a lot of people with intense schedules and lifestyles. The same could be said of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta or Seattle; in fact, of any large city. Los Angeles, though, has The Allure; a generally mild climate and a goodly number of laid-back people, scattered among the intense crowd.
Penny and I visited Hollywood, in the Spring of 1986, heading straight for the Walk of Fame, after having spent a day in Disneyland and the following evening at Knotts Berry Farm. This was our only trip to LA. All other California visits focused on San Diego, Santa Cruz and, once, Santa Barbara. Since she’s been gone, I’ve been in the LA area a few times, but today was my first visit back to Hollywood. This time, the Walk of Fame was not on the agenda. My purpose was a visit with one of the above-mentioned aspirants in my circle, who is one of my son’s best friends, and the venue was a small eatery on Hollywood Boulevard: Division 3.
As you can see, Hollywood, as it exists for many people who live there, is rather densely built, with parking at a high premium. All manner of people are out and about. I initially parked about a half-mile away, near a Catholic school, well off the main drag. When I.P. arrived, we walked up to my parking spot and he told me of better, closer spaces. So, Elantra ended up about two blocks south of Hollywood and Bronson.
Back at Division 3, we enjoyed about 2 1/2 hours of conversation, catching up on all that transpired since Aram had last visited Phoenix, about four years ago. As it happened, that was the length of time that the harried restaurant chef needed to fill our order. Hollywood establishments frequently get slammed with large, spur-of-the-moment orders, especially at lunch time. The fare was worth it, as neither of us happened to be in much of a rush. One touching moment was a homeless man, seemingly a bit confused, asking me where Michael J. Fox was. I told him Mr. Fox was off working for Parkinson’s research, which made him feel better. IP and I got in our Hollywood, 2019 photos. (That’s my camera case, on my right hip, BTW.)
The meet-up ended all too soon, and I was off on the last part of this LA adventure: The Slog. Hollywood-to-Rossmore-to-Wilshire-to-Crenshaw-to- I-10 was pretty much a breeze. LA to Palm Desert was far less so. It was 3:15, when I merged onto my moving home, for the next four hours. What is comforting about The Slog is that, as in Chicago and New York, people have worked it out. Public Enemy # One would be anyone who causes an accident; things are hard enough as it is. We were family in anonymity, keeping watch for those who were moving slower or faster than the majority. No one, in my scrum, was injured or inconvenienced, and by 7:15, I was in Palm Desert, stopping to visit Bill Tracey’s crew at the third branch of Bill’s Pizza. It is a large, spacious and very welcoming edifice, off Highway 111.
The Slog is hardly something in which I will be partaking, frequently. It is an ungainly use of energy, time and space, necessary, for the foreseeable future-but crying out for alternatives. Surface roads help out some; yet mass transit and more regional urban villages need to be a greater part of the mix.
I am stopped for the night, at Western Sands Motel, in this easternmost edge of LA’s Metro Extension. Tomorrow, I head back to Home Base and preparations for what may turn into an early winter-snow is part of the forecast, next week and the week after.