From The Other Side

I’ve been in Los Angeles for 6 years now. It’s such a large city that it takes time getting to know places and to figure out where you are and where you want to be. I moved here pre smart phone. I remember having stacks of printed Google map locations in my car along with a Thomas Guide. My system worked pretty well, but at times I would get lost and have to call someone. Roommates, friends, ex girlfriends and acquaintances have all taken me to different places throughout the city over the years. Showing me the way around. It’s been sort of a patchwork quilt of familiarization for me. Experiences both good and bad are vividly remembered when I rediscover places in my travels around the city. It’s like seeing something again that you’d forgotten about, but from a different side.  A new perspective. When it happens, I often replay the experience in my mind about what I was doing and whom I was with.

Last night I was on a rooftop looking out over Hollywood Boulevard when I spotted a familiar coffee shop down below. Years ago I  remember being there with my laptop using the free wireless, drinking the cheapest cup of coffee on the menu and looking for work. I was so poor then. I had lost my car to engine failure, and didn’t have the financial resources to fix it. I had to ration my food as I waited on the results of whether or not I’d be accepted into the food stamp program. I had a subway pass and 10 bucks to my name. Luckily my girlfriend at the time offered me a place to stay so I wouldn’t be homeless. I came so close to that.  It was such a dark time then.  When the call came that day to be one of the producers of a play  being developed for a run at the Geffen Theater, I almost lost it with excitement. The people around me sensed something good had happened and one asked if I got a callback. I said, “Yes.  It’s to produce a play here in LA.” After that people started asking about auditions and who was directing it. I felt my reasons for being here were now justified. Previously I’d flirted with the idea of getting a regular job so I could eat and survive, but then why was I out here? Looking over the boulevard it makes me feel so warm tonight. I’ve come a long way since then and seeing it from the other side makes me really appreciate all that I’ve had to overcome.