Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Dances with Public Defenders

An oxygen deprived brain is a happy brain, but not the most intelligent. You discover this when you climb high atop Mauna Kea, to one of the foremost astronomical observatories. Due to the high elevation, the smallest things, like the misalignment of the telescope or spilled tea set one to giggling. Everyone's good for a joke or two, but don't expext to get an answer to your burning questions about multi-variable calculus.

I made this observation while at the Short Stop, a former cop bar in Echo Park (cop author Joseph Wambaugh used to be a regular). There I encountered an engaging, albeit weird, group of people. Several in particular were suspected of some foul intention by me or my crew at some point in the evening. The highlight came when a bunch of stiffs in suits showed up and one among their number (of the female persuasion) came and asked Ryan or I to dance. Turns out they were a bunch of off duty public defenders. Maybe the cops and the public defenders have a turf rivalry over the bar and unsuspecting bystanders like myself get caught in the middle. But we weren't all together innocent. By the looks of us, a man calling himself Mark suspected we worked for the government, or were terrorists perhaps, the two being easily confused. But that didn't stop him from buying us a round of drinks. Oxygen deprivation loves company.

This past week, I've worked very closely with two students from Germany, Kathrin und Bianca. I showed them a few places in LA, mostly restaurants. On Sunday morning, we headed to the Getty museum, along with Ryan, my mom, Andrea, and Andrea's sister, Marie. Quite a crew. We came across an endless stream of tattooed bikers on Harleys, some of them dressed like Santa and carrying toys. By some strange alignment of the planets, Toys for Tots and Hell's Angels had decided to merge and have a parade. It was a perfect slice of Americana, the sort of thing that just couldn't be planned.

Later this week I turn 27; yes 3 to the holy power of 3. Seems the older I get, the younger I realize I am. Last night I said, "Just 973 more to go." I figure you ought to be wise when you turn a millenium. But nobody made it that far, not even Methuselah. Imagine being that old, having lived through the Crusades, the invention of the printing press, the discovery of the Americas by the Europeans, the Industrial Revolution, and two World Wars. That sort fo perspective is only granted to the Elves in Tolkien's tale. And what do they do with their wisdom? They high-tail it to some other land beyond the sea. Could a human handle all that living? We'd surely have to call him or her The Historian.

Next week I leave for Texas. There are many well trodden routes to TX, with glorious names like 10 and 40, but I haven't picked 1 yet. Mostly I want to stop in Tucson to visit a friend. Other than that, I could take the high road thru New Mexico to Santa Fe (or Taos?) or the southern road thru White Sands on to El Paso. Decisions, decisions. I love the southwest, at least what I've seen of it. My last big adventure there was a whirlwind tour of the nat'l parks in utah two years ago; a final bachelor excursion with Kurt, Ryan, and Ace before Kurt got married later that year. I've heard New Mexico is gorgeous. I've never been to Santa Fe, but I really want to go and see the enchanted desert, those pueblos, and talk to some native americans and/or new agers. And I guess I do have to come back; which, by my calculations, gives me 2 chances to see stuff! The goal is to be in Vegas on New Years, with or without reservations at the MGM.

Assuming all goes well, the second installment of men's group should be happening tonight. Travis and I are starting another group, and tonight we'll meet who's in it.

ps: looks like I'm in the top 20 on Google for Hussein torture...

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