I have a lot of stories kicking around in my brain lately. I need to jot this down right quick, before we get to the heart of this post, okay? So, bear with me.
– I want to write a post about humans, and how we constantly deny everything that is animalistic within ourselves. This wave of thoughts came from staring at an ass at work the other day, a tremendous ass… an ass that turned around to reveal the face of a 14-year-old girl in booty shorts. I was flushed with guilt. And then I felt a rush of resentment toward humankind. Must write more on this soon.
– I filled out a thing for a person. A thing about “getting close to thirty,” and one of the questions had to do with what I’ve learned in my twenties. This question made me realise that I am wise and fairly brilliant. I must write a big long post, to share my wisdom with the world.
Okay, now on to tonight’s post. This is a story. Or maybe some stories. Ready? Let’s go, fuckers!
So, I’ve been back in New York (Long Island) for six months and three days now. I eat out. Yes, I love me a tasty vagina now and again, but no. I’m talking dinner here, freaks. Anyway. People here, when I walk to a counter to order foods, they ask me: “To stay or to go?” And this makes me chuckle silently every single time. Do you want to know why?
When I moved to Venice, California, back when I was 21, I got a job at a cafe. It was called “Mani’s Gourmet Cafe & Bakery,” and was located on Main Street in Santa Monica (yes, there’s another one in WeHo on Fairfax somewhere but that was different). I got hired on the spot, on my second day in Los Angeles. This place was ghetto-fabulous. Lots of vegan items, we sold acai smoothies before America jumped on the acai bandwagon. I used to serve breakfast and lunch to people like Helen Hunt, Jackson Browne, Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Piven (before he became famous for playing Ari Gold on Entourage. And yeah, I will have plenty of shit to talk about Jeremy Piven in a little while, just wait), and a bunch of people that I am forgetting right now and may or may not remember while writing the rest of this. Anyway, it was a cute place to work. One third of the store was occupied by some lady that was selling designer clothes from Israel or some shit? The whole middle of things was all tables, and there were tables outside. Cute because it was Santa Monica, so everyone brought their little dogs in with them (and this was before Paris Hilton famously toted her shit-head dog around in a purse), and there were big dogs too sometimes.
The reason I started writing this is because of the laugh. On my first or second day at Mani’s, somebody caught me saying “To stay or to go?” And they thought it was the funniest thing in the world. This laughy girl was called Simone. She was not nearly as glamourous as her name suggests (Simone is a very swanky name, I think, one of my favorites). She was very pretty all around her face, but then she had the big Jewish honker going on right in the center of everything. She was adorable, and very American. She called over to David and they had an exchange about my NY-speak. Anyway, the point is that, that day I learned that Southern Californians say “For here or to go,” instead of “to stay or to go?” And when you throw a wrench in their spokes like this, they get all fucked up.
I hadn’t even thought about this in years. Because I went on to work in other cafes and restaurants at times, in California and in Oregon… and I always said it The Western Way. But now, back in NY, it feels uncomfortable to hear people say “To stay or to go,” it makes me feel like… less welcome or something. When they ask me, as often as I can, I respond with “for here,” just to see what happens when I throw this wrench in THEIR spokes. Nobody in NY has time to give a fuck.
Anyway ANYWAYS!! David at Mani’s used to get really good pot from this chick who ran her weed business like a covert mission. I never met her, but I smoked her delicious nugs at work with David all the time. He was very tall and lanky and not very tan and had long, stonery hair. To this date, he is the MOST California Californian I’ve ever known. He’d roll spleefs all the time, and we’d take turns running out back to puff on these monstrous things. I don’t know why, I guess I just liked smoking with him (I probably had a bit of a crush too, I mean he was pretty fucking dreamy, to be honest), but I never enjoyed being high at that job. There were always snobby fuckers coming in, and it’s hard to be dehumanized when you’re stoned as fuck. And WORSE, one time, this tea nerd guy came in. He and I were friendly usually, and he’d let me try some of his $150/ounce exotic loose-leaf teas, and I’d hook him up with free scones and vegan chili and shit. But the one time he came in, when I was completely blazed, I hated him for every second that he stood there talking to me about his teamaster boss lady. God. Most awkward situation of my life.
And, okay. So I just remembered this lady. I don’t remember her name. But she was like… a bag lady, you know? Apparently, though, she was one of those homeless people that were crazy as batshit and secretly very rich. She gave all the money to cat charities and stuff. BUT. This fucking lady. She wouldn’t carry all her stuff around with her, she definitely stashed it somewhere, but she always brought her rag with her. I mean she had a fucking tore up old wash-cloth that she brought everywhere. She’d come in, try and get us to give her free soup, and if we said no… we got the rag in our face. It smelled of puppy shit and clown piss. And she’d yell incoherently too, while smacking us with the doo-doo rag: “YEEEAAAGGGCCCHH!! GONNA SLIDE UP THAT CORVETTE’S FUCKER!!” Or some such COMPLETELY non-sensical bullshit. We called the cops sometimes, but eventually, she stopped coming around. She probably died or like… took some fucking money out of the bank.
I worked with Simone and David a lot. But there were also Shannon and Lilly. Two girls who were best friends. Shannon went to UCLA, Lilly went to USC. I was in puppy-love with both of them, and I also did write a song for each. They even came and hung out and had lunch with me at Mao’s a few times, and then we’d go to the beach and hang out on those rocks I always loved.
Venice Beach, at the end of Windward Avenue. There were the remnants of the old skate park. But past there, there was a lifeguard hut just like Baywatch, and some huge rocks. During my time in Venice, and living at the hostel there, I sat on these rocks with people from at least 30 countries. I got drunk with every one of them, and played guitars and sang songs with most of them. I will never forget many of those nights. I will never forget the Irishman Brian, or the beautiful Chilean girl named Camilla, or the Dutch Astrid, or the American homeless prophet named Jesus Gus.
FUCK. Anyway. I need to wrap up. BUT. Jeremy Piven, in 2002ish, was a total cock. He always wore a stupid fucking bandana like Bret Michaels to try and convince us his hairline wasn’t receeding. He would sit outside, talk on his phone, read the paper, complain if we weren’t super fast to serve him, and then leave a fucking shitty tip EVERY time. He was never nice to anyone, not once. We all hated him, and constantly joked about how PCU was the only decent thing he’d ever do. Did NOT see Entourage coming a year or two later…
Okay. This was Part Two of my L.A. Story. Part One can be found here.