Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The last three weeks have been a lesson in learning to exist in the middle of chaos. And it's surprisingly not as frantic as I imagine it would be, or how it's been in previous chaos of my youth, where it seemed like the only way to deal with stress was screaming at people, yelling in traffic, sobbing my eyes out, listening to a bunch of vintage Nine Inch Nails, a beer bender, or showing up on some guy's doorstep. Because the world is OVER. OVER, I TELL YOU! And I have to make it as bad as possible! I'll kick my own sand castle down! Might as well, I'm already at rock bottom, so let me pile on multiple ways to feel bad about myself, so I get it over with all at once. (again, youth.)

For the past few months, I always told God to "Lead on, God, lead on. Where are we going? I dunno. I'm looking at you to lead me the way you want me to go."

And I guess when I say that phrase, I'm half imagining feeling some supernatural force grabbing my hand and yanking me down some path. THIS WAY! WE'RE GOING OVER HERE!

Three weeks ago, we were dealing with the sewer issue, which rendered the toilet in my house unusable for a few days. I luckily was housesitting for Nick and Nora the first night, and the second night, Xavier let me crash at his place. At a late night dinner with Xavier, I was cackling at the recent events, and I felt like Julian Sands in that awful movie Warlock, where he's shaking his fist at the sky and screaming at God, "IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO!?" (Xavier countered with Forrest Gump's Lieutenant Dan lashed to the boat in the storm screaming at God to bring it on.)

Regardless, I cackled because it felt like the best response to a sewer problem, especially when the plumbers hit tar when they dug up the front yard when trying to fix the sewer line, adding on more days for an unusable toilet.

Xavier might have said something about how maybe I shouldn't dare God like that, who knows what would happen next. And I might have said something like "Bring It On." Because the masochistic part of me prefers to be kicked when down, rather than wobble up only to get smacked again. Much easier to curl up on the floor and continue to absorb the blows. Less effort.

I've said over and over again that God doesn't act instantly or quickly when it comes to my life. He moves about 2 percent the way over something like four months at a time. Like a producer who takes four months to read your script before getting back to you.

But over the past three weeks, God has arranged circumstances in such a mind blowing speedy fashion, it feels like I'm getting clobbered by a loving Deity wielding a pink padded mallet that smells like Stargazer Lillies. It still hurts like hell, but at least there's a slight element of pleasantness about it.

After the Stupendous Sewer Experience, came the House Painters From Hell. Our landlord is putting our house on the market, see, and nobody would buy the place with all the cracks in the walls. (Why anyone would want to buy the place anyway, considering it would probably fall down with the next earthquake over 5.0, is beyond me.)

So here come the House Painters From Hell, who are going to slowly worm their way through our house over the next two weeks, filling in the cracks, painting the walls, moving all our furniture into the middle of the room, hiding our bathroom towels, breaking our curtain rods, unscrewing drawer handles, and covering most everything with a fine layer of paint dust.

The clock has officially begun to tick on this residence, and it's only a matter of time before we're all going to have to move. The two worst things you have to do in Los Angeles are trying to find a place to live, and trying to find a job. I'm currently temping, and now I will most likely have to move on top of that unstable foundation.

But God wielded his Pink Puffy Mallet and KA-BOOM. Stella and Wella call me, completely unaware of the Wormy House Painters From Hell, wondering if I'm interested in moving anytime soon. Because they know someone who's looking for a dogsitter to rent their guest house in Los Feliz, the owners are gone a lot, and want someone onsite to take care of their Dalmatians.


I go check the place out that weekend. Compromises will have to be made. It’s small. It’s a shower, not a tub. It’s a stove, not an oven. It’s a half fridge, the freezer’s in the garage.

But it’s utilities included, with cable and internet thrown in there. Access to their washer and dryer (and oven, if I feel a baking fit coming on.) There’s a pool and a view. It’s a gated property, so nobody breaking into my car or house. The Dalmatians are lovable.

And I’d be living by myself again. No more annoying roommates who kick on the door to get you to open it because they’re loaded down with bags. Who have their girlfriends crash with you for over a month freeloading on the rent. Who leave dishes in the sink, shoes and socks in the living room, and veg on the couch watching TV all day.

It’s not ideal, but I’m thinking nobody gets ideal anymore. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than what I have now.

So now as I’m pulling all the stuff off the walls, all the notecards to various outlines, and Panda Express Fortunes that made me smile (“Buy The Red Car”? Seriously?), and pulling my furniture into the middle of the room for the Wormy House Painters, I’m also putting things in boxes, and making multiple trips to the Goodwill, carting half my CD collection to Amoba ($65 in store credit! Whoo hoo!) and making arrangements to rent a U-Haul.

I haven’t moved in years. I’m horrified at the amount of useless crap that I’ve left piled up over the years. It’s literally me shaking off half my possessions, and there’s a certain freedom in realizing that I don’t need this stuff.

It’s a rebirth. A redefining of me and what my living environment will look like and what my life will look like now.

Which will be very different.


Here comes the Red Cross Blood drive! Is it any wonder I filled up that bag in six minutes? I'm stressed out of my mind, my blood's just ITCHIN' to come out like a crimson geyser of loveliness.


Here come my parents for a visit! Yaaaaaaay! They hate Los Angeles. I don't blame them, necessarily. I've just learned to live with it. Of course, the littlest thing that goes wrong only re-confirms their opinion that L.A. is the worst place on earth to live. TRAFFIC ON LA CIENEGA BLVD!! THE SIGNS ARE IN KOREAN ON WESTERN BLVD! PEOPLE CUT IN FRONT OF YOU ON THE ROAD! SERVICE AT MOST RESTAURANTS IS SLOW! HOW CAN YOU LIVE IN A CITY LIKE THIS!? ONLY BARBARIANS CAN LIVE HERE!

The best part was when we were walking to church and turned the corner to see a dead squirrel on the sidewalk. I have never seen a dead squirrel in my life, let alone in Los Angeles. I'm sure that they do die, but I assume it's under a bush, in someone's back yard, etc. but here is one, smack dab in our path, eyes still open. It's not mangled, it's not twitching. It's as if it had a heart attack and died right in front of us.

Now Mom and Dad think that dead squirrels on the sidewalk are a regular part of life in Barbaric Los Angeles.

But God arranged circumstances to where I got the call to housesit Ginger Puppy and Basil Diva Dog over the last two weekends, which removed me from the Wormy House Painter Chaos for some of the time, and provided Mom and Dad with an unexpected idyllic retreat for one of the days of their visit.

And throughout all the clobberings, throughout every new layer of complexity (temp gigs! Changing over my address! My play's still running! Another Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy gig over Labor Day Weekend!) throughout every new wrinkle that I don't question anymore because there's usually a reason behind it, I have not yelled. I have not gone on a beer bender (I'm waiting for the sister cruise with Agatha!) I have not stamped my foot and shaken my fist at God.

I've just sorta kept going. Trudging, maybe, but forward. muttering thank yous every step of the way. Perhaps that's progress.

I still whisper every morning, “Lead on, God, lead on.” Because I’m a masochist, and I wanna see what fresh-new-hell-that-will-ultimately-be-good-for-me will happen next. But I know better than to think a supernatural force is pulling me. It’s more like a parting of a curtain, revealing some kind of stormy sea. You gotta navigate it on your own, using your own strength, wits, and skill. But there’s a beacon on the other side, so at least you know which way to go.

That last metaphor may be horribly mangled. My apologies. I’m in the midst of a monster sneezing fit, which started as soon as I stepped into the house tonight. Damn paint dust. You could say "Bless you." But I think it's clear that a certain Pink Puffy Mallet Wielding Deity already has. Heh.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i love getting rid of "stuff."

come on, that squirrel story is classic screenplay fodder.

did you buy the red car?


my word verification to post this comment right now is "conts"