My Cradle of Friends rock my fear,confusion, attitude, confidence, and spirit. Thank you for sharing the storm. I will bring my light back because of you.
- The exhilaration and expectations of stepping out of one grid, of eighty thousand people in Santa Fe, NM to one million people in Los Angeles is something I didn’t really think out, it was more like, I’m going home, to Tara.
Santa Fe slow as a rippling stream manifests when I’m at a yellow light, and I think the driver behind me is going to have a heart attack if he doesn’t get through before it turns red. How serious, overly stimulated, exhausted and determined the Angels of Angeles evolved. Either you are so rich you don’t have time to say hello, or you are struggling with loneliness and can’t wait to say hello. When I lived here in the eighties and early nineties, the vibe felt in social arenas; Hollywood, technology, the arts, and real estate were promising ventures of investment. People in the know were opening shops in ungentrified neighborhoods, warehouse space was scraping the horizon downtown, real estate was affordable, and technology wasn’t the flag we saluted, it was more like we’re in real time paradise.
Century City, very close to my front door, is a memory. My father lived on Century Park East in the last few years of his life. He didn’t like it because it was all concrete, newly built, it didn’t have a history. Now when I drive into the satellite of HIGH RISES, mall music, billboards, shops, and cafes, I know what he means. It is changed, rushing executives, employees, shoppers, a pace that makes one slower feel extradited.
Then the parking, you will need a ticket to park, a parking pass, or you will have to circle the block four times before you find a parking space. The line outside the restaurant is too long, or not long enough, the business of dining here is a mouthful of expectation. The business owner of a shop sells me what I did not come in to buy, and the sales pitch is like a Hollywood script, and I’ don’t know the language. The wait for the Doctor is two months, and that’s if he takes your insurance, which I found out in California has very few Medicare physicians. If someone does speak to you, you can’t hear them because there is so much construction noise, pulsating bass music in surround sound, you find yourself shouting.
Flip the coin. The day after I landed a woman walked up to me and said, ” Oh, you just moved in, I’m Barbara, I’m at 1203 welcome to the neighborhood.”
We walked together with her little Boo dog. She asked questions, and I answered because she was that kind of person you want to talk to, she soothes, applauds, and comforts all in tune with your admissions. The next few days as I awaited my furniture, she glided by, and we continued our life stories, some from the past, some of the moment. My first friend materialized, like a new moon in a new city.
IN LA, because of the immeasurable density, people are always close by, not a foot between us. It’s the life here, it’s not the LA I remember, but it is home. So, like family, I am learning to accept and stay individual.
Flushed from frolicking in Taos, with a man I’ve just met. He’s salt of the earth, strapped with degrees, awards, and maverick adventures as a wrestler, a horseman, ski instructor, rafting guide, and something else I can’t recall. An Irish and Scottish face, blue-black hair and unblinking blue eyes that have a life of their own. My smile returned, in response to his teasing, and playful sonnets on sex. We talked breathlessly, responding almost without thinking, the words hopscotched over our private, complicated, infuriating personal lives. His motives unclear, as are mine.
Doused in his manliness, aroused my womanliness until I returned to my bedroom, turned on the news and watched the report on the Texas Chapel massacre My heart descended, it felt like the climax of all the recent massacres exploding in that church. The clues are examined, the crime scene is sealed off, the investigation launched, but what are we really seeking? Some motive to reveal itself; gun control, mental illness, terrorism, political attack, family revenge? Once discovered then the news fades into another catastrophe. What can we do? What is happening to young men who have been expelled from society, taken to violence, and are willing to die.
The answer is absent. It’s not in a book, a song, a friend or an attorney. It’s not online, offline or any other line. Abstract, out of my reasoning skills. Where is it? Come to me in my time of need.
I’ve never been a woman who dated. There is too much pretense and preparation. My preference is to just meet him by circumstance, become friends for at least a few weeks, and then either we are inseparable or separate. Dates are like the holidays, a whoosh of expectation. Had my attitude been more flexible and my social presence more waggish, I could have met more men. They don’t have to be long-term commitments, or marriage, just friends.
The freedom of traveling solo was the prong of my selfishness in my thirties, not anymore. As the curtain drops on romanticism of solo adventure, it’s really second place to romancing with a partner.
Singleness after several years is feeling the chill , envy of couples embracing in laughter, staring into a wedding party as if it was a fairytale, dining alone with the TV, laptop, or music as my audience, but worse of all is wearing the wicked blue robe! The one that feels like a blanket and looks like it should be thrown out.
The actuality of my detachment from a relationship, is posted everywhere and it is neon bright in my head. When this singleness sinks my spirit, I take a bath. Women you know, if you drop down and eliminate, the room that may not be as you please, or a phone call, text, beep, and soak out everything, it is bliss.
Freedom is the bait and the blessing. I can do, go, think, act, without argument or alarm. I have always been more observer than joiner. Even in High School, in a gang of ten gals and guys I continually turned down invitations, or bowed out at the last-minute.
If you are a dreamer like me; youth doesn’t end, people don’t end, ambitions and passions still erupt and the blood in my veins boils to reinvent, redecorate, and relocate. All of those choices are upon me.
SEASONAL AND SENSUAL OVERTURE TO REVERIE.
SUMMER is not a memory yet; my skin too sensitive, and my heart still attached to the moments. I’ve misplaced my journals and so I have to read my to-do list to recall the events. Let’s go back to June; well my head was bent like a candle wick in this memoir. By then I was into the first rewrite, the worst of the next ten. That first one is deceivingly promising, the chapters line up, the suspense tickled, and it was five-hundred pages. The first draft was actually two books, as I dared to try and run the 100 meter in two different directions.
I must have had some standout memories, but I don’ recall June being amusing. Writing about my deceased parents was not summer reading. A year had already passed since I began, and I was now at the last stretch. My sense of completion was annoying. I began to hate the word focus. My body ached for water, in any form, a pool, a river, and the ocean. June was also the month when rejection letters arrived. For a moment, I’d forgotten. Whoa! Stay away from LouLou, her nerves are visible! On the flip, it was also acceptance of those letters. I had to prove to myself that I could take it, and continue writing.
Outside my window, Palace Avenue raised to motorcycles, skateboarders, conversational bicycle riders, and families out for a walk. My concentration was beguiled. So I turned on the fan, the loud kind that screens the room in a hum. I tried to imagine as waves just after they have capitulated into bubbles.
Memorial weekend was gemstone sunlit of color and clarity. I’d decided to break and go to a party at La Posada. Yes, that was my first grasp of summer, the sudden appearance of flowers, greenness of the landscape, flowers, and light. I think it was warm enough to sit outdoors all night. We were not yet ready to kick and scream, it was more of a real memorial kind of party. For our troops who finally are reaching us through the news, the films, and the books.
Most every evening I’d walk across the street to La Posada, have a glass of wine while listening to the chattering guests, age-out themselves by immobilizing a very liberated and young spirit. It’s a beautiful sight. Most people in my experience, come to Santa Fe and strip down to vulnerable. They invite conversation and are genuinely interested. I am asked, ‘What’s it like living in Santa Fe?’ To be continued.
IT’S UNLIKE ANY OTHER CITY I’VE EXPERIENCE.D It’s called the city different, it is also the city difficult. She ( I see Santa Fe in the feminine gender) has to be treated gently. Her weather patterns resemble a menopausal woman,her stature demands respect, and she can be congenial and patient.
You can walk this city as if it were a neighborhood. If you do that consistently you’ll meet people, and get to know them. Unless you’re like me, a standoffish fast walker dazed by the outdoors.
If you’re dazed and illusional you can master this city very well, as the drowsy pace and cordiality allow freakish freedom. I ‘ve seen the liberating soul of Santa Fe, teenagers racing down the middle of a commercial street one foot on the skateboard, bad-ass bikers talking with bad-ass cops, women with parrots on their shoulder, dogs in baby carriages, cats in a bag, and women on horseback galloping up Palace Avenue.
At night you’ll see raging midnight ramblers dancing on the sidewalk, and all of this is appealing to an LA transplant. I have driven in my robe, danced in the street and broken the heels on most of my shoes because of the pot-holes. They are always working on a street, but never the sidewalks. I ‘ve been bounced out of the locals night-howl El Farol for accidently pushing a dancer, who knew the manager, who came running after me and took down my license plate.
So many of us are loners, the serious kind, that have to be rigged out of our nests. Luckily I live on a commercial street and have no choice but to be commercially friendly. After nine years, my seasonal behavior is obvious: sprite in summer, blissful in fall, giddy in spring, and withdrawan in winter. I’ve learned patience, understanding, and adopted a mixture of cultural traditions. I’m close to fifty percent certain I’ll miss Santa Fe terribly when I do leave.
Has living in Santa Fe given me more than I’ve given back? Yes, it has and that’s why when I’m asked what’s it like living in Santa Fe, I try to reveal the blessings here and not the bullshit.
A VERY CLOSE FRIEND that trades you in for a step up the ladder, to improve their bank statement is unjustified malice. This is the most disappointing of all adventures in livingness. At my age, I am still adapting to this egregious consciousness. How do we all get through the maze of life’s obstacles? FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Your pet loves you, your home and garden blooms, your car runs because you service it, your teeth don’t fall out because you go to the dentist but REAL FRIENDS HAVE YOUR BACK.
Thank you to all of my friends that are in my cradle of LIFE. I am sensitive and Im proud!.life.