Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Unreal Life

I’m done writing. I’m never going to ever write another piece for as long as I live. I’m not going to submit anything else for publication ever. I will not look to my family for stuff to write about. I will not reflect on my past.

Will not, will not, will not.

I’m reading a book called, “Digging the Vein,” about an L.A. drug addict and what’s caught my attention the most is how many typos there are. Every twenty pages or so one will pop out at me. Made me think that this was put together quickly – that someone read it and liked it but didn’t really read it, that not enough people really read it before going to press. When I’m finished I’ll throw it on top the other drug addiction books I’ve read – Permanent Midnight, Trainspotting, Candy.

I read Junky while sitting next to my mother who lay in a coma.

I read Diary of Drug Fiend while my father lay in a coma.

There I go again. Reflecting on the past.

The other night I took a late-hour trip to visit with one of my best friends. Drove the 210 to the 134 and got off at Hollywood Way. Drove to Cahuenga and pulled into the lot of the Holiday Inn Express. Waited there a bit until S came down, leaving behind the hubby and her toddler. After coffee, after some soul-warming conversation, I took her back. We chatted on couches in the lobby, “Gone in 60 Seconds” playing on the television too low for us to hear. Later, near midnight, I hugged her and said goodbye.

A young, Latino man stood outside the entrance against the wall. Just stood there, waiting for something. He watched me as I got into the car. I sat there a moment deciding how the hell I was going to get out. The lot was packed – no place to turn around. There was a set of three, skinny, bleach-blonde couples, talking and laughing, huddled near the entrance. A hand-written sign on the door said, “No Vacancies.” I decided I’d just pull forward a little, turn the wheel a tad, and drive backwards to the entrance of the lot where I could then turn around and get back on Cahuenga. It worked – got out without scraping the car.

The time was 12:30 and I took a different way home – got right onto the 101 which would eventually turn into the 10. I passed all my old exits for USC and Loyola, passed through downtown. I passed the Norris Cancer Hospital in East L.A. Passed the shut-down Sybil Brand Institute. Immediately, at seeing the hills across the freeway from Cal.State L.A., I thought about a turning point in my life – a visit to Sybil Brand, the women’s county jail, where I watched a ragged prostitute in a torn, red satin skirt get booked. I was visiting with my criminal law class from Loyola Law School. When we left her, we were treated to a throng of the most frightening women I’d ever encountered behind glass jumping up and down and mocking us. Sheer madness. The sight made me decide against becoming a public defender, a dream I’d entertained since high school. My Pasadena, privileged upbringing had rushed forth hotly and suddenly all my visions of representing the underdogs in society melted away.

I’m going the safe route, I said, I choose safety.

The rain has come again and I’m inside, feeling protected. M has just come in from outside. She wore her pink rain boots and played in the mud a little. Sassy watched from the porch, barking every so often. She has no fear, no discomfort at being wet or dirty. She’s still young, I think.

My coffee’s cold. The cereal from earlier this morning is soggy. The tests are still at my side. Showering awaits, tidying up the house awaits, and then there’s lunch, dinner…things to do…nice, safe things to do.

Fiction awaits.


8763 Wonderland said...

Nice little symphony for a rainy evening in L.A.

velvetbabe said...

Well, you and I both. That Pasadena upbringing. Funny, when I was a therapist for those kinds of populations I was brave.

Now, as a writer, much less brave.
And the past floats up at me.


BurgandySkies said...

Drug Addiction books fascinate me. Likely because I see reflections of myself and people I have known in them.

What did you think of "Requiem for a Dream"?

Adriana Bliss said...

Burgandskies, I didn't read "Requiem" but I did see the film and I have to say, the scenes where the mother finally cracks up under the use of the diet pills has to be one of the scariest sequences I've ever seen. The visuals were amazing.

You're right about the reason for the interest - they reflect both something inside and that within the familiars.

Adriana Bliss said...

Thank you, RJ.

And Valentine - yup. To think how any more people would be serving that population but for that Pasadena upbringing! LOL! Thanks for reading. :)