Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Observatory And Beyond The Infinite

I returned to my box last Saturday morning after having visited the Donut/Noodle People, and greedily consumed one glazed donut while sipping hot coffee and watching Vincent Price in "The Tingler," ("SCREAM FOR YOUR LIVES!") on my computer.
A little later, just after 10:00, I went downstairs and collected Jose, and we both made our way to the Hippie Kitchen for a little brunch of, you guessed it... beans and salad... and a little pre-buttered bread (thank God I don't have to butter my own... I get so nervous!).
Jose is an amicable young man, who just celebrated his 41st birthday (of which we celebrated by having breakfast downtown, then seeing the film, "Transformers 2." Horrible movie). However, he is a bit reticent, and not much of a talker. Quite often I feel that I have to pry information from him just to keep some semblance of a conversation going. I believe he'd be perfectly happy to not speak at all. Not that he is not willing to talk, but his conversation is economical, and he does not waste time with superfluous speech.
We finished our nutritive and savory meal and returned to our respective boxes.
"I'll come and get you in about an hour. Okay, Jose?"
"At twelve. Alright."
I used this time wisely by taking a trip downtown to the Central Library they have down there, and returned the copy of 2001 A Space Odyssey we had shown the day before at Movie Day, and which was currently driving my lovely case manager, Erin, crazy. I also picked up my bus pass for next month from a local check cashing facility.
Back right on time, I returned to Jose's box and knocked on his front door. I heard some shuffling inside, and then he opened up. He stared back at me a little blurry eyed, as if I had awakened him.
"I don't feel very well," he told me.
I rightly assumed he was telling me this in order to cancel his participation in the day's outing.
"Sorry," he said.
"That's okay, Jose. I'll see ya later."
Undaunted, with my time now my own, I returned to my box and continued transcribing while watching the last half of the film "Breakdown," with Kurt Russell, and the late, great J.T. Walsh, before leaving for the observatory, all by myself, at 1:00.
The day was horrendously sunny, and warm. I brought my book, The Evolution of God, with me to read on the Red Line, always wishing to make good use of my free time (by now I was learning of the transition from polytheism to monotheism in the Middle East, specifically Israel).
I caught the North Hollywood bound Red Line subway at Pershing Square, to the Vermont/Sunset station, then returned to the light of day at the intersection of Vermont and Sunset. Many people were walking about, and many vehicles were going from one place to another on the busy streets and boulevards.
The observatory could be clearly seen in the hills northwest of where I was standing, while waiting for the Observatory Dash bus to whisk me away. It's unusual architecture and stately setting gave it a majestic stance sitting proudly above the LA basin.
I waited approximately 30 minutes for the shuttle to arrive. At one point a young black gentleman, dressed in black pants, white dress shirt, and tie, came out of the Red Line station and approached me.
"Which way is Hollywood Boulevard?" he asked.
Quite lost in any other ares outside of downtown, and the San Fernando Valley, where I spent much of my formative years, I took him over to the nearby MTA transit map, located where we both were currently standing, then where Hollywood Bl. was supposed to be, while remembering that Hollywood was just north of Sunset, and directed the young man to the next major intersection north of us.
"Thank you," he said while walking away.
Another good deed done.
Soon and old fashioned trolly like bus made a right turn off of Sunset onto Vermont and the bus stop where I was standing. There was no sign intimating that this vehicle was going anywhere near the Griffith Observatory, such is the obfuscating nature of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (unfortunately I could not blame this on the MTA (Metro Transit Authority), as the Dash lines are run directly by the city, and I was forced to pay 25 cents (American) to ride each way). But being adventurous myself (take that young Erin!), I bravely asked the driver of said bus if he was going to the observatory.
"Yes, sir!" he exclaimed.
I hurriedly boarded the trolly, which was outfitted with wooden benches on each side, giving the bus an air of authenticity, while simultaneously making my shapely, rock hard butt exceptionally sore.
We took off, making a right turn east on Hollywood Bl., then north through the Los Feliz residential area.
I admired the scenery, wanting to get off the bus and walk around. There were nice open air cafes to go to and sit and eat in pleasant conversation with pleasant friends. Nice homes and apartment buildings lined the streets. I fanaticized about moving there.
My fellow trolly passengers had fun pulling on the Stop Request levers, which were connected to real brass clanging bell type devices, which were very loud. I had the beginning of a headache by the time we began climbing the hills north of Los Feliz, past the Greek Theater (Where I once saw Jerry Lewis perform, of all people, when I was just a teen).
We entered the full parking lot, and there it was, the Griffith Observatory, in Griffith Park, and the city of Los Angeles beyond, esconded in a nice thick blanket of nitrogen oxides, tropospheric ozone, volatile organic compounds, peroxyacyl nitrates, and aldehydes, commonly known as smog. Something I've been breathing in on a constant basis for at least 46 of my 53 years.
I'm afraid that when I retire and move to Ireland, or up north to Monterey, the change in my baseline pollutant level will finally kill me.
We shall see.
To Be Continued.

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