June 27, 2005


On Friday night, my wife and I went to the Cloverfield Press reading and then to drinks afterwards. I had a Jim Beam on the rocks. I don’t think I’ve drunk hard liquor since my daughter was born, almost three years ago (in July). Drinking Jim Beam reminded me of being in New York, going to Ludlow bars, drinking shot after shot of Jim Beam, maybe Jameson, and chasing it with beer. Getting really fucking drunk.

Those days seem long past. I could never be a hardcore drunk because I can’t really drink hard for more than two nights in a row. Maybe it has something to do with my bad kidneys, I don’t know, but I could never be a hard-drinking writer type because my body just shuts down after a couple of days. Still, though, it was very satisfying to get a drink or two with my wife in an L.A. bar.

Our social life has been pretty much nil since we moved to L.A. I think this could change dramatically soon enough, but then I always have felt this. We’ve been here a year and a half and we don’t have many friends. People who we see often and feel we can count on and count on us. Actually, this is part of the reason we came together. We both lean towards being hermits. We bring this out in each other and tend to foster it. It’s been like this everywhere we’ve lived. Not the greatest impulse in the world and we both want to shed it. We’re good for each other in many other ways.

Being parents makes it that much harder. We have had a very hard time meeting conducive people in Los Angeles. The parents at the park are so aggressive and competitive, and sort of hyper-normal. I have a theory that women who wear beige capris and pastel shirts: suck. Sorry if I offended anyone there. They exaggeratedly push their child on the swing, chirping, Wee, Wee! not for the benefit of their kid, but for everyone else, as if to say, "LOOK! I’m a good parent. LOOK! I’m a good parent." My wife recently went into a public restroom at our neighborhood park where two women had their shirts off, comparing their breasts after implants. "Sometimes they sag, but they look so much better than after my baby was born." We feel like aliens in a world of aliens.


Don’t take that the wrong way, we take her to the park all the time, we’re just not always comfortable.

No doubt we’re too judgmental, but we just haven’t connected with anybody. My wife feels very distant from these women. She’s a former stripper and many women might judge that. Somewhere there are stripper friendly, non-competitive parents out there. We just haven’t found them. We also live in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood so many parents we meet are staunchly religious, Bush supporters. On election day, our neighbor asked her husband, "Who are we voting for?" It’s been hard.

So…we went to a literary reading and got a taste of people who like books and such. Had some conversations that didn’t make me want to kill myself afterwards. I’d like some more of it.


Billy said...

i hear you friend. people are real paranoid these days. the realness is gone you know. when am with poet friends am cool. my girl is a poet and she's a loner type too just like me. so we go good together. at poetry readings that's when i open up and say my thing. peace.

Spiral Stairs said...

How can you connect with anyone in LA? The city is designed to sever connections and lengthen distances.

Although I don't live in NYC anymore, I still have the NYer's attitude toward urban life: I want my feet to be my primary mode of travel.

Henry Baum said...

I agree. If we lived in a hipper neighborhood like Silverlake or Los Feliz we might have a better chance of meeting people, but those neighborhoods are all too expensive. Ironically, we found a place on the edge of Beverly Hills, so our local park is filled with trophy wives who are kind of mutually sycophantic. I’d love to go back to my old neighborhood park in NY, Seward Park. They were just fixing it up for kids when I left. Though I'm sure I'd find something to complain about there too.

Joseph K said...

One of Spiral Stairs and my friends lives in a house in Echo Park. Hung out with the cat there. It was really cool.

Empty Drum said...

I live in the woods, in a house full of mannequins. They are excellent company.

ashleycrow said...

The neighborhood used to be the community, but these days in most places you have to find it via special-interest organizations/clubs or churches, etc. I spent all of my children's early childhood feeling different and somewhat alienated from the other moms. But that's preferable to being like them.

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