Los Angeles, CA
About two weeks ago, I fell off the wagon because of a trip to the post office. I know, I know. I should have stayed clean, but the post offices in LA are... well... terrifying epicenters of misery and gloom. I get chills up my spine thinking about those torturous lines filled with psychopaths and miscreants. The lines are manned by civil servants sitting behind seven-inch thick bullet proof glass, not to protect them from the public, but rather from one of their own just in case they happen to snap and embark on a shooting-spree. Trips to the post office are crazy enough that it would be one of the few reasons I get a pass to pop a few pills in order to ease the pain. The other excusable reasons would be recovering from wounds incurred from a grenade attack or bleeding gums from dental surgery.
I took the day off after a two week surge of intense editing. I figured that I spend the time reading, resting, working on the February issue of Truckin', and taking a well-needed break away from the manuscript. And I ran one errand.
I had been putting off a trip to the post office for over two weeks so I finally bit the bullet. OK, a junkie finds any excuse to justify a reason to get shitfaced. The post office was a cover, albeit a good one. I had to mail out a few things including W-2s for Showcase. He got a bunch of stuff from MGM. I think it's tax stuff on his nickel and dime residual checks for being in Legally Blonde 2. Anyway, he lives in NYC now so I had to mail off those documents so he can do his taxes.
Ah, that's just an ugly reminder that I have to also set aside time to do all of my tax stuff. Blah. On a good note, I didn't make as much money as I did in previous years which means that I hand over less to the federales this year. Since I took off a good six months or more to write -- I missed out on all that potential freelance work -- hence, less income. Maybe I'll make it all back with the book? Ha. Another pipe dream.
Anyway, I popped a half of Vicodin, stepped outside, and waltzed through the slums of Beverly Hills. The parking lot to the post office was full so I knew it was not going to be pretty. A woman in a beret and a long jean skirt (one of those religious types with a dress hugging the floor) screamed at one of the clerks. This is what greeted me.
Welcome to the hell. I think that branch is one of the few that Bukowski worked in many moons ago. No wonder he drank all the time.
A woman standing in front of me wore a grey USC sweatshirt and running gear. One of those power lawyers on a quick run during lunch break. The woman behind me looked like she was smuggling something. She was in her late 20s, early 30s. Could have been Hispanic. Or Asian. or both. Some sort of exotic blend. She wore nice shoes. Really nice. They scrapped the ground when she walked. She couldn't stop sweating. I mean... the lawyer in front of me was working out and she was sweat-free, yet the woman behind me looked like Patrick Ewing shooting a free throw with a pool of sweat collecting on the floor.
She cuddled a box about the size of one of those Amazon.com boxes. Standard size. Fits about three or four books. In fact it was an Amazon box. Recycled. She scratched out the logo with a sharpie. And she couldn't stop sweating. It was about 64 degrees outside. Not very hot indoors.
The perspiration was smuggler's anxiety. Yeah, it was obvious. She was shipping some sort of contraband somewhere. Coke. Heroin. Meth. Who the fuck knows. I didn't care. All I wanted to do was send Showcase his W-2s.
I hate post office runs. They can take fifteen minutes or ninety minutes. This one was ten minutes too long. But by the time I left, I was completely faded.
I missed the warm glow as I floated down Pico Blvd during midday. Cars whizzing driven by careless douchebags yapping on cellphones. Massive orange streaks rumbling by in the opposite direction. Public transportation carting around the working poor. Carting maids and nannies from Beverly Hills back to all points east. The guy at the fruit cart sits by himself reading a copy of L.A. Weekly. He's looking at the Asian massage parlor ads for joints down in Korean Town. I turned the corner and walked down my palm tree-lined block, swept away in the warmth.