Los Angeles, CA
It was only a few minutes past 7 in the morning. 7:04 or 7:05 to be exact. That was the last digits I recall seeing as I glanced at the cable box before closing the front door.
The nippy weather outside surprised me, but I was glad that I wore my hoodie and zipped it up. I almost cursed the somewhat-chilly temperature when I realized that it was only in the mid-50s, considered frigid winter conditions by SoCal standards, but compared to the frozen Northeast I was living in sunny Paradise.
I carried a book with me, my breakfast reading, and slid on my sunglasses. I shook my head at the two planes in the stratosphere spraying chemtrails as a zig-zag pattern of who knows what hovered above the City of Angels.
I walked down my block and became aware of all of the alarm clocks going off simultaneously. At least three, maybe four, could be heard -- all of different alert sounds. I assumed that those people were sleeping through their alarms or too lazy to shut them off. Perhaps they were deep into an intense dream and unable to hear the alarm? That didn't matter because I heard the shrill sounds of awake alerts as I scampered down my near-empty street.
One female jogger whizzed by and an older gentleman with a Dalmation took a dump in front of a palm tree. Those were the only people I saw on the street as I continued to the corer and greeted by an army of single file cars stuck at the traffic light. Morning commuters shuffling off to work in their metal coffins. I didn't see another person until I opened the door to the coffeeshop.
I gotta say that the folks who own/work at the coffeeshop have seen me in all forms -- at my very best and my very worst. I frequent the eatery a lot when I'm actually in LA. I would probably hang out there more if it were open late, but since it's open at the crack of dawn, I'm often rolling in there after being up all night.
Sometimes, I'm floating on air riding the frenetic wave of the writer's high and in those instances, they are seeing me at my finest -- full of brio, confidence, and beaming with pride.
At least once a week, they'll catch me at the low-point of an insomniac's nightmare -- being up for two or three days and slowly moving like a sedated zombie. They've seen me on the verge of puking my brains out on the rare instances when I stumbled in hungover to all hell. They've caught me all unnerved after fights with Nicky or butting heads with nimrods in the poker industry. They've seen me stoned, faded, and jacked up. I've often wonder if they talk about me when I leave.
"Man, he reeks of weed this morning."
Or... "Wow, he looked faaaaaaaaaaaded. I wish I had what he had."
Or... "Someone is extra chipper today. I wonder what he's on?"
I only make those assumptions and jokes because Nicky has seen at least two of the coffeeshop's staff inside the local medicinal marijuana dispensary. In fact, many of the workers at that exact dispensary eat at the same coffeeshop. Nicky bumps into the budtenders all the time, and I'm used to seeing one big ass black guy (super-sized Michale Oher size) who is the security guard at the "weed store." One thing is for sure, you're not going to fuck with that guy in a physical test of strength.
If I had a local neighborhood bar and was an alkie, I assume that the regulars would be the ones who saw me at my best and worst. But since I can't find a decent dive bar within walking distance of our apartment in the slums of Beverly Hills, I'm resorted to drinking in the apartment and hanging out at the coffeeshop in the mornings.
Which makes me wonder... what do all of the cops think of me when I stumbled in crocked to the tits?