Los Angeles, CA
I sat in the diner this morning and looked up at a patch of blue sky above the bank across the street. A couple of chemtrails zig-zagged above. I ask myself every day, "What the fuck are they spraying?" And why are they trying to manipulate the weather?
The older I get, the weirder and more complicated basic things seem to be. And the more I read, I come across more and more questions. And as I true to figure out answers, I have thousands more unanswered questions and very few answers -- and even then, most of those answer seem like hogwash to me, which is to say, any melancholy is derived from questions that can be answered, but are not.
Someone once asked Buddha about the meaning of life. Buddha responded by saying that some questions in life will never be answered, so you should stop asking stupid fucking questions.
The fucking is my emphasis. Even Buddha had the occasional bad day. If I was Buddha, I'd be on mega-tilt from sheeple asking stupid questions like "what is the meaning of life?" and "why is the government spraying shit into our atmosphere?"
Buddha also said life is suffering. Now you know what it's like living in Los Angeles. This city is the ultimate test of Buddhist principles of tolerance and forgiveness.
Case in point: the old man who challenged me to a fight.
Not just any fight, a bare knuckle brawl to the death in the middle of the intersection of Westwood and Olympic Blvd. Here's the backstory -- I had an early dinner with Nicky. She was working and I had the day off but I didn't want to miss the end of the basketball game (technically that's work, but that's a story for another time), so we opted for an early Sunday meal at the diner. We finished up and I was antsy about the score which I religiously checked on my CrackBerry. Nicky was driving and we got stuck behind a car going 5 mph in a 25 mph. I must have said something like, "Fucking Sunday drivers! I gotta watch D-Rose dismantle LeBron and D-Wade!"
Nicky tooted her horn. Perfectly acceptable considering the circumstances. At a red light, the passenger side window rolled down and an old guy popped his head out the window and started screaming at us. Our initial reaction was -- laughter. Then he opened up the car door and screamed some more. He was wearing a suit. He looked like a cross between Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons and of JD Rockefeller (from old photographs when he lost most of his hair). I couldn't hear what he was saying because Nicky was laughing so hard I thought she was going to wet herself.
The laughing provoked the old guy.
He was even more pissed off and he wasn't even driving. Those duties belonged to a woman in her 40s (dressed in black with a weird hat). The old man was simmering over with road rage. Using a cane, he made his way to our car. I rolled up the window and locked the door -- just in case.
The old man stood in the middle of the second lane of Olympic Blvd. and screaming, yelling, and challenging me to a fight. I noticed he was missing the most of his teeth. He had what looked like several ID badges around his neck. I wondered if he had escaped from a nursing home.
I was in a no-win situation. If I accepted his challenge and proceeded to deck the old crazy man, then I'm the bad guy who beat up an old man. All I kept thinking was "I hope the light changes soon" because I didn't want him to start banging on the window with his cane.
I was reminded of the Yanks-Sox brawl with Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer. As much as I can't stand Pedro, he did the only thing he could do -- push a charging Zimmer aside -- and even then he took a ton of guff for defending himself. As much as Pedro had no problems plunking Yanks hitters, he had some semblance of compassion when a pissed old guy challenged him to go at it.
The light changed. Nicky was still laughing as she peeled away. Laughter subsided into sober reality. Thank God he didn't have a gun.