Friday, February 11, 2011

'A Fallen Hero in The City of Angels' (One Slice in Marla's Life)

It was a beautiful Los Angeles day on the third of September,2002.
My doctor's appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Adashek,(such a sweet man) went well. He said I felt fine, (referring to his examination which consisted of his hands carefully and methodically pressing and probing my breasts for any signs of recurring breast cancer). To celebrate another clean bill of health,  I decided to go to Mani's on Fairfax for a (fancy shmancy, overpriced, politically correct, organically grown by properly paid and respectfully treated unionized human beings,) cup of coffee and to peruse the LA Weekly to see if there was a movie of interest for me to see that night. I had about an hour to kill before my next appointment with my oncologist, so Mani's seemed as good a place as any and let's face it folks. There's something about Mani's that makes even the uncoolest person in the city of angels feel just a smidge cooler than before they walked into the joint.  There I was happily sitting in the outdoor patio of the cafe,  taking stylish sips of my double shot Americano, (light on the water, with low fat milk, no sugar,) reading the Weekly and occasionally sneaking a puff off of my Marlboro Lights while nonsmokers looked over at me in disgust. ("Hey, at least I'm outside, and exhaling with the wind current you Jackasses"...I said to myself. To them I said "Sorry" with an apologetic smile). Suddenly there was a loud thump. All of the outdoor patrons heard it.  A pigeon had hit the window of Mani's and the customer sitting nearest to it, picked up the stunned bird and placed it on the sidewalk near the curb. Near me. (Why he picked this particular place to dump the bird I will never know).
The pigeon was clearly very mixed up and confused, walking around in circles, just like a cartoon character would have done. Around and around and around it went. Watching it was making me nauseous.  Eventually it circled too many times and slipped off the curb, onto the street, and under a parked car. Near me.
Several patrons including myself were glued to the future of this stunned bird. Some of them actually got out of their chairs (which was amazing since they were a commodity), daring to depart from their now luke warm double mocha soy decaf lattes, and bent down underneath the parked car, to where the bird was recovering, monitoring its progress aloud to us all. As time wore on, we eventually lost interest, since the bird had not made a move or sound of any significance. Well, an hour had passed and it was time for me to go to my oncologist, so I got up, went inside and paid my bill to the typically unfriendly, struggling actor/screenwriter/musician and counter server. What was this server's problem? Was it that my Americano coffee was not GRAND enough, not SOY enough, not $$EXPENSIVE enough to earn a smile, a grin, not even a measly little teeney,weeney thank you from him? Nevertheless, I proudly walked off with my head held high and slipped into my parked Enterprise rental car, which was just two vehicles away from the front entrance of the cafe. (I have good parking karma.) As I drove off, not a few yards into my drive, I glanced into my rear view mirror and saw a freshly squashed pigeon lying right beside that same parked car that it had slipped down under.(don't ask me how I knew it was a fresh kill ... trust me on this) What is the moral of this little story you may ask? I'm not quite sure exactly. Is it that we should all be happy for what we have in life? That we should enjoy each minute because we don't know what the future holds? That we should be happy we have our health, or that we're able to drink a good (yet too expensive) cup of coffee or that we should be grateful when we have a job no matter how demeaning? Maybe the moral is all of those things, and yet maybe none of them. All I can say with certainty is... I know exactly what happened to that stunned pigeon from Mani's in Los Angeles on September 3rd, 2002. There are many stories of 'What Ever Happened To' ... in this great city of fallen angels. I guess this is just one of them.