Sand, Mountains and Kale

sand-mountains-and-kale

 

We rolled 30 deep, the head bouncers, enormous guys with forearms as thick as my quadriceps, at the front of our entourage, flanking the diminutive general manager and several of the partners, and a herd of cocktail waitresses and bartenders and bar-backs…early afternoon dissolves into late afternoon, long shadows, suffocating heat and the low sun as though I’m re-living those days but in a different twilight zone…avocado mania that makes the crop hugely lucrative for producers in Michoacán and in California, but there is a dark side, too, from the negative impact producing the fruit has on the environment and the avocado-drug cartel connection…light and dark side, the nighttime/daytime duality, the dichotomy and contradiction inherent in this fruit and in bartending and night life…the shades are drawn to seal out heat on a sweltering day and it feels eerily similar to LA…redline to 1:50 a.m. and keep pouring until the risk is too great…redemption is no longer the frame – now, breaking up…I wanted to fall. I wanted it to end…dormant so long as I keep the notebooks tightly closed…I saw days pass, nights pass, a whole summer pass, vanish, vanquished, controlled by it, no longer in control…Night life mysteries revealed through daytime events and rituals…an interplay of landscape, profession, events, time…lips that taste like cigarettes and coconut-flavored vodka…ran out of glassware – ran out of ice – no cranberry from the gun because the machine broke –  afterwards, driving home, listening to the Velvet Underground, Early dawning, Sunday morninglike a plow, it cut into me…the dark side of avocados…rotted flesh…voraciously thirsty…wish I’d make up my mind and get out but couldn’t break it off – road to perdition…as though getting sucked into a black hole of endless, bottomless demand that I tried to satisfy and inevitably failed because it is impossible to make that many drinks for that many people all at once…fail and fail again, quench thirst, no matter how much I sold it was never enough, and I’d die trying to satisfy the demand that had no end, which for a short while was enough to make the work seem “worth it,” a temporary get-by…cheap, chemical-laced corporate empire alcohol, hunk of lime adds organic acid, but the chemical taste lingers, like mass-produced tequila, amplified by synthetic, tripped-out beats, summer-winter contradictions, meditation, LA day/light-underground…I felt I was drowning, felt less like Lebron effortlessly dominating his opponent and more like Allen Iverson getting squashed on the way to the rim by defenders a foot taller and 70 pounds heavier…Bananas have a slight edge on the avocado for convenience because they require no utensils to eat. One could eat an avocado without a fork, knife or spoon, but it’d be messy, half-way to guacamole all over one’s hands and face. Bananas, I could eat on the go, in my car as I drove. Avocados can be packed, but, still, ideally, require a surface to rest them on, a knife at the very least and a fork or spoon, space to cut, peel, discard the pit, plus salt, and lemon or lime are not essential but the acid enhances and cuts the flavor of the rich buttery flesh. Avocados, then, are less easy to eat, more of an ordeal, require more steps, but they forced me to sit down, savor the moment, the ritual, the cutting, peeling, slicing, squeezing the citrus wedge, sprinkling salt, and although I sought to minimize time in the kitchen, this routine, once a day, calmed me – white round table, clock on the wall that long ago stopped ticking, bizarre paintings of anthropomorphic animals and blurry figures resembling some kind of otherworldly chain gang marching in a circle…young, forever, on a Thursday night drive to Santa Monica, and not in good way…misgiving – time behind the rail…What does it all mean? Looking through palm leaves at dawn to the west…vortex of self-destructiveness and hedonism and plunging into avocado territory to find clarity. Walking west I say to myself over and over, “Avocados, LA, night life”…wall in shadow, light enters from left window, facing east toward sunrise…all actions, every routine, every part of the ritual, leads to and prepares you for the night…a career that will destroy you, despite your treading during the day on sunlit dirt paths to coconut water in this land of sand, mountains and kale.