Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On a Tuesday afternoon in Beverly Hills,



 Henry couldn't feel his mouth because he'd just been to the dentist, so I promised him some ice-cream next to the cupcake store, and we walked through a gauntlet of paparazzi with their big cameras, slouched on parking meters and sprawled on benches, their laptops open and talk of Beeeeeeely Bob Thornton being in the building across the street, and the sky was blue and I pushed Sophie in her wheelchair and I felt contempt for the paparazzi and felt bad about that, my mood, my mood. But we walked and then Henry waited on line at the Sprinkles ATM where cupcakes come out in a box, a brown little box with a sticker on top. Henry waited behind two girls that looked as if they might be bringing cupcakes back to Hugh Hefner in his Holmby Hills mansion just up the road. A large man with shorts and shoes wrapped in masking tape stood with his sign, asking for food.  A large group of fully veiled Muslim women had moved from the cupcake machine to the ice-cream store and were wrangling their sons, and the dapper man sitting at the table next to me and Sophie spoke in quick Hebrew to his own children grabbing at his pockets for money. My mind wandered toward the Middle East, the Gaza Strip, a wandering I hadn't had in a while, and I imagined my eyebrows raised and I imagined a bomb going off  but things don't happen like that in Beverly Hills. A little girl with a pale drawn face walked by Sophie and stared so completely that her head nearly turned round backwards, and when it almost did, I glared at her and thought ugly thoughts and then wondered why I couldn't be the sort of person whose mind didn't travel toward contempt of a a Beeeeeeely Bob Thornton shot, toward bits of people who hate one another flying around a cupcake store, toward hatred of a tiny child staring at my daughter as if she were a strange and exotic animal in a zoo.



I did notice the sun glinting off the palm tree in the blue sky in the shiny brown of my table-top, when I ducked my head.


13 comments:

  1. When I visited LA once, I kept thinking, everywhere I went, how familiar it all looked and of course, it was. All those movies. And everyone I spoke to- had I seen them in a movie before? Some maybe.
    You live in a different world, Elizabeth. A world made shiny with lights because it was already shiny with sun glinting off of palm trees.
    This picture you wrote knocks me off my feet. It is cinematic. Beautiful but with that undercurrent of something not beautiful at all.

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  2. wonderful writing on this post, elizabeth--and the photo IS terrific.

    thought of you yesterday; i packaged up and mailed a hawaiian shirt i sold on etsy to a guy who lives on Arthur Avenue, in da bronx. i love imagining that hawaiian shirt on a guy with a cannoli in one hand, fondling tomatoes on the produce pile with the other.
    yeah...

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  3. You are human my friend. And I love you.

    I have been to that exact place, Sprinkles . My experience in Beverly Hills: In a way it is a charicature of itself. Does that make sense?

    But one of the parks there was really nice. And the people we met were lovely there.

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  4. I love the way you write. I love it so much I typed a curse word first, but deleted it on second thought.

    I think there's something in the earth there, or the air. A frequency, a vibration. Something that draws all you magic makers. Give L.A. my love.

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  5. L.A. is a unique place, indeed. The world in microcosm.

    I completely understand your feelings about that little girl...you are a mama lion protecting her baby.

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  6. Great slice of life here, Elizabeth, in pictures and words.
    Sending love to you and yours. x0 N2

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  7. You're such a damned good writer, woman. Our city is truly surreal, isn't it. The extraordinary becomes the mundane.

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  8. In this new world I've joined, I would have ideally soaked in all the compassion and understanding and blah-blah-blah but, while I might have, a little, I have also managed to develop an intense distrust & dislike of hard-eyed pre-teen girls. Boys look, might look twice, and then run off to continue their adventures. The girls always look like they're eyeing prey.

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  9. this is so honest and real, it is like being in your skin. not many writers have that magic, that ability to really truly share what it feels like to inhabit a particular moment in time and space, standing where you are. maybe the little girl was struck by sophie's beauty. i always am. i love how you protect your babies. so awesomely fierce. that's how i felt reading this, as if you were a soldier for love, your eyes scanning, surveying, taking in everything at once, hyper alert and ready to defend. love.

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  10. I have only been to L.A. once and I swear, even the pavement breathed.

    Amazing writing. Wow.

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  11. I understand -- I often feel hypercritical in the same sort of way, seeing everything with a cynical eye. But then you balanced it out with that interesting moment of beautiful scenery in the tabletop. So, you know, balance...right?!

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