An Early Morning Stroll

I went to dinner at my favorite local spot: the bar inside Ruth’s Chris Del Mar. I was lucky enough to enjoy the company of a friend whom I’ve known for some years. Okay a few decades. Her current boyfriend was three years old when she and I first met. I enjoy teasing her about this. But I digress.

After lots of talking about relationships, old times, jobs, routinely breaking into the house of a friend and consuming food from his fridge in the wee hours of the morning (no, that was NOT my story–she’s quite the adventurer), and various and sundry other subjects, I found myself on the way home far earlier than I’d expected. Hell, it wasn’t eight o’clock yet! I could hear the call of Small Bar.

Far be it from me to resist such an invite. I got there around 9.

Chatted with several of my old customers. Well, since I no longer work there and therefore they’re no longer my customers, I guess it’s better to call them friends as that’s what they are. I left a little bit after 11pm, much more in line with my expectations than the 8pm departure from Ruth’s Chris. On the way back to my car, someone called out my name. At first I thought she was an old customer, but then she mentioned a party in Las Vegas. Um, not terribly helpful. That we had both worked. Ah! She volunteers for the same charity I do. Let’s call her C, for the sake of simplicity. C was with her girlfriend, A. I’d met A before, briefly, during another sojourn in my old work neighborhood. They wanted to go . . . somewhere, anywhere. And, gosh I don’t know how they managed to twist my arm, but I ended up with them. Lei Lounge was closing so we headed next door to Bourbon Street. We spent, oh, about twenty or thirty minutes there. They ended up taking me–

–back to their place. They have two medium/large dogs and a cat. All super friendly. We watched a movie on HBO. I sat on one couch with C, rubbing her shoulders and drinking wine, while A dozed off across from us.

Eventually, well, what can I say? It went like this:

C got up, woke A up, they each hugged me, headed for the bedroom, and invited me to spend the night. On the couch. C’mon, what were you thinking? Really? They’re a lesbian couple! I don’t have the right bits. Ain’t nothin’ was gonna happen. I tried to get a bit of shuteye but their pets had other ideas. The cat jumped up on me. Not a bad thing as I often sleep with a cat or two on top of me, but it was really only a secondary annoyance. One of the dogs decided it was time to play. With me. I felt a wet nose against my arm and a moment later, something rolled against my side. A slobbery ball. I put it gently on the floor. A few seconds later, there it was again. I again put the ball on the floor. This time it seemed to work . . . for about a minute. Plop. Slobbery ball. After the fourth or fifth time, cat still atop me, I gave up on the concept of sleep. So, sometime around 2:20 in the morning, I walked back to my car. Oh, wait. It was, ah, two miles away at that point.

Leaving their house, heading south toward Adams Avenue, I was struck by how bright it was outside. The sidewalk was lit as though a full moon was at its zenith on a clear night. Yet there was no moon up–I’d seen its crescent low in the western sky far earlier in the evening and knew it had long since set. Nor would I have been able to see it had it been up and gibbous–a uniform, featureless cloud cover blanketed the city, hiding the stars and planets. Ah, but city lights brightened the clouds from below and that reflected light was, in turn, illuminating my walk. My very next strong recollection is that of having to carefully navigate a stretch of shattered pavement perhaps a block from their house. It looked as though it had been smashed up from underneath, rather than blows from above. It was in such a straight line, right down the center of the sidewalk, that it couldn’t have been a tree root.

There were more people out and about than I expected at such an hour. Once I got to Adams (a right turn to the west), I found myself walking behind a couple of guys who had exited a busy taco shop, but I slowed to let them get a nice long lead. Other sources of human noise were a 7-11, a coffee house, another 7-11, and the stragglers from a nightclub–all in the first half mile or so. But the walk down Adams grew more quiet as I went on, though the city noise never fully disappeared. Far off traffic (especially when I crossed the 405 and later Texas Street) was the main culprit, joined by crickets and some distant frogs on this warm summer night. Yeah, it was closing in on 3am and the temperature was either in the high 60’s or the low 70s.

Approaching Old Trolley Barn Park I could hear water. The sprinklers were on, but that wasn’t the noise that caught my attention–one of the heads near the curb was broken and water was gurgling up from the ground. It flowed freely over the concrete to stream down the gutter and pour noisily into a storm drain some thirty feet on. My car was still another three blocks away, past Park Boulevard, but as it was on the south side of the street I decided to cross right there rather than try to negotiate a dry path through the sprinklers.  For some reason (lability? affectation? Ten points to anyone but Chip who knows which book I’m re-reading right now based on this sentence) I walked down the middle of Adams Avenue for at least a block, passing the power substation. By the time I’d reached Cheers, though, I was on the sidewalk again.

I got in my car perhaps two minutes before 3am to head home. And now here I am blogging about my little journey. At least I don’t have to get up early to hit the gym: a) I’m already up, and b) I already got in over half an hour of cardio!

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