(2010, I think.)
So when I got to the polling station here in L.A. yesterday to vote on the three marijuana initiatives I was so stoned I couldn’t remember which one I was supposed to vote for and which two against. All those long words, man, and that crazy legal lingo. I just stared at them for a long time. Like a real long time. I heard someone cough and turned round and there was like a line of people staring at me, wondering why I was taking so long. I kinda freaked out and just voted all three yes. Righteous. Voting for weed three times. Jah Rastafari. But as I left the booth every one was looking at me. I gave the ballot to the dude who gave me a flag sticker which I accidentally stuck on upside down. Detov I. Everyone was still looking at me weird. Well, not everyone, but the dude with the flag stickers, and the old ladies, the guys in line, and the pretty chick with the big, the one who told me I signed on the wrong line. They were all looking at me. They could all tell I voted yes for all three weed initiatives. Which ones were cops? Which ones were narcs? Which ones were gonna tell my prospective employers? I started shaking and asked for my ballot back. I wanted to change my vote to no on all three. The guy said I couldn’t. I got upset and said why not? It’s too late, he said. I started freaking out. You mean they know I voted for all three pot initiatives? Now everybody in the place were all looking at me, everyone, even the incredibly old people who could barely do anything. I couldn’t believe I said that out loud. I might as well have screamed look at me, I am so high!!!! And I was. I mean righteously high. Totally Bob Marley. Insane in the membrane. I split so fast, nearly ran out of there, cut across the lawn and walked home. Thank god I had a bowl full on me. I ducked behind a tree and fired up a good one, keeping an eye out for cops and old people. I exhaled slowly. It felt good. I waited till it grew dark and walked the several blocks back to my pad. Walking felt good. Felt natural. I felt one with the birds singing and the stars blinking and the car alarms. Jah Rastafari. Too bad I’d driven to the polling station.
It was a lot easier when pot was illegal.
(written before some election or another)
Only in L.A. do porn stars leave messages on your phone. It was a dude porn star, so points off there, and he said he’s HIV positive, which kind of takes some of the romance out of pornography. Plus he was leaving the same phone message to zillions of other bewildered people at the same time. But still, only in L.A. do porn stars leave messages on your phone.
I’ve gotten a couple of these broadcasted phone messages lately, though not all from porn stars. One was from the governor. Another from Robert Redford. Another from some feminist that made me feel insecure. I can’t remember what she called about, but it was for my wife. I don’t think she listened though. Come election time we get calls from all kinds of celebrities. We live in Silver Lake and not only do celebrities live here and dine here and party here but they call everybody here and tell us excitedly about obscure bond issues that we don’t care about. I know we should, but I am being honest. I don’t always care about obscure bond issues.
I can’t understand what this porn star is saying. He’s talking too fast and the message is garbled. It sounds like he has marbles in his mouth. Or something in his mouth. Don’t they teach enunciation at the Porn Academy?
[From 2015. We got about a hundred times more calls in the city council and especially that school board primary in 2015 than in the presidential primary in 2016. Makes you wonder just how much power the school board has. Perhaps it is limitless and invisible, like that of Robert Moses when he ruled the world, or New York City anyway, leveling whole neighborhoods in a way only Curtis LeMay has ever dreamed of. Urban developing them back to the stone age. But I digress. Besides, only our neighborhood councils have that power.]
After quite literally hundreds of phone calls, a tree’s worth of political mailings and a dozen people knocking at our door to remind me, I forgot to vote. I actually meant to vote. I told all those people at the door I would vote. In fact, I told them I’d vote for whoever it was they were knocking on my door for. They leave faster that way, with no messy arguing or hurt feelings. I even gave some of the thirstier among them bottles of water. I’m a civic minded kind of guy as far as hydration goes. I couldn’t tell you who they were canvassing for though. I probably put their brochures right into the recycle bin. Indeed, I can only name one candidate and that’s only because his name is on a sign the landlady stuck in the lawn. O’Grady or O’Brady. Something Irish. I always vote Irish, as long as they’re Democrat. My grandfather Nelligan taught me that. Other than that I had no idea who I was going to vote for. All the candidates began to look alike in the mailings, earnest and respectable and community minded. Half of them seemed to have taught my children history and civics, not that I had any children, and all of them wanted to be my friend. The phone calls didn’t help any, either, all these robot calls from celebrities I have never heard of. It’s more effective if I know who they are. Wayne Gretzky I wouldn’t have deleted. Or Betty White. Or Tom La Bonge himself, who I’ve been voting for forever. People I’d pay attention to in real life. Otherwise I don’t even bother to listen. Maybe the first fifty or so robot calls I did, thought I began to get irritated. But when I found myself talking back to a state senator I’d never heard of I figured it was time to remove myself from that part of the political debate. Alas, in my haste I was also hanging up on real people. One guy must have called us half a dozen times. I never did pick up. I began to feel sorry for him. Imagine what that does to one’s sense of self-worth. Throwing your heart and soul into somebody else being elected to the school board. That’s how life is for some people. Looking for celebrity in all the wrong places. Meaning like shadows on a wall. Your existence reduced to a voice the rest of us won’t listen to. Weird and existential and disturbing, though perhaps only in Silver Lake. And there’s still a half dozen messages blinking at me now, they must have come in early last night. Of course, at the time I was fixing the washing machine. I don’t know if you’ve ever fixed a washing machine, but the frames are huge and cumbersome and have to be moved around and struggled with, and they make these really cool metallic booming tympani noises every time you move them. The whole neighborhood knows you are fixing a washing machine. (Dryers are a much quieter repair. I just fixed ours a week ago in eerie silence.) Anyway, for a couple hours there I had a beautiful cacophony of metallic washing machine booms going on (you’re scaring the birds, my wife said), and then there was the test washing and the adjustments and the clean up and the ice cold beer and the Kings were winning and I managed to get lost around the end of the fifth century in a vast history of the middle ages and by the time I came out again it was well past eight o’clock and the polls were closed. Oh well. Now when they road diet my driveway, I will have no one to blame but myself.