Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Thoughts on a Quarter Century

My favorite place to eat in Los Angeles is this little retro diner about three blocks from my house.  There is weird artwork on the walls, sixties green and orange booths and neo-retro light fixtures hang from the ceiling.  They serve good coffee and good food and they have a big real-wood counter that I usually sit at with my book.  The diner is three blocks away from my house, so I can walk there, but the best part is that they play good music.

On Saturday afternoon, I found myself in Fred 62 (my diner), eating their awesome granola and drinking coffee.  I had just bought Miss Lonelyhearts/The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West and was reading different parts of the book (I have literary ADD and can’t just read a book from the start, but have to skip around and look at the chapters, the introduction, the afterword, etc), in the background, music from my adolscence came through the speakers.  I knew all the words to every song that played as I sat there.

In the afterword of the Nathaniel West novels an old friend of West’s talks about West as a writer, though in his first paragraph he owns up to the fact that he and West had a falling out years before West died, and he brushes off the fickle nature of grudges and percieved betrayal.  As I sat there in the diner, listening to the music of my past and reading of a dissolved friendship a kind of melancholy washed over me.

I’m young, coming up on my 26th birthday, but I’m not that young.  I’m to a point in life where I’ve actually lived a little bit.  This week, I will add, was also the 25th birthday of my best friend, who, I realized, I’ve known for a decade now.

What I realized while sitting in that hipster diner and listening to my past, was that I felt comfortable with having a past.  There was a comfort that came along with knowing someone for a decade, or knowing all the words to The Goo Goo Dolls, Pearl Jam, The Gin Blossoms, etc.  There was a comfort to knowing I didn’t have a grudge against anyone, I hadn’t cut anyone out of my life because of some perceived hurt.

I mean, sure, I miss music videos, and other comforts from my younger life, but there is a kind of calm that happens with the familiarity of sitting at a counter, drinking good coffee and listening to the good old days.  It warms me low in my belly to know that I’ve experienced a chunk of the world.

I guess this all started coming up as the 1989, 20 year anniversary celebrations started.  The 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake (which I certainly remember), the 20th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall, the 20th anniversary of the Exxon spill.  All vivid memories of mine the solidly placed my life in the context of global events.  And I find comfort in that.  I find comfort in comparing myself to the span of history, to my own little experience, cut out of the largess of human experience in general.

Peace, Love, and Comfort,


November 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment