Out of Tokyo and Into LA

Lovely Little Things

We’ve been here about a month.

I got my California driver’s license last week—not that I own a 4,000-pound vehicle to operate. They make you go through hell at the DMV to be allowed to drive a car, but no car is presented to you at the end. The entire process is theoretical.

Yesterday, I exercised for the first time since the end of August, which is a really long time for me, but this move has been brutal. I can’t list all the struggles and setbacks; you wouldn’t have the time to read them, anyway.

That’s not the point, though. The point is: I discovered that my neck and shoulders are so knotted up that I feel like my head is going to pop off.

Last week, I started learning Python, again. I’d started in mid-August, but I had to pause to move. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put Python to use, but I enjoy it.

I was the webmaster for The Japan Writers Conference. Before that, I was the webmaster for The Philadelphia Buddhist Association. Both of these were unpaid volunteer positions and not particularly difficult or special. Well, they weren’t difficult or special to me. To the people who knew absolutely nothing about it, I was a sorceress.

I found a new webmaster in Japan to replace me, so I had a little gap in my life where nothing analytical was going on.

I don’t know if “analytical” is the right word. What are the alternatives? “Right-brained tasks” and “left-brained tasks” are a myth. It’s also wrong to say that one task is more creative than the other. A painter can be uncreative. He might only learn technical skills and never come up with anything new. A programmer can be creative. She might constantly invent new things.

I can’t find the line, but I feel like I need both, so there must be a distinction somewhere.

Anyway, here’s something I posted on a platform that shall not be named:

We went to Studio City. I got a gluten-free vegan pizza, and it was real pizza, not a Japanese-flavored entity masquerading as pizza.

Random man in pizzeria to Adam: “Excuse me, are you an actor?”

Adam: “No.”

RMIP: “Are you sure? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you in a couple of movies.”

Adam takes off his hat and points to his bald head: “Would they put a guy who looks like me on the big screen?”

RMIP laughs politely: “Seriously though, I wrote this really great screenplay–”

Adam kept telling him he wasn’t an actor, until RMIP, who clearly still didn’t believe him, acknowledged that he’d overstayed his welcome in our lives.

Afterward, me to Adam: “You’re probably going to get ‘recognized’ a lot from now on. That’s the price you pay for being devastatingly handsome in LA.”

Adam: “Really? Do you think it’ll lead to free stuff?”

Me: ‘Free stuff?! No.”

Adam: “Oh.”

Five minutes later, we wander into a CBD shop. The salesgirl to Adam: “Would you like a free CBD bath bomb?”

Here’s the pizza – if you want to see it.

For the most part, we’ve been staying in. We order stuff online and only occasionally uber to places, but over the weekend, we ubered to the grocery store and bought a cart full of stuff. I was worried about how the driver might react to the time-consuming loading/unloading process.

Maybe our location tipped them off, but the driver who showed up was the one we needed. She was a soccer mom with big designer glasses and a massive Lexus.

She rolled by and shouted, “Stay there, I’ll turn around!” In two seconds, she whipped her car around, perfectly lined her hatchback with the cart, jumped out, and helped load the groceries. When we got home, she helped us unload them. I think she’d have helped put them away if we’d asked.

I can’t imagine how she’s making money driving with a car like that with the gas prices the way they are (almost all car gig workers out here have hybrids or electrics), but maybe it’s a, “I just need something that’s mine,” type of job that mom’s often have.

I wish I had some good crow stories, but there aren’t nearly as many crows here as there were in Japan. Here’s a video I took of a crow back in the fall of 2019. He was clearly trying to communicate something to me, but what?

I wanted to upload the video directly to Substack, but apparently that’s still in Beta.

Please say hello in the comments.

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