Mt. Washington

One thing I have learned living in LA, everyone says, Yes, to everything. I asked my friend about this and he said, “Yes, means, I am interested but signing a contract is the real, Yes.” Nonetheless, it is nice when people are interested. When you are new to an area, any invitation is welcomed. For example, look at Tabby, a man in his sixties who I met at an outdoor Jewish Deli in downtown LA, which is only a few stops away on the train that runs at the foot of Mt. Washington where I live. My routine is to study Torah, pray, then write until noon when I eat. The afternoons I like to go out and explore.

For years I was a vegetarian, not because I did not believe in eating animals but because I abhorred cooking meat or having it in my house. Being able to take a short trip downtown and have chicken for lunch is a treat. During one of my outings, I met Tabby, who commented on my outrageous look, saying he liked my style and then invited me to come see him and gave me his card. The woman he was with introduced herself as coming from Alaska. That was interesting to me since I was working on this script whose story takes place in Alaska. I asked her to tell me something about polar bears.

She said, “All you see of the polar bear is the black of his nose.” This was a great piece of information that became seminal in my story. So I took it upon myself to go visit the man who had given me the card, giving me something to do, more than eating. In order to get to this address I first had to walk through the flower district and then through the garment district until finally I came to his little shop. He had just come from a funeral. I wished him condolences and tried to say the phrase repeated at these times but he stopped saying, “Don’t bother, she’s not Jewish.”

Then he told me, he had to go to work but I should come to Shul on Saturday. This is why I had to come down here, I thought, to be told to go to Shul. I told him I did not like religion and I was particularly upset with the Rabbis. He did not seem to mind, and perhaps he felt the same way, but he a better reason, “The Chult is good.” Meaning the hot food you eat afterwards is worth it all. “And besides, you’ll be able to meet people.” So there you have it, not all leads, lead somewhere. I prefer meeting people is a more organic fashion and I have found LA to be very welcoming,

Lastly, I was born in LA, in City Heights, just a few miles from here, and left when I was three years old to be raised in and around SF. Now, I have returned at the age of 73, and find myself living not far from where I was born, seventy years later. Pretty cool.

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