I find myself racing towards another birthday and another tick off the clock. I don’t claim to be feeling any sort of quarterlife crisis. Somehow I think I was dealing with that when I was 16. From my current vantage point it’s enough just to find a few airy tracks to play on my car stereo and to drive around late enough that Los Angeles opens up her capillaries to swim around freely through.
I keep getting lost in the rhythm of streetlights and drum and bass. I’m content in letting the music be my soundtrack and forgiving myself for feeling important for three minutes at a time. I’m looking at people outside crammed onto the smoker’s patios shuffling around as they play musical lovers. I’m not jealous at all of the situation, but I love the energy. I love that flux. I remember feeding off of it. It could last from Friday to Sunday night’s cliff as you watched your fingernails scratch canyons clawing towards the week start. Oh, and the Monday morning suck. All week just dangling your line in the river hoping to catch the momentum fish. The intoxication of having a plan.
Look around a little more at night as we start in to autumn. You will have to look closely. This city hides its autumn until it’s technically winter. Jump the season a bit. When you drive at night, wear your scarf and beanie and drive fast with the windows down to simulate the whip of winter wind. Stare at the strange accomplices that join you on your late night drives. The creeps that haunt street corners watching people stumble out of bars. The people on first dates under the heat lamps next to the sommeliers and the poor bastard with the bread basket. Not you. You have a stereo for a gun and an iPod full of bullets. You are just passing through like the tumbleweeds.
Hating only a few things about the impending birthday. I hate that Empire Records is an old movie now. I hate that Kirk Gibson is a coach now. I hate little things like that. But there’s a lot to love. Going forward, I’m committed to making these next 3 years count. I don’t want to be that asshole talking about how great his twenties were. I don’t want to be Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite. I plan to be awesome in my thirties. I’m going to age better than scotch.
Doesn’t change the fact that for now, I have a few more years to spin my gears. I just feel some responsibility every year to gloss over what this new number will bring. What’s it going to mean? I know there are a few things to be excited about. The odds of getting carded decrease again. Only moderately though as when I shave my beard I look like a kid again. I’ll keep the beard. After all, if it was gone, what could I use to strike matches against?
Tell you what. Let’s reverse the tradition. This year, I’m giving you all a present for my birthday. Turn off your cell phone and get a full tank of gas. Then take to the streets late at night. Traffic cannot be a part of the equation. Neither can all the smog. Take a drive downtown and make sure to find all the tunnels. Drive through them with your best music blasting. Take Sunset back to Hollywood through Echo Park and Silverlake and make time to check out the hipsters smoking in front of the bars as they close down, only this time don’t allow them to make you feel self-conscious about what you are listening to. Just like bears in the forest, they are just as scared of you as you are scared of them. Cruise through West Hollywood and enjoy the lights before making your way through the triangle in Beverly Hills. Marvel at how depressing and mundane luxury stores look when there’s no one inside buying or selling. Wilshire your way all the way to the California Incline and find yourself of the PCH. Take it from Ferris Wheel to Kanan-Dume. Take that foggy canyon road into the Conejo Valley and pay homage to where I grew up after you exit the Santa Monica Mountains.
Really it doesn’t matter so much where you go. I could think of a million places to go driving in this city late at night when it is small enough to make sense. These certain moods and missions call for certain kinds of music. Music you might not listen to otherwise while preoccupied with the form and function of a normal business day. This is get lost music. So, my gift to you is some airy and repetitive music to make it all feel like a video game. It’s my mixtape to you, Get Lost Angeles. I’m even providing you the the cover art so you can print it out and make it tangible.
in no particular order and by all means add your own…
say hi to your mom “blah blah blah”
lykke li “little bit”
santigold “lights out”
jesus and mary chain “just like honey”
bloc party “so here we are”
little comets “friday don’t need it”
outkast “elevators (me & you)”
deltron 3030 “madness”
gorillaz “slow country”