I’ve gotten into a strange habit of running up Doheny to Sunset Blvd. on my nightly runs. It’s a fairly steep incline and it relentlessly stretches from the Troubadour all the way to the Key Club. You get the extreme voyeuristic pleasure of looking into many different houses and a harrowing burning in your thighs.
It is the time of year that even in the L.A. Basin, steam will rise off your head to signal you are working hard. This relentless pursuit of mileage is austere. My feet constantly hurt, be it from terrible blisters or just the normal pounding that 48,000 steps a week will produce. Your shins begin to feel like they are splitting down the middle like a bamboo pole sliced deftly by a samurai’s blade. You cannot stop your nose from running no matter how hard you try and your mouth consistency brews a strange syrup that is one part saliva and one part ocean water. Extremities frequently go numb and you are left alone with your thoughts or your iPod, whichever you prefer.
There will be no prize at the end of this race. There will be no victory parade. Just a shower and a night of wondering if you are being productive enough.
What is the goal of this kind of nocturnal running? I have often thought about it. There is a point where you find yourself eight miles into a run and wondering what the difference is. Why push it out to nine? Why did you even push it as far as you did? Why are you running down the Sunset Strip?
I am gawked at. It’s a queue of kids waiting to see the All American Rejects at the Roxy. They stare at me from an age before metabolism where you are free to eat junk food, smoke cigarettes and listen to terrible music without getting fat, getting winded and getting scoffed at by the Pitchfork culture of the East Side. These kids can afford to let a bad band take a dump in their ears. They are young, dumb and intrepid.
I run by the Hustler Store and it is depressing. A bright, shiny homage to sex in a bad economy. It’s mostly empty. The clientele wanders around casually not unlike the shoppers perusing produce in the supermarket. A nation of dulled senses, we are.
There’s an empty sushi restaurant. There’s a rock show no one seems interested in. It’s Monday night and for some reason the Sunset Strip is the most depressing place in the world. I give Book Soup a high five and take Holloway up on her offer to guide me away, down into the infinite boy parade on Weho.
A nice second wind kicks in for me. Suddenly, I feel like Michael Douglas. I feel like Michael Douglas in 1992 buying art in an overpriced boutique on Melrose. I am going to buy some trunk that has the British Flag painted on it and then just burn it in my backyard for shits because I am Michael Douglas right now. I am going to ask Annette Benning on a date and shoot pool with Martin Sheen. That’s how Michael Douglas I am feeling.
Palihouse is relatively dead. I still feel like Michael Douglas, though. I see some very, very rich kids filing out of a Land Rover and the sudden urge to launch myself into them teases me. What would they do if a sweaty kid just bum-rushed them out of nowhere? This is the kind of thing I think about on long runs.
More Starbucks screenwriters. Jesus.
The Christmas tree lot is mostly empty. Well, not empty of trees. Just customers. Times may be tough, but I assume everyone still gets a tree. You’d think so, right?
I am coming up on the end of the first year of this blog. Those of you who may be joining it recently haven’t missed much in terms of time. A feeling that we’re all just getting started. There’s a feeling that somewhere there are people reading this that might change my life. They might just take a chance on me. Then there are people out there that are here because they want their lives changed. I used to think no one listened. If nothing else, I know that isn’t true. I know I am out there and so are you. We’re dealing with it all in tiny doses with quick half page bursts of words.
I’ll wrap the year up on here soon. I promise to sum things up before I close down the blog for the holidays. My last post of 2009 will be December 27th.