As I stared into what might be my future there, on the edges of the beach, I could only see that it would be pretty much the same. Endless rows of soundless bongo drums lining the beach. With a policeman for every drum, kicking the drum over. I couldn't see that by staying there anything would be appreciably better for me in any way.
Like Lawrence in the Razor's Edge, I left Venice and Los Angeles far behind and went to live in a cabin in the mountains. Venice was gone for me. The whole surrounding area, the geography, the people, the cars, the buses became an environment I didn't want to be.
Before I left to live in the mountains, I was having a hard time finding a job. I got a small job as a paid picketer for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The strike went on so long the artists had to take on other small jobs in restaurants to feed themselves and they couldn't afford to take time off from work too often to picket themselves. I was walking back and forth with a sign in front of a gas station (part of the secondary boycott of advertisers that the opposing lawyers would complain about and file lawsuits over) when a guy tried to run me over. And I was depleting my savings by paying a relatively high rent for a place that had two burners on an electric cooktop and you had to wash your dishes in the bathtub.
My supposed friends in the music industry preferred performing at "better attended benefits" in support of the strike because everyone important would be there and they would be seen and recognized as being supporters of the strike and people would recognize how wonderful they were to be on stage supporting the strike. And they were snotty about it, because they were becoming important entertainers.
And other friends lived so very far away I could never see them. One time I tried hitch hiking to visit one, and a Mexican guy picked me up and because he didn't speak English, he completely misunderstood the name of the town I was trying to get to. I even had a map and said "hey! here, turn here" and waved it at him, but he drove miles too far before he swung left. He drove me all the way to Simi Valley. He went far out of his way to try to get me to a place he thought I was going. And then he drove me all the way back near to where he had picked me up. He gave me a slightly confused glance as I got out of the car, but I knew he was thinking "Dumb gringa" as he drove off. By then it was nightfall, and I must have taken a bus ride home in the dark or I wouldn't be here now typing this up.
The Hell with this place. I couldn't get to where I wanted to go even if people were willing to help and go far out of their way to get me there, you see. But that was the whole place.
The landscape was full of pervs, creeps, leatherboys, dope dealers, crazy men and just generally not my kind of guy. If you didn't like pervs, creeps, leatherboys, dope dealers, treacherous people, thieves, selfish people, or crazy men and that's all there were, then it's time to move, too. Or at least those types seemed to greatly outnumber every one else. Nazis! There were those Nazi-types, there, too.
After the Venice West, the other places farther away seemed phony baloney to me, though real enough to the people just beginning their experiences. I tried, Lord knows. I went to the "Fifth Estate" coffeehouse which was painted a stark white and which down a flight of stairs and in the backroom held another more political newspaper office, which was the fourth estate, really, but they called it "Fifth Estate" after the coffeehouse. I just smelled mildew and must like the place was an old bookstore with third hand publications nobody wanted. It was just ROT! I went to the LA Free Press office, which was in the same floorspace a few desks over, and that was slightly better, but then later Mother Neptune's as a coffee house sucked. And Cantor's was overrun by music industry types and who'd want to go there.
The neon sign for the "Goody Goody" drive-in that would sometimes sputter out to spell out "G-o-o-y G-o-d" just wasn't funny any more.
Those were just some of the reasons I left. My writing back then was so much more colorful. I wove in poetry, and music, and the dialects of the current day, but nobody too much read it except me.
He hesitated behind the wheel as he stopped at the driveway into the gas station and I saw him and could even catch a glance from his eye through the windshield. I misread his intent and began walking again with my picket sign, then he stepped on the gas and VROOMED through with tires squealing and I swear I even smelled burning rubber. I had to jump backwards and then looked down at the little black marks his tires had left behind on the pavement.
All you fuckers, all you ingrate fuckers, all you selfish phony used to be friends, you're the biggest fuckers. Goodbye, fuckers!