Kar Kulture

Every morning I pass Jay Leno, going opposite directions each on our respective ways to work—he in a different car every day, me in the same car every day.

LA is a car town.  But I’m not a car guy.  I stopped dreaming of getting a sports car when my best friend died just as I turned fourteen, although it wasn’t in a sports car, it was on a bike.  Still, my Porsche Turbo Carrera fantasy was alive and well when I was eleven and twelve, and it included this Chicago boy driving up the California coast with the rear vent thing coolly hovering up because you’re going so fast—of course my best friend had one just like it, and that was part of what made it fun, at least in my fantasy.

Sometimes in LA I wonder, when I’m on a five or six lane freeway and traffic is moving well in both directions, “Where are all of us going?”  And if there are an equal number of people going each way, couldn’t we somehow all stay where we were and be just as happy?  When it’s twelve lanes at a standstill in both directions the question seems even more relevant.

I love where I live, but most rich people in LA do not want to live there.  It’s called “the valley,” and I didn’t want to live there either, until the reality of what I could afford taught me pragmatism.  Yet, you get what you get and you don’t get upset, and I’ve come to attach to my hood.  I work in Beverly Hills which also was never where I pictured myself having a practice; but despite my searches for groovy artist loft sorts of places, the cheapest option I ended up finding when I was starting out was to sublet in Beverly Hills.  Being a creature of habit I stayed in my building for a decade and a half now, but I’m the sort who pictured himself old and riding the elevator down on my last day of work with my last box of books, on the day I arrived with my first box of stuff.

My path to work winds from the valley to Beverly Hills over a two-lane canyon road where on some mornings the mist hangs magical and wildflowers grow in the spring, covering the hillsides in yellow these days.

I’m not much one to notice celebrities, but it’s hard to miss a nineteen-twenties convertible roadster whizzing by you on a two-lane road… especially circa 2010.  Oh, there’s Jay Leno again I think and smile to myself, even if he’s going to the studios out in the valley to make TV, and not to West Egg which is where he looks like he’s heading, out to pick up Nick, Daisy and well… that other Jay—Jay Gatsby.

The next day it’s a who-knows-what?  A Buggatti?  A Deusenberg?  A Hossenfeffer?  It starts to remind me more and more of a Seuss cartoon than anything else, and I start to love it all the more, wondering what nutty contraption old Jay will be racing along in this morning.

In the end I realize that Jay has arrived at child-mind.  He’s a big kid and he drives with a big smile.  He’s worked hard and if this is what excites him, why shouldn’t he enjoy it?  And in this world of branding and profiles not in courage but in being noticed, he challenges me to think, “Is he my road not taken?  The guy whose friend wasn’t killed and who just kept loving cars?”  I might not have been able to afford those whacky cars, but I might have still cared about them.  Instead, I can care about Jay Leno as one of our collective children, seeing the whimsy in the cars he wears like so many metal suits.

So, let’s dedicate today to appreciating each other’s passions, instead of judging them—in the service of all our collective children, and all their collective collections, treasures, wish-lists and the myriad luminescent objects onto which they project their spirits, their true treasures.

Namaste, Bruce

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4 Responses to “Kar Kulture”

  1. Beth K Says:

    Bruce,
    I think your route to work is the same route I took in the late ’80’s when Paul and I lived in Studio City and I worked in Century City. If I remember correctly, the road was called Coldwater Canyon? What a coincidence.
    I love reading your blog.
    Beth

  2. privilegeofparenting Says:

    Quite right, Coldwater it is. It seems that our world is a web of synchronicities and part of our journey is in becoming more aware of how exactly we all, in aggregate, are going in all directions at once—and in a way are right where we’re supposed to be, but challenged to ponder HOW exactly this is true for ourselves. Or maybe not? Either way, thanks for the Coldwater connection, I hope the roads you travel now are gratifying, or at least interesting.

  3. conniedelavergne Says:

    I liked this post too. That’s two for two in one day! But wait . . . I judge. Or am I just appreciating? (Does judging count when it’s a positive review?) I don’t know, but I am relating. Oh, yeah . . . thank you for sharing.
    ~Connie

  4. privilegeofparenting Says:

    I like the way you think, it’s sort of the way that I relate 🙂

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