A Composite Day, 01/2006

Obviously, I’ve been too quiet for too long. A dear friend called recently to check that I was ok. It seems I’ve been falling behind in my correspondence of late. I’m shamed, and will do what I can to catch you all up with a composite day.

I was awake to see sun rise over Huntington Beach in the east, casting the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose’s former home in a tangerine light. I spent the morning stripping power cables and replacing circuit boards for the LA transit systems new fare collection system. I was at the downtown bus depo unloading a shipping container with a pallet jack when I got a phone call that The Story had broken. We’d been waiting for The Story for two months, and now the scandal was out in the open. Five days later the city councilman at the center of the initial allegations would fly back from Costa Rica to resign, ostensibly with the hope that his chief of staff, the president of the Police Officer’s Association, and other unnamed partners in his real estate investments would be left alone. I knew better. 20/20 and Frontline arrived within the week to start filming something about the Councilman’s investments in Costa Rican gay brothels and the child sex trade. I hung up, wiped the diesel coke off my phone and continued feeding the Hyster forklift RFID-enabled fare boxes.

Before I left work I overheard a co-worker ask? “What’s going on downtown? The traffic’s crazy.” “It’s the Grammy’s.” Didn’t seem to foul up the traffic flow too much along my route: just a few useless traffic cops and irrelevant signs like “Universal Studios Crew, Next Left”. Onto the 110 South creeping out of downtown with the windows down and the radio blasting whatever hip hop rap rock sensation the record companies are pushing today. 85 F (29C) in February and I think this might be why I’m not in Vancouver or London. Then suddenly I’m cooking along at 85mph (134kph) with a few thousand of my closest friends. Somewhere south of the 405 the gantry cranes come into view and I hit a fog bank that casts a magic halo around every light. The cranes make me think of red brontosaurs in a marsh of Maersk and SeaLand and COSCO. I turn east over the bridge to the Port of Los Angeles. I give the truckers their lanes to Pier this and Pier that, cruise thru to the Port of Long Beach and out onto Ocean Boulevard. I smile when I see a film crew trailer: last weekend they turned a street nearby into Miami-Dade for CSI: Miami. I park at the beach (meters run from 8am to 6pm) and walk take the elevator because my feet hurt so good.

I have a glass of wine with my dad and talk over the day. I’ve had the job for a week and the boss of the sub-contractor (to whom I’m contracted) was talking about a promotion from the warehouse to dispatch. A mayoral candidate calls my dad and starts out all defensive because his chief of staff is implicated in the scandal. We let them know The Story was coming long ago so they’re well prepared and squeaky clean. The paperwork just came thru on a local political discussion website I bought out, so we make the call to the local online muckraker to let him know I’m not gunning for top spot. He’s got a family and does a superior job and I won’t be competing for his advertising. I plan to cross-integrate the site with one I launched a couple weeks ago — every candidate in the city knows about that one, because that’s where they get their visitors from. (Who says only the big boys grow by merger and acquisition?)

It’s not Tuesday so I don’t have class. I haven’t learned much from the logistics specialist program at California State University yet, but it’s only the third week. My much-anticipated GIS software came in the mail, I’m running stage lights for a the monthly community art festival this weekend and the “Diva” is on her way downstairs to take me to a Re-Development Agency meeting or something. The councilman was an enemy of hers. When I open the door, she asks “Are we having fun yet?”

Hell yes.