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Walking Down Rodeo
May 1st, 2017

I walk to my favourite coffee place. It's in Beverly Hills. I park the car at the top of Rodeo Drive, right off Sunset. Gene Kelly's house, or what was his house - he's been gone for twenty years now - is just down the block. Rodeo between Sunset Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. is quiet, residential, with big, old beautiful trees lining either side. It's the prettiest street in that part of Beverly Hills, in my estimation, although I'm no expert. Only been back in L.A. for a year and a half. When I was living here in my early 20s my world revolved around my 'hood, Echo Parque, as we called it, Silverlake where my best friend and my favourite ska club was, and Glendale where my parents lived. I'm sure there was more to my travels than that, but in my memory that's about it.

So I walk from the car to my coffee joint - 1.2 miles each way. A beautiful walk down the lane under a canopy of gorgeous old, big rooted and beefy-branched trees, across the divide - Santa Monica Blvd. - to what I call, The Village. It’s where all the foofy shops are: Chanel, Panerai, Yves St. Laurent, Dior, et al. And carry on past the photo gallery where there is currently a huge photo of my beloved Audrey Hepburn in the white Givenchy helmet hat from How To Steal A Million. I stood outside on the sidewalk and studied her face. She was 36 playing 26 and pulled it off. Up close I can see the foundation, black eyeliner all around the eyes, dark shadow on the lid, the pale lips. The effect was that she looked quite natural, like the most gorgeous creature in the world without much makeup on.

I bought a picture frame the other day at the Goodwill for my Louis Armstrong print but when I got it home I saw that there was a matted photo of Audrey in the frame - young, in profile, beautiful and unsmiling. A rarity. I love it and have kept it as it is.

On to the cafe where the nice staff knows my boring order: coffee with milk. They have dozens and dozens of different types of coffees but I always get the same thing. It's the company that counts. In this instance, that's me.

One of the staff brings the dark, dark coffee and a little creamer of hot milk. I pour the hot milk in myself and you know how those espresso jockeys create a beautiful leaf or the Mona Lisa on your coffee with the steamed milk? I poured my milk in and made what were definitely Mickey Mouse ears. Absolutely. I'm not in Hollywood for nothing with a grandfather who worked not just for Disney, and helped Disneyland come in to being, but worked for Walt himself. He was his accountant and tax man extraordinaire.

Back to the coffee. I come here to get a walk in and drink coffee and get the fruit plate when I'm really hungry and read and enjoy. I worked for some lefty lawyers back in Oakland a bunch of years ago. Sarah was from east Africa somewhere but educated in the States. They were rich back home but now here and she and her brother would, when they got a bit ahead, or got their allowance or whatever, buy caviar and champagne. That was their good time and this is mine.

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