Alive and Well

8 Jun

Older story from a few xmas’s ago…

Alive and Well

There are a lot of really cool things I’ve done in my lifetime. Sometimes things just seem to spring out of nowhere.
After a really tough few weeks I have to say in the last few days I’ve had some of the best days of my life.

I surround myself with some great friends. It makes life a hell of a lot easier when you have people like that in your corner. There are some people who I’d take a bullet for any day of the week. Ya know I always say there’s always two kinds of people you have as friends, those who will come and go in your lifetime, and those who stick with you, the ones that you can’t possibly live without.

Friday I found myself frantically cleaning up my tiny messy house. For a single guy in a tiny 1200 sq foot house you wouldn’t think I’d have so much crap! But anyone who’s been here can vouch that I’m a bachelor. Foosball table in one room with some leopard gekkos and baby tortoises. Mountain bike in the kitchen. Bodyboard in the hallway. Snowboard leaning up against another room. Spearguns scattered against several rooms. It’s what I call, a collection of worldy goods. Most people would refer to it as crap.

At any rate, by 7.00 pm and hours of cleaning and scrubbing I finally had the place decent looking. And by 8 pm my house was transformed into a sea of friends. Some of them were old staff that I worked with years ago, some are new, but all of them are who I consider really good friends. We all stuffed ourselves with tons of food (I make it manditory to bring a main dish to my parties, I made yellowtail sashimi and white sea bass in garlic/sweet chili paste sashimi and spicy crab sushi mmm I know your mouth is watering), there was just about every thing you can imagine. I sat back and watched people laughing and telling stories and then afterwards we played some poker and then shot craps. It was about 1.30 am when people finally left and I snuggled into a warm bed with two rambuncious puppies.

At 7 am I blinked some heavy eyelids apart and immediately took several asprin to try to kill a massive headache that was splitting the front side of my skull. It was going to be another very special day.

One of my former staff members had a sister that worked for the L.A zoo so several of us went down for a behind the scenes tour. It was so amazing. We stood about three feet away from the orangatan exhibit as she quietly fed them fruits and vegitables. I was in awe as I watched the simple communication that the huge great apes guestered while they asked for food. To look in their eyes was absolutely amazing, such intelligence and grace. You could see the thinking and the look in those eyes was absolute hypnotic. I will never forget that day. I can’t believe there are assholes in this world who kill them for sport or profit.

The chimpanzees swayed back and forth and we tossed them food. They would clap their hands to try to get our attention and reach upwards like a small child reaching for his icecream cone. One of them would smuggle apples to his mother (who was not supposed to have any because of a dietary requirement), yet another rolled around the grass. The scariest moment was when we went by one cage with a new arrival. I’ve never seen this before, but the chimp in that cage was very aggitated. He puffed up all his hair, much like a dog that’s going to attack. He would sway back and forth and rush the cage and shake the bars loudly, it was pretty scary to think if he got out he could probably pull our arms off and would probably bite our faces off or tear off my scrotum. The strength was simply amazing. I was really glad he didn’t throw crap at us either!  We walked into another exhibit where two large gorillas sat waiting for their food. The male was massive and he would cock his head as we walked by him, he had the hugest hands I’ve ever seen. Phew and what a smell! It took a long breathhold for me to be able to stand that one. But once again you could see how intelligent they really were. Absolutely amazing to watch that closely.

A hour or so later I found myself looking upwards at one of the most graceful and beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. I quietly held the feeding jar and the head bowed down so I could see the two horns and the long snakey tongue dart into the pipe. The first time I’ve ever fed a giraffe! IT WAS HUGE! Ginormous! It would chew its food and then bend over for more, I was absolutely spellbound. We spent a long time walking thru exhibits, the cold air piercing our jackets but nothing could take away the awe of that entire trip. I’m still excited about it…

Pay it forward. The weekend has been full of experiences. Great ones for me but not so great for some others. If you know me you know I’m here to listen when you have problems. Out of the blue I got a text from one of my friends from new york who was incredibly sad. Just out of a bad relationship, ending a old career, and sitting home alone on the holidays are one of the worst things that can happen to you. When I called her she sounded really down. So we chatted. I’m a wealth of knowledge of relationships, true my own are always going to shit because I cant see whats going on. But on the outside, I’m a fucking genius. I can call a relationship and tell you what’s going to happen or if that person is a good or bad person and I’m usually right. So we chatted for a long time. And at the end she was laughing and much happier. It made me feel fantastic, just to know that I made someones day on a bad day. The last thing she said before she hung up was that she was really glad that she had met me.

Once in a while I get caught up in my own sorrows and think about the meaning of life. And that I really don’t make a difference. But its times like this and experiences like this weekend that make you stop and think. Ever see “it’s a wonderful life?”. A lot of it is true, there are a billion things that happen in your life every day that make a difference. It’s what I call the laws of probablilty, when you meet someone it’s a one in a billion odds against that happening. You have to be in the exact spot at the exact time, they have to be in the exact spot in the same time. But when that happens you become a part of that persons life, it might be just an instance or it might be someone who turns out important in your life. Try not to forget that when things aren’t so great. You touch a lot of people without even realizing it. If you quit on living you are going to miss out on a lot of great experiences and touching a lot of lives.

I thought about that quite a bit and pulled the mighty Skyline out of the garage. Car detailing time! I rubbed clay on it to pull out the impurities in the paint and then laid on a heavy coat of wax. The time just breezed by and two hours later the end result is I have one bad ass shiny jet black car. It’s been a great end to a great day and I sit back and just look at that beast. Sometimes I just like to look at it in the garage or when it’s in a parking lot all by itself. It’s not the fastest car, not the most expensive, but shit she’s mine. And it’s the car I always wanted. I rub the imported 350gt emblems and buff off a tiny bit of wax that I missed. The keys are calling my name and I palm them and open the door, fire up the engine up and click on the seat heaters. I roll down to the gas station to dump more cash into the money pit and two guys in a fixed up integra walk behind my car and then in front while I’m checking the oil. “Man that’s a tight ass car bro” one of them comments. I smile and say thanks and merry xmas. The pump clicks off and I replace the nozzle and jump back inside, fire up the beast and listen to xmas music.  I turn onto the freeway,open up the sunroof, roll down the windows and  throw it into a lower gear to hear the rumble of the engine and watch the needle quickly climb.  Everything becomes a blur I turn up the music and  all the while thinking about how lucky I am to have a great family and friends and some cool toys.

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