I wandered LA with not a dollar in my pocket. I’m dressed in this shirt and these pants and these shoes that don’t feel good. I did my hair in a way I think adults do. I ride this elevator to top and they tell me they like me. But I got to drive to LA everyday and that’s a deal breaker. I’m a ghost in LA.
I look to the other ghosts and I wonder how am I really different from them. It’s a fascination with me to count my blessings and watch them slip from my hands. It just seems fragile, you know? So I walk around these tall buildings with my beliefs and my perspective. Who am I to say they’re crazy? I sit down on the street and watch the busy people, the pretty adults who got things down, and the crazy ghosts who babble and curse the sky. And they’re like me, the real me. It’s nonstop here. People got places to go, even those who got nowhere to go.
And I talk to myself like I’m crazy, but in my head, so no one knows.
“This is a world made of money. You can eat money. You can make houses with money, and when you need to shit you wipe your ass with money. People are money. Your friends and family, you gotta have money to keep them. The love you feel is made of money.”
“I don’t like that. I wasn’t taught that. I don’t feel that is true either.”
“They lied to you. They measured you with tests and grades, and they make you care about these things as if they defined your worth. But that was a lie. It was bullet in your leg, and now they’re telling you to run. The truth is you are measured by how much money you have.”
“Oh but I don’t have money.”
This is depressing. This isn’t happy. So I’ll try to be happy now. I quit LA. I’m in the desert and I let the sand sift through my hand. Fine and silky, it coats my hand like flour. I let my eyes run fast above the dunes to the horizon where the moon sits comfy.
I’ve traveled a long way and this palace pops out in front of me. The towers are made of white stone. There are lush trees swaying in the arid breeze. I walk this paved road to a pond, where I clean myself. The dirt escapes me but I realize I just dirtied the water, and there are fishes in here. Shit.
“You came all the way here just to make everything dirty?” Its some old dude.
That doesn’t sound true. “No, I just came here to get clean.”
“You could’ve used the showers.”
“Oh sorry. I didn’t know.”
He shakes his head. I’ve disappointed you, old man. “You’re a fucking dreamer. I’ve see countless people like you come across this place all the time. Well why are you really here?”
“I guess I’m trying to find happiness.”
“Everyone is trying to find happiness. You’re gonna have to be more specific than that. What makes you happy?”
“Writing. No, wait. Money makes me happy.” But then I remembered what it took to make money. I am a fry cook cleaning the crusty grill. I am a warehouse worker throwing TVs over my shoulders onto a truck. I am a cashier smiling at you when I really don’t like you. I am an office monkey trying not to make people angry at me. “Yeah I think money would make me happy.”
“Fuck you. Does it look like I have money to give you? I’m in a desert. I water these trees and I feed the fish.”
“I wasn’t asking you for money. I was just being honest.”
“Look, everyone wants to be happy and everyone wants to have money. What makes you think you’re so special that these things would fall onto your lap?”
You see the problem is I chose a desert. No one is happy in a desert. Most of the time a desert is something you try to get through, to a better place… I think I got it. Something’s on the horizon. I’m moving through this, but it doesn’t have to be ugly. I’m going to get better. I think I found it for now, and maybe it won’t slip out of my hands too soon. Goodbye LA.