I saw friends yesterday . . . my college orchestra stand partner who is now a novelist, a friend who is the new editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal, a friend who is the development director at a small press, a friend who is the assistant director of an MFA program. I watched the young people and admired their hair colors. I identified a few famous-ish people by their name tags and was surprised to learn that they looked like that.
I walked back to my hotel and ate ceviche and Chex party mix in a revolving bar, as the sun set over the invisible sea and the mountains frowned like Easter Island statues and the glossy buildings shone with sort of urban alpenglow amid the traffic of helicopters and airplanes.
This city is a strange place . . . everything feels too glossy, too large. And yet there are those glowering, implacable mountains. I tried to explain how I felt to Tom last night, during a phone call. His response was "That's why punk rock had to happen."
I will have this afternoon off, though, and my plan is to take the bus to the Santa Monica pier and look at the Pacific. How could I go from Maine to California without making some acquaintance with this other ocean?
In the meantime, imagine me sitting on a bed in a hotel that feels like a cruise ship to a person who has never been on a cruise ship but has only (1) watched The Love Boat and (2) read David Foster Wallace's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again."
According to the hotel, I may purchase this bed and its accoutrements for $1,895.