Cheer up, Asshole!
October 5, 2011
As this goal has closed the distance to – barring total economic collapse, medical emergency, volcanic eruption (ah the dreams that come after early disaster!) – inevitability, I’ve been having some problems re-learning how to be… happy. (Please – those who would hold up Auschwitz and the starving, and the tortured and hungry, as if anyone could recognize and inhabit luck relative with lives they haven’t lived -I know. Shut up.)
I’ll go off the reservation as I did in this blog’s first posts and overshare here: it’s been a long, chaotic, lost road toward the opening of the store, conceived at the beginning of 2007 or thereabouts, when I fell in love with the old Cafe Mexico abandoned at least five years now on the corner of Michoacan and Parque Mexico and imagined a new home in that jungly quarter.
That option, like so many, was a no-go, and as I tried on multiple interim hats down here – DJ (that didn’t even get off the ground), Fodor’s correspondent, paid screenwriter, English teacher – finding the combination that would open these very doors was unforeseeably complex and a hard slog in light of the defeats that preceded it: the monorail most historically now only a dim pain in my chest but at the time (November 2005) the total destruction of all I’d built my life around; a breakup on the verge of engagement; the rolling disaster of the horror film I bankrolled with my every last dime (not the forthcoming Grassroots, please don’t get them confused) and my slowly diminishing efforts to pretend to the ticket-buying world that it was not a turd and dreaming past it until a year ago my film company, given its record, had a hope in hell of making the two fine scripts I wrote subsequently…
It’s been a ship’s graveyard of efforts borne up by the generosity and patience of good friends: my mom; my brother; the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services; Kim Suther; Gael Zane and Cleve Stockmeyer; Juan Carlos Sumano and the forty-seven people who made a significant investment in the future of this last enterprise.
I write this on a paint-stained banquet table in the floating (as opposed to the sunken) room of the store under the half-completed ceiling mural by Paul Lozano commissioned to pay tribute to those generous forty-seven. Two men are loudly singing scales behind a door ten feet away. I wait on the last design of our pricetag, a rubber stamp that will someday notify an English backpacker at a hostel in Bali curling up on a hammock with Great Expectations that there is a used English bookstore in ‘Mexico City’. The second room of shelves goes in tomorrow and the following day. The books, in boxes mostly, are all around me, and the rent is paid. Grant (Badger) and Lina arrive tonight from Seattle with all their household goods and intentions of starting a bar. I’ll be able to map much of the way for them, but like me they’ll have to find out a twisted journey entirely their own.
We open next Friday. It isn’t simple, but I don’t feel bad. I’m learning. I think happiness, whatever that is, is coming on. Things are pretty good – I think it’s been about six years since I’ve felt that, and that’s a victory.