Hard to imagine that the decade is only a few days away from ending. I can clearly, or vaguely, remember (depending on whom I talking to) what was going on this time ten years ago.
I had been asked by a so-called friend of mine from Encino to "drive a car for him on business," thus tying me up for the whole night of New Year's 1999 in what would turn out to be a disaster that I would soon want to quickly forget. My head wasn't exactly screwed on straight back then anyway, and I prioritized my responsibilities very differently. I guess that would be one regret I do have. Even though I know I can't change it, or then ... it would be foolish of me to forget how I was then and some of the things I did. I learned a lot of lessons back then -- about a lot of things.
I also remember buying a used copy of Sting's Brand New Day CD, which was only a few months old at that point from the Warehouse CD store in that strip mall on the corner of Sunset and La Brea. Guess what CD is currently in the third spot of my player in the Lexus? I used to walk down there frequently and search that place for anything good, but I think they've been shut down for some time.
I used to occupy an apartment up on Hollywood Blvd behind the 'Rock n' Roll Ralph's' grocery store (as it was always called, as you could always find some random member of any late eighties, early nineties hair-rock bands buying booze and frozen steaks in some half-inebriated state). I was just a quiet observer back then, too. Those were definitely the days to remember and I never thought they'd fade as quickly as they did. Maybe it was the internet, maybe it was something else. Maybe the people I knew back then just decided to finally grow up. I guess I should be glad to say that I saw them while they were young.
Maybe the truth was that they got to see me during a period of my life where I was clueless and lost. Hmmm .... wait ... this sounds all too familiar. This couldn't be a theme, could it?
Hollywood has changed a lot since I used to live there. Those days were almost like a 'very quick second Golden Age' (wow, mouthful), that evaporated between the point of them cleaning the homeless and vagabond youth from the streets to the point where gentrification just took over en masse and re-did everything the eye could see. The place aint the same at all, and it definitely suffers for it as well. Most people I know won't go near the place, not because they feel out of place, but just because the place itself -- is out of place. When everything nosedives down there again, it may improve. Some places are always meant to be ghettos. Too many good books have been written painting it as a wasteland for it to ever be Disneyland.
Love life back then? Can't comment. Don't want to. Like a poem I once wrote ... they've all evanesced into the ash of time ... gone ... Who knows the paths of some of those people that we once told we love and would always care about. A decade on and other priorities in life are far more pressing than youthful folly. All I can say is I know I pissed some people off, royal. Oh well. Forgiveness is it's own reward, although I have no problem apologizing openly. I'm honestly sorry.
Friends? Hard to say about most of them as well. Most of them thought they we're either above the law, were above the law or ended up in the hands of the law. A few of them had an impact on my life and I'll always miss them. Most of the others met their own fates elsewhere and have ceased being a concern or harangue on others, thankfully. Only one of them needs addressing. I know you're reading this to, and yes ... I still have it. It's in a box in my garage. It's mine until the end of time, compañero.
Lessons I learned from that point in time:
1. Don't trust anyone with anything important to you.
2. Never divulge your secrets to someone who says they love you.
3. Never lie to someone who says they love you.
4. Life is a lot like a magic trick, you can never tell them how yours works. They won't understand.
5. Sometimes, you have to put the past behind you.
6. Look out for yourself, no one else will.
7. Don't get in a car with someone who owes you money -- a lot of money.
8. Don't volunteer to pick people up from the airport.
9. If you think someone is more interested in your medicine cabinet than you -- you're probably right.
10. You may have to suffer fools, but you don't have to do it gladly.
11. Most of the strip clubs in Hollywood are owned by the same two assholes.
In the immortal words of Jeff Spicoli:
"Aloha, Mr. Hand!"