So, here I am, saying all these things about how I love LA, how I hate LA, how I am obsessed by the Ocean and the Desert and all the in-between that makes there there, that makes it here inside me at the same time and how I”ll never come back. Yet by saying that, I’m saying I’d rather do nothing but come back and that’s when it happens. Something subtle but not. I read the Times occasionally for more than just the crosswords and I come across this to which I cannot stop shaking my head to, like some damn toy dog.
He says, “It never hit me: You can’t run, so why not succumb?”
I say, I’m too young to give in. I haven’t written a screenplay or published a novel. My mother wasn’t murdered.
I get good advice, good commentary and I think of all the good advice I give that I don”t follow. That I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. That I run from.
So, I dream of Laos.
I dream of Yak meat grilled spicy sweet in banana leaves over a lean-to fire by the banks of the Nam Song river in the middle of some damn jungle outside Luang Prabang.
I dream of spelunking with candles through half-submerged leech-infested Tham Pha Man cave with spiders the size of Cadillacs and no way out but the way ahead where the roof gets in close to the floor and you crawl and things crawl on you and you are Indiana Fucking Jones.
I dream of sidewalk stall mamas smiling big and toothless doling out bowlfuls from shooting steamy old pots full of rice noodled Keng Soua, spicy green and riddled with garlic, cilantro, galanga and then there’s Laap, the Southeast Asian answer to Ceviche.
…I dream of the shady refuge of dusty tin markets and tailors who sleep on cots of $20 patchwork suits, of the right-of-way Yaks innately possess when roaming through town, of warm beer Lao and Swedish/Israeli infestation, of bananas falling from the sky, of Duoc monkeys screeching at transvestite hairdressers in their own secret, shared language.
I get lost in the hazy heated shade of my dreams, searching for the correct vine to swing on into the big mud-red Mekong once again, to try and get that man-sized catfish everyone talks about with an awe as of having seen the Great Buddha himself swim up that river. Maybe it is Him calling me back. Maybe it’s Him telling me these aren’t dreams, aren’t just memories, but are the future.