Sign

1 Jun

 

ghana-movie-poster

Devon and I did one of our urban hikes. We decided to walk from my apartment in Koreatown, down the length of Western Avenue, and up into the hills until we reached the Hollywood sign.

No sooner than we were out of the front door than we encountered a crazy, good-looking Spanish girl babbling on the front step, grinning to beat the band. I thought she was talking on a cell phone until I realized she was talking to the sky. Devon got a little freaked, especially since she started following us – but she gave up after a block.

A hundred yards later we saw a Korean mobster roughing up an underling, doing the classic move where you pull a guy’s jacket down so his arms are pinned and then you slam him up against the side of a car. The whole thing had a balletic feel – like the victim was secure in his role. Devon pushed me, saying, “C’mon Dad – don’t look.”

Walking past the 99 Cent stores, talking with Ann on the cell, letting her know we were on our way to adventure. Devon couldn’t believe that block after block the Hollywood sign wasn’t getting any closer.

We had lunch at the end of Western and Hollywood Blvd., drinking Thai ice tea in a little restaurant with a huge hot dog perched on the roof. I was looking forward to having a Thai hot dog but it wasn’t meant to be. The sign proved to be from a former eatery now passing the torch to a bitter-looking Thai woman serving bamboo stir fry in the harsh LA sunlight.

Walking on down Franklin, past the AFI and a bunch of cool cafes and then hanging a right onto Beachwood, our shoes already heating up and our foot bones getting articulated in a strange ways. As we walked I told Devon that Bob Dylan was a kindred spirit, that he loves to walk the outskirts of whatever town he finds himself in.

We wound our way through the Hollywood Hills, past wonderful quirky homes befitting the Dream Capital of America. Devon and I commenting on the various vintage Mustangs along the way. And then, really dragging now, reaching the Holly Ridge Trail, with its “Beware of Rattlesnakes and Mountain Lions” signs. We were pushing it, winding back and forth along the hill, catching a glimpse now and then of the sign and radio towers above us.

Every once in awhile we’d look over our shoulders at a  wide screen view stretching from  Santa Monica to downtown LA, with the asymmetrical Wiltern Theatre smack dab in the middle.

We met a little Japanese hiker who looked fresh as a daisy – no way did he start in Koreatown like a couple of crazy Jersey boys. In fact, I’ll go on record – no one ever started in Koreatown to set off for the Hollywood sign.

We kept on, Devon worried about dehydration. I tried to reassure him that humans don’t die that easy.

Here he comes again on his way down, the battery-driven Japanese guy greeting us with, “I took a picture.”

We finally made it to the top. Looking down on the backside of the Hollywood sign. Where poor Lillian Millicent Entwhistle plunged to her death in 1932 when her acting contract wasn’t renewed.

But up on top I wasn’t thinking about Hollywood, or anything like it.

I was enjoying the fact that Devon and I had made up our own day – there wasn’t one like it to be found anywhere.

(2006)

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