The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 35
For the next six months I lived on the roof of a two story office building in downtown Culver City, CA, across the street from Sony Studios. My friend, Lloyd, owned the building. Deal was, I could stay there, rent free, in exchange for taking care of the hundreds of bromeliads he grew under a shade cloth erected eight feet above the floor and covering half the rooftop.
I slept in a small, half-cylinder structure made of corrugated steel and wood.
It was a beautiful, peaceful time.
My “real” job during the first two months there was a landscaping project for Mike, who had just purchased a home near Hancock Park. The adventure reunited me with my old Crosstown #3 bus driver, Henry, from back in the West End Holel days. His first words upon seeing me again were: “What goes around, eh Rico?”
“Henry, my friend, if ANYbody knows how true that is… “
“Hehehe. Got me there.”
That project completed, I cruised—matinees at local theatres; meals at local, independent restaurants; coffee and jazz at the fabulous Conservatory for Coffee just a block or two away on the other side of Sony.
And I was back into running: a gently rolling 5k course down the canal to the marina; speedwork at the West L.A. College track; hillwork; yoga on Lloyd’s roof or at a triangular shaped, shaded park less than a mile away.
Then, just as a leaf floats effortlessly downstream, moving with the current, I found myself employed as a barista at the Conservatory.
What began as a casual, late afternoon chat with AJ, (the brilliant roastmaster there), about the trajectory of jazz post Mile Davis somehow spun itself off topic and into an interview with David, the big chief, then ended after closing time with introductions to Ingrid and Marie, David’s daughters and the other two primary players.
Over the counter retail? Me?
It was as silly and pointless a concern as the leaf caring which bank it ended up on, or annoyed that a mischievous bird had plucked it from its course, dropped it in a tidepool upon discovering it wasn’t a worm after all.
“Free coffee and gourmet pastries,” said David.
“Tips,” said Ingrid.
“And jazz,” said AJ, flipping a mechanism on the huge roasting machine, allowing a fresh batch of organic Yirgacheffe to spill into a waiting tub.
I had never smelled anything like it.