Angry Robot

Hollywood rooftop

What follows is something I wrote while in L.A. I’m of two minds about posting it – it’s not the sort of thing I imagine I like to post here. (Possibly, and typically, I might be wrong; I make many mistakes, to quote a great film.) But that particular case in my life-files is now closed, and maybe I’m blogging for closure – or something along those lines. Anyways.

What the fuck are all these birds? One sounds like a cross between a squeaking gate and a dying baby; one is the proverbial “come here” whistle; another like a sack of gristle being squeezed. They sound like they were specially calibrated to annoy, so much so that I doubt they are birds at all, rather a bunch of assholes up in trees with some ear-grating instruments. Morons poking monkeys. Idiots doing idiotic bird impressions. My kingdom for a goddamned pigeon.

The opportunity rises: I could rail against this strange city, so full of artifice, overstocked with delusion. The land of fake superheroes, of fake milk, fake fakes. But it’s been said before, and really: how could I stay mad at you? You’re nothing but an accumulation of mistakes, different from other cities only by degree of ambition. And you’re a whole lot better looking than most.

I’m not caught in your gears just yet. I’m caught in something else. A tangle of inputs and outputs, of favours and urges, of desires and regrets, a mechanism now just struggling along, emitting sick wheezing noises, making me think it may no longer be up to the task of taking us from emotion A to emotion B. If it is a mechanism, it needs balance. It needs reaction to action. If I give, I expect to take. If I serve you now, I expect later you will serve me. But somewhere in here some wires got crossed. You feel put out, and my attempt to make right falls short. But I think of that same attempt as a righteous overachievement.

I see now that I was testing you. I see now that you were testing me.

Maybe it’s the moment the system comes into effect. That’s the problem. Maybe as soon as this thing is mechanized and rationalized, as soon as we set up the inputs and outputs and favours and balances and counterweights and obligations and all of that mess, we lose the fucking magic. And we forgot about the love, as they say.

I’m not sure. Something feels broken.

It could’ve been a great day. It was beautiful enough. There aren’t so many days like this left when you think about it. And we could worry about that for the rest of the day, to think of how things might have been done better, to wallow in maybes and past variables and potential outcomes. But like I said we’re not running a factory here.

So let’s call off the regret party. I could sit on this roof until the sun sinks behind the fine layers of haze and strip mall, with the asshole birds and the pathetic symbolism, or I could do something about it.

I’m going to do something about it.


In this case, “something” = “not enough.”

4 comments on "Hollywood rooftop"

  1. D says:

    And now, I’m going to swear off the use of the first person for a while.

  2. King says:


    Sounds like you heard the Wind-Up Bird. I’ll drop it through your mail slot tomorrow.

  3. mageebags says:

    Nice Wind-Up Bird shout-out! (I *love* Murakami)

  4. D says:

    Very good then, I need a new book. Just finished Man in Full.

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