What I’m looking forward to this morning

I hope you enjoy your new year’s parties. I’m off to Berkeley this morning. I won’t be posting any updates until I return on the 9th.

I’ve been thinking about all the things I’m looking forward to on my short trip this morning. Here are a few:

I bought Jonathan Franzen’s novel “The Corrections,” along with David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas,” and I hope to read either one or both of these novels on the trip. There’s going to be lots of dead travel time on buses and trains and an hour on the plane. I decided that I should finally buy some books, and so I did, starting with “Never Let Me Go.” I’ll be doing a lot of reading this week.

I get to see my friends and engage in lots of random activities.

I’m going back to Berkeley to not only see friends, but to hopefully see a professor of mine who greatly supported and inspired me in my writing during my time at Cal. I owe him lunch and I think I owe it to him to tell him what has happened to my writing during the last six months. That should be an interesting story.

I get to leave Los Angeles for more than three days, which is an enormous pleasure for me. I hope to leave here permanently by the end of 2010.

I get to meet a new person. Thanks N, I look forward to meeting another writer.

I’m also going back to a cafe I used to frequent, where I spent time reading and writing. It’s one of my favorite places.

I suppose that’s a good list for now. When I get back, more interesting stories will be told. I should mention that I’m slightly nervous about flying and the associated dread it brings with regard to identification and security. Hopefully nothing will happen. I do have the advantage of being a white male whom no one considers dangerous or suspicious.

Cool leg, cute dog, hot mom, great family

On Halloween, I was in Westwood with my buddy Chris, eating at a place I had gone to in 2006. I hadn’t been to Westwood for about two years, and considering I used to go there every day to see my girlfriend (a two hour commute one way), it was a pretty important place for about a year.

Chris and I went to a really funky thrift store called the Thank-You Mart and bought a bunch of stuff for our Halloween costumes (read: bought ultra glam clothes for him, pink ultra tight girl’s shirt, beret, sunglasses, and bandana for me), and then we walked around the UCLA campus for a bit. Between our shopping (I also got an awesome purple polka dot tie for $4) and our excursion on campus, we went to this cafe. We probably should have gone to the place next door, which looked more expensive but also looked like it had better service and better food, but what can you do when nostalgia strikes?

It turned out to be a good thing that we ate at this cafe, because right as we sat down, I saw the coolest family. A woman and her husband and their two sons sat down next to us, and the older son, who was about five (I’m notoriously bad at gauging kids’ ages) had a prosthetic leg. The amazing thing about his leg was that it looked like a multi-colored robotic leg, like something you would build out of Legos when you were a kid. It was so awesome. I wish I had taken a picture. It didn’t even try to hide the fact that it was a prosthetic leg – even the joints were super visible, so it totally looked colorfully makeshift (it was purple, I think). I ended up telling his mom (who was gorgeous, by the way, and looked like little running water), that the boy’s leg was cool, and she asked him, “What do you say to that?” He ended up saying thank you. I don’t think he was mad at me for bringing it up. At least his mom wasn’t.

What’s nice about this experience is that this kid’s mom and dad are treating him like a normal person and taking away the stigma of disability. I mean, who wouldn’t want a robotic leg!? If I’m jealous of this kid’s fake leg, the parents are doing something right! I watched a great TED talk about prosthetics and disability by Aimee Mullins (who had both of her legs amputated below the knee) recently, during which she elaborated on her twelve pairs of prosthetic legs. She told a great story about how she has legs made that can make her taller, and that when she wore them to a party, her friend said that it wasn’t fair that she could make herself taller at will. I think that’s an important thing – that we’re no longer seeing disability in a negative light, that we’re no longer projecting negative stereotypes onto people who are wholly capable of functioning in our society, even without legs or arms, etc.

While we were eating, the little boy kept running around his father, who was holding his younger brother, playing peekaboo and generally having a really good time. They also had a really nice black poodle, whom the mother, in response to my “Is that your dog?” described as, “Well, it’s really his dog,” referring to the boy with the super amazing leg. She was also super hot. Did I mention that?

I was totally jealous of how happy their family seemed to be, even in the midst of what could have been something really negative. It’s not often that I see such a well adjusted family. To be honest, I rarely see happy families, which made this encounter all the more amazing. I guess I’m also reflecting on my own lack of family, or at least my own lack of caring, stable, happy family. Let’s not even try to bring in the inevitable Tolstoy allusion.

I was thinking about LRW a lot that day, seeing as we were in Westwood and all. I told Chris that she looked like the hot mom, and he was impressed (although I don’t want to play to assumptions about how I want to potentially show off this whole age difference, which I don’t care about), but I obviously was not telling the truth. I mean, sure, they look kind of alike, but not necessarily so. LRW is paler and has nice eyes and never calls, but that’s just the selfishness talking right about now.

Little running water is also a stupid codename, because it has no relation at all to anything, but I like it. Don’t you?