Blame the Fashion District for the following meandering through the synapses half-firing in the murky slime of my brain where the writing happens.
It’s currently about 8 p.m., a few hours shy of my deadline. Procrastination is a wonderful tool employed by writers who want a justification for a late-night sugar fix.
“What? It’s getting close to deadline — I have to make that coffee to fuel the creative fires!”
In a rare departure from tradition, I settle on a couple bottles of cream soda purchased at Pavilions, a grocery store where many of the same cashiers have worked for 10 years or more, according to their name tags.
I love that you can go to this store and discover the woman standing next to you in line is also on the cover of the soap opera magazine above the conveyor belt. Once you’re done with your order, the employees ask if you need help to your car. This kind of service has all but dissolved in the Northeast grocery chains I’m used to.
Now I’m in my comfiest chair, hoping its softly stitched arms and pillowy backrest will massage the words from my head and down my arms into my fingers, and splash them on the keyboard in some order. I could have started writing yesterday, but I was transfixed by the news coverage of 9/11 ceremonies and thinking of the countless families affected by the attacks — including the Burbank family I met a week ago who was inside the Pentagon when it was struck.
Several times last week I’d recounted the call I got from my editor that morning 10 years ago. I was working on deadline at a daily paper in western New York. During the ensuing days, I don’t remember sleeping much; only working, and seeing determined faces of emergency responders who loaded their kids and spouses into the family cars and made the seven-hour drive to New York because they were compelled to do something — anything — to help at Ground Zero.
After a while I wanted a change of pace, so I popped in “The King’s Speech,” an extraordinary film about the power of friendship. Something in me was restored, or at the very least refreshed, after the final scene.
I probably should have started writing yesterday, instead of watching the movie. I really should have started last week — and I intended to, but an emergency trip to the Burbank Orchard Supply Hardware made that tough, and some home repairs filled my dance card. Saturday was out as well, which brings us to the Fashion District.
That morning I embarked on my inaugural voyage to the world’s largest collection of balloon-covered fleece and fleur-de-lis inspired tapestry cloth. I have never seen so many fabrics gathered in one place — block upon block of merchants selling horsehide, gatorhide, rawhide, and what I swear was clownhide.
Then there are all the clothing stores — I never really considered a crisp Ben Franklin could buy me a suit (“Tie, belt, shirt free” one sign boasted), but there you have it. If anyone has a suit from one of these establishments, I’d like to know if it falls apart upon exiting the store.
My mission was to find bits and bobs for my pirate getup, which I recently needed at a costume party at the Burbank Marriott. I was woefully out-maraudered by the professional-grade getups of the locals.
At every turn of the Fashion District there’s a hot dog or sausage vendor, or a lady selling churros from a Tupperware container fastened to a cart. If it weren’t for the 436 dumplings I ate at dim sum in Chinatown (another first), I’d consider trying one.
Once again, I was shopping when I could have been writing. Now I’m halfway through my second cream soda, and it’s almost time for bed.
Procrastination, you surly mistress. Why must you always provide shopping and sugar at the times I need them least?
BRYAN MAHONEY is a recent transplant from the East Coast. When he’s not hooking up his caffeine IV, he can be reached at 818NewGuy@gmail.com and on Twitter @818NewGuy.