Sidewalk Ghosts / “$5.00 For Eight Minutes Of Paid Water. You’re Kidding Me!”

“whatever way life takes you, follow your inside, your persona, how you feel about your presence on Earth, and somehow let it be the guide in interfering with your choices.”


A was typical night in Radstoneland: I give you the beats.

• Taught Spinning
• Best Buy for more iPad stuff. I’m telling you, “the thing is a drug addiction.”
• Purchased new car tires. (Ended any dream for more iPad fix money. It was all gone).
• Visited camera store to look at other pricy things I could not afford.
• Went to park with daughter and friends (“Ah, released from life).”
• Bothered families at park for an interview (Daughter hooked on the project, she forced me to bug people).
• Accepted rejection from said park families. (Felt like the creepy stalker but had to respect my daughter’s starry eyes).
• Left park to heal shame for bugging families.
• Saw photo opportunity­–preacher dude on street corner, redirected path toward him.
• Got yelled at violently by preacher dude on street corner. (My bad; thought he’d want to tell the world to repent).
• Staggered back to car; happy I was intact! (Don’t worry; kids were safely in car and in my field of view).
• Set path for home: dinnertime and a serious re-think of how I would meet a stranger-now-friend.
• Wife threw me out, “go find someone to photograph, I’ve got the kids.”
• Broke in new car tires as I wandered aimlessly.
• Drove past coin operated car wash on Saticoy.
• Mind drifted, “oh my heavens, its 8pm and I’m clueless as to if I’m meeting anyone tonight.”
• Small voice in head told me to turn around and go to another coin operated wash near where preacher dude was. “OK?”
[8:15]sh, arrived at prompted car wash (Thought, “as leastI can wash my car).”
• Fought with change machine, stupid thing would not take my wrinkled bills. (Wondered, “doesn’t everyone shove wadded money in pockets? How do the clean their cars?).”
• Created friction burn on leg from straightening bill.
• Won fight, walked away from opponent, hand filled with quarters.
• Got hosed. (“$5.00 for eight minutes of paid water. You’re kidding me!).”
• Pulled out of slip, (I refused to pay $2.50 more to rinse a little soap off my car).
• Pit stopped at vacuum station to decompress from money sucking timed wash experience.
• Observed what looked like expert car washer in stall beside me. (Could not figure out why his car looked so much cleaner than mine).
• Questioned my car detailing ability?
• Submitted to my failure.
• Struck up chat with car washing expert (Thought, “perhaps I’d get pointers on where I went wrong. Should I have sprayed the degreaser first? Maybe I was too long with the soap brush? Help!).”
• He was a cool dude. Invited him to be interviewed, he accepted.
• Curtis was his name.

A recent transplant from Kentucky to Los Angeles, pharmacist Curtis began his West Coast pharmaceutical career four years prior to the night I met him. Yet as we talked, I quickly realized there was more to Curtis than simply preparing medication. He talked of the importance of patient experience, saying with smile on his face, “It’s really about making people comfortable, many of my customers don’t feel well when they come to my pharmacy. I do my best to let them know that I care.”

Above filling prescriptions, it was obvious the man had great compassion for others, something that inspired him in his greatest dream, “I want to be an entertainer.”

An emerging comic and singer, Curtis expressed his reasoning for pursuing path into such a difficult and competitive profession. He had the right perspective. “It’s about giving myself and sharing my talents.”

After thirty years as a director and photographer, it was a comment that I very much appreciated. There are so many talented people who seem to quickly burn out from self-absorption, and Curtis’ interest to give and share was about as healthy as it got.

We talked of creative mindset, linked it with the importance of being true to personal perspective and what it took to both develop and hold on to artistic point-of-view. Another topic that was very close to me.

Curtis gave us this wisdom, “whatever way life takes you, follow your inside, your persona, how you feel about your presence on Earth, and somehow let it be the guide in interfering with your choices.”

After a long day of rejections, and in a way that I was still learning, I was again guided. Directed, if you will, to a man who truly cared about people, and a person I hoped would find his voice in the world of entertainment. We need guys like him on stage.

In the end, it grew clear to me why I was at that particular car wash, at that particular time, and on that particular evening. I was being whispered to by something beyond myself, and as I listened, I was taught once again.

Talk tomorrow my good friends,
Readers, if you are returning, so nice to be with you again. If you are new, looking forward to getting to know you.
To all: please commentlike, and forward. Every engagement goes a long way toward connecting us; as together, we grow a movement that betters the way we view and treat one another.