Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!
Home-o for the Holidaze || A Photo Essay
The fuzzy little fella under the tree is my parents' very cuddly, very effeminate boy dog, Yukon. For all intents and purposes "Yuki" is my younger sibling. Like all bullying older sibs, I'm having the little one do the dirty work for me--soften up the crowd with those shiny button eyes for what will be a quick and dirty post on this night of the 23rd...the eve of Christmas Eve.
To get to Riverside today I took the Metrolink, So. Cal's commuter train system and a distant cousin to something like the LIRR. On weekends the Metrolink goes the roundabout way (the only way available to the Empire from L.A.'s Union Station on weekends), through San Bernardino, Riverside's scrappier and scruffier neighbor to the Northeast. What is usually about a 50 minute drive on the 60FWY door-to-door from my place to my folks' took about an hour and 45 on the Sunday San Berdoo line that chugs alongside the 10 past El Monte, Baldwin Park, Covina, Northern Pomona, Claremont, Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Rialto and downtown San Bernardino before docking in downtown Riverside. The train was filled with holiday travelers, mostly Latino and African-American teens heading into the I.E. to see the cousins, aunts and uncles who re-lo'ed to the 'burbs in the 80s or 90s (see Next Friday, which was set in one of my scenic station stops today, Rancho Cucamonga).
The Metrolink ride yields plenty of stories, especially because the route provides picture-window glimpses at the backyards, freight doors and storage dumps that families, businesses and cities like to keep tucked out of view. I too will keep these stories close to the vest for now and let a few pictures do the talking. Part II of this post closes with a tableau of what the holidays look like at the parental abode on Santee place. In the meantime, this is how we enter the Empire...
1. Union Station
2. L.A. River
4. Mobile Home Park
5. Montclair Station (Mt. Baldy, Hinterground)
6. Yellow 1.0
7. Yellow 2.0
8. Boxcars near Rialto
9. Yellow 3.0 (between San Bernardino and Riverside)
10. End Stop
PART II: Santee Place
We all know the holidaze are chaotic, but they feel especially tumultuous for a Virgo like me when I schlep out to the parental hoarding pit. My folks have got to be the worst pack-rats EVER. I know they look sweet, well groomed and tidy on the outside, but at their very core they can't resist squirreling away every soy sauce packet* or spork in the event of the apocalypse (or "The Big One"--the latter being more immanent). I think their Bohemianism crossed with some of their "Fisher King" tendencies account for my unbearable Virgoan obsessiveness and minimalism now. [Left: Graveyard of craft books, hall closet]. When I arrived this late afternoon, I had my annual hissy fit about all the stuff crammed into every nook and cranny of the house: an assortment of catalogues for things like dog visors and Kleenex cozies; unread Rodale's "Organic Gardening" magazines from 1989 onward; DVD's from Columbia House that they forgot to reject through the monthly mailer; ceramic dolphin clocks gifted to them by acquaintances from the church of Religious Science; coupons from Dr. Butchko, I.E. Vet. It's all still here. Clearly I need therapy to work through all the residual immigrante and class shame triggered by all my parents' stuff. [L: Santas and Friends]. This time, I just decided to take pictures.
I know this might sound a bit too "American Beauty," but taking pictures of all of the oddities chez Mom and Dad really helped me see things differently. It made me actually appreciate some of the accidental beauty behind their otherwise chaotic accumulation. It helped me breathe. So in the spirit of Christmas sharing, here's something from my family to yours...Maligayang Pasko! Mele Kalikimaka! Frohe Weihnachten! And all that jazz...
a. Beethoven and Friends
b. Everything but the kitchen sink
c. The kitchen sink
d. Crown Rib Roast
e. Capicolla fr. D'Elia's
g. Nativity Scene + Buddha Guest Stars
i. Screen, Elephants and Rudolph
j. Bongos || Romy Katindig Model
k. Hip-Swaying Outdoor Santa
l. Santa's Sleigh + Great Ideas Book Series, 1961-1974
n. Dad w. Sick Puppy
* The genotype "soy sauce saver" isn't mine, but belongs to the venerable HN Lukes.