Friday, September 17, 2010

Into the Fog


Sodium vapor lamps over parking lots dotted the night like spots of burning sun in the mist. I walked down along Muscle Beach toward Venice through a fog that grew even more dense the longer I was out. Down on the beach path, the lights of the amusement park on the pier shone only as a pastel luminescence hanging in the white sheen. Fellow exercisers, walking, running, biking, skateboarding, came to and fro, passing me, me passing them, in and out of the fog like wraiths seeking solace. I stood in the shadow of an empty beach cafe, shielded from the orange glow of the parking lot lights. "Please make the way for me to stay in LA and establish my screenwriting career," I said in prayer to the Universe.

There are those times when you aren't sure what the next step is going to be. I've been in LA for about ten days now, having come out with the idea of staying, and on several occasions since being here, it has seemed that this will be my home for awhile. But the experience of this week has left a pool of ambiguity in my heart. It's as if I walk along in a fog, and all I have to go on is the internal compass, and then I constantly question it, wondering if it is really telling me to go here or there. 

I joined CouchSurfers.org earlier this week and contacted three of four people. The only people that responded where a couple who are able to allow me to sleep in an extra bedroom until Sunday. That will be a day of reckoning because it's at that point that the path ahead is quite vague. On that bike trip through Central Minnesota, a significant lesson that emerged was learning to trust the Universe. Leaving from camp in the morning, I needed to trust that I'd both make it to the next destination and that there would be a place for me to pitch a tent that night. Having learned that lesson to whatever degree I was able, soon, my path led me back to the Twin Cities and then out here.

It's been a great struggle this week as I have had to acknowledge that whatever happens, it is what is best for me. After contacting couch surfing hosts earlier in the week, I had to trust that those appointed to do so would respond. The week has passed, my stay at the hostel is finished, and I look toward Sunday as the edge of the abyss, not sure exactly what's going to happen or turn up. As one of my previous posts explored, there is a real possibility that I might end up setting up a bed roll next to some homeless guys down on Ocean Ave.

The Original "Muscle Beach," possible bed-down
spot in Mark's immediate future.

A certain number of mental leaps are required to accept that sleeping out on the sandy lawn along Ocean Avenue is what's best for me, but that's the direction things have gone. The fail-safe is going back to Miamisburg, Ohio, and that's a real possibility in my mind as I enter this weekend. Does that constitute failure? It feels that way. And then there's the question of whether that is going to lead to anything in a nowhere, working-class town where I feel about as comfortable as a whale on a beach.