I get up and ride to pretty Laguna Beach, where I find my way to my Uncle Jim’s place. It is just as it’s been described to me, lots of stairs, Aunt Tini’s art everywhere, messy – a senior bachelor pad. Uncle Jim is a friendly 85-year-old, suffering from a runny nose today. He offers to cook, but I gently suggest we go out. We go to Jolly Roger’s, as Tom predicted. Breakfast is spent trying to find something to talk about and failing. We settle for discussing the family members we both know.
Uncle Jim shows me a bit of Laguna Beach, then takes me to visit an old, deaf Italian woman who was a close friend Aunt Tini’s. We manage to frustrate her greatly trying to make an introduction. My situation is hard enough to describe in spoken language. Jim keeps talking to her in spite of himself. We end up writing what we can on a pad, but even reading English is difficult for her. It’s a strange visit. Once we feel we’ve sorted out her initial confusion a bit, we leave.
We go back to Jim’s, take some pictures. I have to cut things short to have any chance of making LA before dark. Jim awkwardly gives me a nice Swiss Army knife, which I awkwardly accept.
When I reach Long Beach I don my white cloth respirator, obtained from the Institute of Sociometry as part of the Red Pollution Adversary project. At first I don’t get much reaction. It fits too well in the industrial setting. But in the hilly horse ranches of Palos Verdes the stares are a little more dumbfounded. In this setting I imagine my visage is more remniscent of an apocolyptic horseman. On Redondo Beach I’m merely regarded as a freak. Making my way inland from Marina Del Ray I mistakenly exit a bike path onto a basketball court full of kids giving me cold, hard stares. I quickly turn around. Downtown, it’s me doing the staring at other freaky looking people.
I wind up in downtown LA at night despite my efforts to hurry. I have to call my cousin Dan for directions. A local bike commuter passes, and I follow him for a while. I find Dan’s house, but it’s empty. His neighbors lead a very tired me to the local Thai dive where a big group from Gospel Recordings is having dinner. In front of everyone, I greet Jon as Dan. Clearly I don’t get to see my cousins too often. Very embarrassing. I barely manage to hold up conversation, eat, walk home, and collapse in bed.