Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back When Reality Hit Me

On the right is Pico Blvd, on the left is Santa Monica Car Wash and right behind me was Gilbert's El Indio Restaurant... One of my favorite places on the planet.

I spent most of today in Santa Monica, CA (doing what I do for a living). And all I did that was remotely productive was rekindle relationships and tell stories. I ran into some guy I worked at a car wash with back during my "lost summer" of 1996. Amazing how different were back then and how we got to where we are now. I looked right at him as I walked down the lot, "Rudy?" I said. "Steve...que pasa?" Wow! He was just a line worker 11 years ago and now he was running the place.

In June of 1996, I packed up my little red Toyota truck with some of my belongings and about $400 cash and headed south to seek my fame and fortune and look for that pot of gold in the music business. Hell I had a degree in music so figured they'd all back the f--- up when I hit the scene. I cannot believe how stupid and unafraid I actually was. During the spring before graduation, I went down to have an interview with RCA Records for an internship. That was a cool experience... can't remember what I exactly did but after that interview I headed to a car wash I knew and applied for a job at a car wash. I needed to support myself while I worked for free at the record company after graduation. I mean, washing cars is what I did in college and high school. I was quite good at selling detail services and hand waxes at the washes I worked at so, I had no problem making a little cash fast on the weekends while I busted my ass during the week.

That is until I altered my plans midway...

See... I cruised through the summer, working at the car wash (ooh ya...:) ) and filing paper at RCA. I grew quite bored. I wanted that job right away. The one that paid you know, $20K annually and gave me fun shit to do on the weekends. And I grew bored with the car washing stuff because that wasn't going to get me anywhere in life. Anywhere... Car Washing was an absolute dead end with no future whatsoever. Seriously. I wanted it now. $10 bucks an hour in the Mail Room... Done!!! So when I prematurely vacated my much sought after internship they didn't have a job for me. So here I was a full time car washer. I joined a temp agency and discovered I could type 40 words a minute. Never tested before. But this was the agency of the stars, man. First job, filing papers at MCA Records. Second job, filing papers at Hanna Barbara. Third job, back at HB. Fourth job, and I seriously could make this a post in and of itself, installing electronic components into some studio across the street from NBC in Burbank. Then I got a long term assignment, Universal Studios (filing papers). I got too comfortable and started living large on the weekends, then poof! The job ended. Two weeks later, I had to decide between paying some credit card bills and eating while I waited to get hired on as holiday help at Macy's for 6 bucks an hour.

I took my last $20 out of the bank that day and went up to Gilbert's El Indio. Had two margaritas and two enchiladas. I had to move back home to Mom and Dad the next week. But Gilbert's was the best place to spend that last little bit that day. Best Cheap Mexican Food on the planet. It was really surreal standing there looking at this sign and I quickly grabbed my camera. I snapped this picture and then stared at the sign for like five minutes. I had parked in the same spot with red Toyota about 11 years ago having my last meal in LA.

Reality was a bitch back then... But I eventually grew to love her.

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