* Since we live on a spherical planet and not flat earth, I am practicing substituting the words, "out" and "in" for the words "up" and "down." There are no right angles in nature, nor can there be one on a spherical planet. This practice is being done to align perception more accurately with Universe. It will also show in certain words written in the post and initially sound awkward, then gradually make more sense.*
Sleeping last night was awkward and fitful. I awoke twice.....the first time with a start......the second right before the alarm went off at 5:30AM. The state I came out felt strange. As if I had been dreaming, but with no actual visuals. I had been someplace but with no references of where. The only thing I felt was like I had been under some sort of attack on some other level.
It was raining outside when I woke. Since it was close to when the alarm was to go off, I got out, put on some clothes and went out to put the bra on the Jeep. Within 20 minutes, I was showered, dressed, bundled out and ready to go. I started the Jeep to get it warm, went back in and made a liquid mixture of raw eggs and milk for my breakfast. Back down out onto the street, into the Jeep and off into the rain I go.
I stop at the corner gas station on Pico to gas out. Then I proceed down Pico to Crenshaw south to the 10 FWY. After checking both ways, I run my first red light of the morning, feeling that they are irrelevant at this time of day. I roll onto the 10 FWY in the rain. The traffic is mild, the sky is still dark. As I drive towards downtown, I am a bit grumpy to be driving in the rain. I think of the working on the farm in all sorts of weather. How I was dressed, how wet I got. I had loved getting my hair wet with rain as it would always feel so soft after the follicles dried out. I would look out to the shy sky as the rain fell during the evening. My job was to let the cows into the barn to be milked. One sister would milk 6 cows. These cows would be color coded orange on their spine and haunches. The other sister would milk another six. These would be color coded green. When the green sister finished 2 cows and let them out, I would let in 2 green. When orange sister let one out, I would let in one orange
And so on with 120-150 cows over 2-1/2 Hrs.
So there was a lot of waiting. On the rainy evenings, I would watch the rainfall. I could see this because of the light that was on and attached to the side of the barn, flooding the corral in a way where I could see most of the animals. The sheets of rain fell into the light evening. I could see how the rain seem to curve over the side of the barn on its way to blend with the thick, wet, runny cowshit. I could gage the intensity of the rain, how much was falling, when it started and stopped. It's nice to engage light this way. To use it as a measuring tool. I don't know why I did this. i just knew that I liked the rain.
"This isn't so bad, " I realize as I drive towards downtown Los Angeles.
I pull off the 10 onto Alameda. I run my second light at the intersection of Washington and Alameda. As I arrive at the HUB, the sky is beginning to lighten a bit. The rain has eased in intensity. I open the lock, slide the metal gate open and pull the Jeep in behind the storage unit/office. After covering it,
I go to the lock on the door and using my cel phone as a light source, I open the second lock, unlatch the door, and swing it open.
I don't waste any time. I get the keys to the E-350, start it to get it warmed out, and begin loading the market set-out. Cash box grabbed, paperwork and load sheet double checked, mileage noted, cab loaded and off to Hollywood I go.
It's still raining when I arrive. As I pull onto Ivar, I wait for the red Datsun pickup to move out of the way. I pull into the market space I inhabit, saying "Hi" to the man from Finley Farms whose name I still don't know. I decide to set out minimally, just canopy and table. No product on the table.....I want to set out fast and take in fast.
Once this is done, I go in back and begin to double check the load sheet. There are 3 extra quarts of whole as usual, 10 extra pints of cream and 1 extra quart of kefir. The rain increase outside. I decide that if anyone comes into the stand and bitches, I'm going to ask them to move along. We're here in the rain, 52 weeks out of the year. In a way this is the continuation of a long ongoing natural process.......another example of how humanity can be advantaged and how nature has designed us to succeed. If you can't respect that move on.......because right now I am here and I am wet.
I get out of E-350. Jack Bezian of Bezian Bakery has driven in and sits in his idling van. He always stops by on his way in. "Your wipers are on!' As always his eyes are twinkling. He is comfortable with his cheshire-cat grin and raised eyebrows.
'Don't mess with me today." I counter, doubling the ante as I double my smile intensity back at him.
He backs his head away in a semi-dramatic fashion. We talk a little more. He gives me an update on people who are interested in his workshop and how business was the day before in Pasadena. We joke around a little more.
"Your wipers are on." He triples the ante.....as I haven't turned them off. This will be his ongoing punch line throughout the day. He knows I am easy.
The set-out is done. It is 7:30AM. I look across and see unnamed Finley setting up his stand. Sarah is with him. Sarah is hot....and she can lay a mean guilt trip when she wants to. She's about 5'4, wears glasses, is whippet thin, pale skinned, long brown pig-tailed hair. She is green and wet today, commando capped, zipped-out hooded sweat shirt, green pants and shoes. She has a Middle Eastern look to her, prominent forehead, almond shaped green eyes. She reminds me of a cat, feline in movement, quick and purposeful. Her moods seem the same. She doesn't mince words, doesn't play games and she can give as quickly as she gets. It makes me wonder if she is the only and youngest girl in a family of five brothers, or if she cut her teeth growing out on the east coast. Her shyness is palpable, along with some mysterious shame. I want to cat and mouse more with her. I also love the look of her body and can't wait for spring to roll into play.
There needs to be a mood change here. I began to whistle " Singing in the Rain" as I walk towards the intersection. Jack is there talking with the everlovin' compatriota of Pan, the Goat Lady. Jack seals the wiper punchline and makes it official. The three of us banter. What our farms do to make end runs around city and county codes. Jack always has suggestions for this. Today, his suggestions are on target. Today, I tell Goat Lady how the county will not allow OPDC to sell Kombucha as the tea is not grown on the property. Jack's response.......
"Plant one tea tree on the property. That will solve your problem. Tell Mark. Or depending on the tea that you use, if it has anti-oxident qualities, that will put in a different, or usable category."
I am both exasperated and awed by Jack.
I whistle myself back to the stand. It is still raining. I watch the trumpet man drive through in his BMW. "Damn," I think, "He's here today. He doesn't have to show up." It gets me to thinking.
I look across the way at Finley Farms. No-Name has finished unloading and Sarah has organized the tables in her own purposeful and aesthetic way. I see an abundance of vegetables and colors. They have picked this last night and have driven here in the rain. Their product, unlike mine, is quickly perishable. And it is out there, here now, unhoarded, full of spirit and life on its way to feed energy...to make energy.... to transmit energy. Sarah, No-Name Finley, Goat Lady, Jack Bezian, Trumpet Man, me.....we are here now. In this rain. The snapshot thought takes place. This market, rain or shine, requires cooperation and collaboration. It does so with risk in the face of many unseen forces, one being ignorance, neglect and negation of one's own divinity and spirit.
I vow to thank everyone who comes to the milk stand for coming out today.
The first customer's come. Man and Woman, probably lovers. Professional looking, late 30's. He is wearing a cap. She's got bounce. Wide open eyes with brown bouncy curls. I am still whistling " Singing in the Rain" as they walk in. She has some questions as to which is healthier......Skim or Whole?
"Well, farmers sell skim milk because a market has been made for skim milk it that has been pretty well been found out to be false. If they had their way, they would feed it to the pigs."
They laugh. 'We'll take the whole. You steered us right last week."
I go to get their quart, still whistling. I have a thought on return.
"You know, "Singing in the Rain" takes place in Hollywood. What street do you think Gene Kelly is walking down when he is singing that song. Do you think it's Gower or Melrose?"
They laugh and smile. They throw out some ideas as I bag the quart. As they walk away, I hear him begin to sing, " I'm sinnnnnnging in the rain........"
It continues to rain evenly....not too heavy, not too light. Business is slow and I want to drink something warm. I go to Ruddy Cheeked Coffee Man to have him make me a hot chocolate. I am picky. I bring my own milk. He tells me it will be ready in a while. I go back to the stand, stopping to talk to the Jersey Hill girls, one wearing a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap circa 1959. Our conversation is brief. I make a note to drop off some product to them on my way back through.
I help Morning Gal Kathy. She want two half gallons and a cream. Tall Man from DeKalb, Illinois gets his pint of cream. After ordering in French in response to my query, "Ques qui sei?" Michael tells me his story of traveling to Paris to study and learning French in the process.
I go back to get my hot chocolate. I drop off 1/2 pint of butter to the Jersey Hill girls and they give me 1/2 lb of there. I have Ruddy halve the amount of chocolate he puts in but concede to having whipped cream foamed on top. As I walk by Jersey Hill, re-whistling SITR, Cardinal Girl responds, "
"Hey, your the second person I heard whistling that today."
Customers come in slowly. I talk with Stacy. She too feels like she was attacked in dreamtime last night. Leo shows out at the same time, Mark the Healer walks in. It's the second week in a row they have arrived at the same time. I introduce them and we begin to talk about how everything is in movement. Mark adds how, at the equator, you would be moving 7,000 miles an hour, while the four of us right now are moving at the speed of a 747. I chime in with my experience with Mike the night before on how, as we worked on the business plan, I said out loud, 'Everything is happening and this seems so static." We all conclude that everything is in movement and politicians stand still.
Leo and Stacy leave. Mark and I continue to discuss politics...and the realization I had in Ireland as to how the language of politics never changes as the politician is invested in his position. Brooke theorizes the shock that would happen if all incumbents were voted out during an election cycle. I mention Hiram Johnson, Governor of California in the early 20th C. and the beauty of the initiative and recall process he instituted when he was in office. The conversation turns to basic fundamentals, Bucky Fuller and how animals are the most efficient producers of proteins.
Jack comes by. "Hey, your wipers are on!" he cackles. The market is still slow. I cross the road and go to flirt with Sarah. I notice that in the rows of fractal cauliflowers, one is turned outside-in.
"Come on, Sarah. Get it right. This one is showing it's butt."
She knowingly grabs the bait.
"That's okay. I like butts!" She smiles in a haughty and naughty way.
"You know, I have a female friend who watches football games only for that reason."
"Aren't they heavily padded?"
"Doesn't matter. They're round and firm and she likes to watch."
I see her blush.
The rains begin to slow. More people begin to show. Miele come with her mother, Dorothy and her daughter Leni. She is wearing a tan fedora and Leni is all in pink. Dorothy is quiet and glowing. I give her a long, warm hug. Ingevar stops by and gives me a recipe on how to cook butternut squash with butter and honey. Weston and I talk about the differences between the World Cup, March Madness and all other organized sports. Swami O'Bryan goes off into a fractal bliss rant with the Unknown Brown Fedora'd Woman. I ring the Portuguese sheep's bell and moo. The Hispanic Nut Boys down the way bang their scoops and moo in reply. David and Kim come to pick out their 2 1/2 gallons. Tina comes by and offers to work for free. Diana seems pained. The 2 gay boys visiting from Manhattan want to know more about cowshare programs. I talk with the older Russian woman who always orders 2 colostrums about how a street is essentially designed for traffic and parking. Having a farmer's market on the street increases its use, value and efficiency. She smiles and agrees. It's nice when others' have understanding. Judy and John and I talk about who are the pessimists in the raw milk world and who are the optimists. I share my experiences with Mark. We agree that optimism is a force multiplier.
"But we also have to be vigilant." adds Judy.
"I agree....." I respond, "and vigilance can be fun!"
We all laugh.
Dagmar shouts her hello's as she sails past. Teresa stops by. She is an older woman, oddly attractive. She kind of talks like a granny with a smoothed-out southern accent - Texas like. Long straight hair, equal parts grey and blonde. About 5'2, nice body, independent spirit, former businesswoman now studying energy healing. She invited me to an event a couple of years back that showed how her teacher worked. I like her because she seems self-made, she is nobody's fool and knows how to lean into a man's energy. She comes at the right time. The stresses are building. She is bright and beaming. I step in front of the counter to give a hug that is well received. The stress dissipates. I continue a conversation with someone else while she comes around the other side of the counter. The conversation has a humorous bend to it. I find that our arms are intertwined. At the moment I crack a joke, I find myself lightly squeezing her ass, lefthand curved downward over her right cheek. It feels good, in a flow and well received. We catch out a bit once the opposite person leaves and make plans for a lunch or dinner. She gives me her e-mail and goes on her way.
I am asked where to purchase goat cream. A tall man shares how well his kefir grains are working. I asked here he got them from. He replies,"a Chinese woman in Hollywood." We agree that the coolness factor of kefir grains are very high, because they are a perfect example of regeneration and abundance......they continue to grow and you have to give them away. Dave the Caricaturist and I have a discussion about how much self-pity is prevalent in art. Newsom and I discuss voting and how I refuse to tell adults whether I am going to vote and who for. This information is only reserved for children who ask as i feel they are the only ones who deserve to know.
They like the theory.
Biker Scott shows. He hangs out. The market is now in its last hour. He likes being on and is passionate about his feeling about food. The milkstand seems to attract these types. Another man joins him and they are soon engrossed in conversation. At some point, Scot, talking with us, uses the word "up." I take up the shamanic duel and go into the " On a spherical planet, there is no such thing as "up" or "down" When I am through, I see Scot turn away and here the other man say, "That's a little to far out there for us."
In retrospect, that makes me insanely happy.
Ed joins the group. The "Take-In Boys" have arrived but today. I don't have much to give away.
I see the Tall, Lumbering Cyclist coming in. He frightens me. We met on my first sailing here at the market. He is tall, toothless, wears coke bottle glasses and sometimes talks with a stutter. He's strange in that I really can't tell what his age is. I spent time talking with him in the beginning until I noticed that his questioning was more of an attack and a positioning. I began to feel trapped by the empathy/pity I felt and soon realized that he reminded me of a repressed priest. I soon asked him to leave.
He showed again three weeks ago. I am curt with him. Now he rides out. I go into the back of the van to getaway from him. As I work inside, I ask Scot and Ed to let me know if there are any customers there. Every now and then, I get out to help someone but stay out of his direct line of vision. He is still standing there, by his bike, standing like the Planters peanut man.
At a point, I go out to the table. He calls me "Kiddo" Asks me, "What's new?"
I keep my answers short and direct. Finishing them in ways where they can't be added onto or taken by response in any direction. He in his own way tries to make a date for next week by asking me if I have any brochures for a friend of his. I tell him I've ordered them but do not know when they will arrive. He asks me about sheep's milk. I tell him no, but there is a woman who sells goats milk at the intersection. I grab an empty cup for impetus to leave the stand. I leave and walk 50 feet to throw it away. As I turn around to go back I see that he has gotten the message and is pedaling away on his bike.
The market comes to an end. Ed helps takes the set-out in. As we compress the canopy, I hear Sarah shout,
"Where's my milk?"
"You got to come and get it honey!"
She sidles across the street, Now she looks gangly, awkward and unsure of her body. Her energy seems unsure, wanting, trying to interpret and understand the messages her body is sending to her. She picks out 2 1/2 gallons, 1 quart kefir, 1 salted cheese, 1 butter.
Everything is loaded. I am in the cab doing the numbers. Jack shows again.
'You're wipers are on!" He gives me a paper with new e-mails. As we talk about his workshop, Rico the Actor walks by. He talks a mile a minutes with his thoughts shifting gears like a rookie driver driving a Peterbilt 18-wheeler. The conversation veer to westerns, specifically the film, Tombstone.
We both talk about the cast and the over-the-top fey portrayal of Doc Holliday by Val Kilmer. Soon Jack leaves. Rico likes being on stage, but he is processing too much information and way too many impersonations are coming out way too fast. It's also the end of the market. My tolerance for being an audience is low. I find myself counting the money as he talks. He gets the message and leaves.
I turn the load sheet in. Hop in the E-350 and head toward Sunset/Sunclipse Blvd. I see Sarah waiting for her ride, belongings and market item on the sidewalk beside her.
"You need a ride?"
"No, someone's coming!"
I see her nod.
"All right, honey. See you next week!"