Asphalt shimmers in blurry waves.Â Palm trees sag in listless surrender without the slightest hint of a breeze to rustle the fronds.Â A tumbleweed rolls slowly through the intersection of Rodeo and Wilshire.Â Beautiful people hide behind tinted windows in carefully controlled air conditioned environments.Â Beverly Hills panhandlers beg for bottled water.
In one year, weâ€™ve lived through 40 days and 40 nights of flooding rain, hailstorms, tornados, mudslides, earthquakes and fires.Â The forces of nature have delivered a hellish blow of Biblical proportions.Â But all this was just a warm-up for the drought that followed.Â The butt cheeks of El NiÃ±o are hitting L.A. with a vengeance.
Payback is a bitch.
I should be used to the blistering heat that currently engulfs Hollywood like a giant sauna.Â I am, after all, a child of the South where in the summertime, the living is easy…fish are jumping and the cotton is high.Â I grew up in the Mississippi delta where the humidity and temperature made a daily race to 100 in a land so flat you could watch your dog run away for three days.
Iâ€™m now a hot child in the city.Â And itâ€™s different.Â Iâ€™ve spent four lonely days in a brown L.A. haze mired in a funk so low it makes whale shit look like stardust.Â Iâ€™ve been down so long it looks like up to me.
From the first of August through the middle of September, Los Angeles is not the place to be.Â Everyone with money leaves for the beaches.Â Those with none go home and abuse their families. Driving on the freeway is like being in the ring with Mike Tyson.Â Everybodyâ€™s pissed off.
I take to prowling the sidewalks at midnight, searching for anything to pull me out of my manic depression.Â On Monday I fell into a bar in Boysâ€™ Town.Â The bartender gave me a raised eyebrow and said, â€œDo you like PiÃ±a Colodas?Â Making love in the rain?â€Â It did not cheer me up
I met my old lover on the street last night, she seemed so glad to see me I just grinned.
That was okay until she got so emotional, baby.Â It didnâ€™t take long to remember why she was my old girlfriend.
I continued my aimless wandering into the mystic.Â I was looking for something, but I had no clue what.Â Friends donâ€™t help.Â Emotions are funny.Â When youâ€™re in a great mood nobody is telling to get sad.Â But fall into a little depression and it seems like every third person has a special formula for making you happy.
Sad songs say so much.
When Iâ€™m sad, I want to wallow in it.Â Donâ€™t try and make me smile.Â And I donâ€™t need the worry warts.Â Donâ€™t worry, baby.Â Knock on wood.Â I will survive.
But even I realized that I was over the edge.Â This was the worst case of the droops ever.Â My new name was â€œMr. I Donâ€™t Give A Damn.â€Â It got so bad that my kids put themselves up for adoption.Â I had to find a way for Gerry to get his groove back.Â Nothing from nothing leaves nothing, but youâ€™ve got to have something if you want to be with me.
I decided to throw myself into the breach.Â I would walk up to the edge of the cliff, stare down at the rocks below and determine my fate with a split-second decision.Â I would step on Supermanâ€™s cape, spit into the wind, mess around with the old Lone Ranger and slap the hell out of Jim.
I walked alone into the depths of South Central at midnight on Saturday wearing black, red and blue.Â This would be the test.Â I would stare death in the eye.
It was too hot…to hot, baby.Â The gangsters wouldnâ€™t even come out of their houses.
I went back to my house and threw myself face down in the pool, breathing through the gills behind my ears.Â I was doomed to live in a endless funk forever.Â Â When in front of the house, there came such a clatter, I jumped out of the pool to see what was the matter.
I was struck mute. There at my front door was an angel.Â She was dressed in a crazy outfit that I vaguely recognized.Â It wasnâ€™t Judy In Disguise With Glasses, but it was close.
â€œHello, I love you wonâ€™t you tell me your name?â€Â Â I sang.
â€œPlease donâ€™t sing,â€ she said.Â â€œYou canâ€™t carry a tune,â€Â She was right.
â€œIâ€™m the 600 million dollar woman,â€ she continued, â€œand Iâ€™m selling grooves.â€
â€œDonâ€™t you mean the 6 million dollar woman?â€Â I asked.
â€œAdjusted for inflation,â€ she smiled.
â€œWhere do I blow you up?”Â I came back.
â€œYouâ€™re funny,â€ she said, â€œBut you have a sad face.â€
â€œIâ€™ve lost my groove,â€ I frowned.
â€œThatâ€™s terrible,â€ she moaned.
â€œIâ€™ve been looking everywhere for it, but I canâ€™t seem to find it.â€
She shook her hair back.Â â€œThatâ€™s silly and a waste of time.Â If you canâ€™t find your groove, just buy another one.â€
â€œGrooves are expensive,â€ I told her.Â â€œEspecially in Los Angeles.â€
â€œThatâ€™s why Iâ€™m here,â€ she said.Â â€œHollywood isnâ€™t the same without you.Â Iâ€™ve been sent to loan you the money.â€
â€œHow will I pay you back?â€Â I asked.
â€œIâ€™ll tell you the next time youâ€™ve got writerâ€™s block.Â Itâ€™ll fill up another column.â€
â€œWrite on,â€ I grinned.
And thatâ€™s how I got my groove back.