My friend Rik is explaining to me the project triangle. The tree points on the triangle are good, cheap and fast. Pick any two and the third is an impossibility. So if it’s good and fast, it can’t be cheap. Cheap and fast; won’t be good. He’s talking about the triangle in reference to independent movie making but I begin equating it to everything as I sit there on the ombre couch of our coffee shop; expensive health food, clothes from Forever 21, LA’s lack of feasible public transport, people who play at good.
There are certain simple things that make me feel wealthy. Paper towels. Hitting the perfect ratio of milk in black tea. An open lane on the 10. Satisfaction, the mirage of infinity. The cushy feel of new tennis socks excitably white, tight against the arch and ankle. In a passing vision there’s an origami rhinoceros hanging like a party lantern from a tree in a backyard within the nameless grid of Hollywood.
I meet Laura to hike Runyon and she wants me to look over her thank-you letter for a trip she’s taken with a museum. It’s too cheerleadery, too nicey nicey. Was it truly the most incredible journey you’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing? I love the emotion of dubious. A little self indulgent but so what. And anyway, people are suspicious of too nice, I say. It reeks of hidden rage. I do what my father unknowningly taught me; I deflect and tell her a story about someone else to equate. Take the pressure off. We puff up Runyon Canyon and check out all the beautiful men jogging by as we talk. As long as I live here I’ll forever be a sucker for the beard. In this town all that scruff is as refreshing as a country lake. I talk about the alpha dog. How the whiny pack animal is hated, demoted for the threat it implies the rest. Genuine isn’t fast or cheap but like recognizes like most of the time and circles are formed.
Near the top of the mountain the rage finally comes out. That Laura was on the verge of losing it on that trip she took, that everyone there upset her. She laughs when I say she should put that in the letter and I laugh too at how refreshing it might be for the museum chancellor to read about the real dealio. Even when it hurts. People like the truth, smell the truth. Despise the lowest common denominator, the weakest link. Good Company, project triangles explaining failed indie movies, men jogging by with scruffy, sweaty beards, being direct. I drop L off and as I wind down through Spaulding to Melrose to Oakwood, toward Beverly to buy something good and fast at Erewhon I glance briefly at the window and there it is: a large rhinoceros piñata hanging in a tree.