The Great Plotnik

Friday, November 28, 2014


Business schools around the country ought to study the guy at the Carnitas Michoacán stand inside Grand Central Market. Everybody who walks in off still-Latino Broadway today, on the day after Thanksgiving, is handed two hot tortillas filled with carnitas from an enormous pile of meat in front of the best businessman in town. After you find the lady at the spice kiosk back by the stairs where you can buy six different kinds of spice pastes for mole, and you buy some avocadoes and a few bags of white beans, you head back to the front and order more carnitas tacos for lunch. Students, when you have the best product give some of it away. You'll sell a bunch more.

BZ and Chris, and their friends Marissa and Joe, and Ducknik and me, that's twelve tacos, two horchatas and one jamaica. Green salsa on one, red on the other, a handful of onions and cilantro on both. Downtown is spiffying up for sure, but thankfully not too badly around here.

How old am I? My grandmother took me downtown on the Santa Monica Boulevard red car when I was around eight to buy me my first baseball mitt, right around the corner from where we're sitting. We got it at the Broadway, when there was only one Broadway and it, like every other department store in LA was right here, downtown. All the buses and streetcars came here. They still do.

The 44 ran on Beverly and the 35 was the Freeway Flyer out to the West Valley and the 81 ran down Ventura and Hollywood Boulevards and I can't remember so many simple words and people's names today but I can still tell you about the 44 Beverly.

Mom struggles with the ends of most thoughts. She starts off sentences but doesn't finish most of them. Names really trouble her. I've been "Ric," my older brother, a lot this trip. She seems to be frightened easily, but mostly I think she's scared to be alone. 

Driving home last night from Ricky's, she was squirming around a lot in the front passenger's seat. I asked her "do you need something, Mom?" and she said "I don't know." So I put my hand on hers and she immediately relaxed. We drove the 50 miles back home that way, my one hand on the wheel, the other on hers. She fell asleep and didn't wake up until we were almost all the way up the hill.

Today BZ and Chris came back to grandma's to say good-bye, they are driving back to Boulder tomorrow and we are driving home tomorrow too. 

Things seem well here. Mom's four caretaker ladies seem to have formed a little team. That can fall apart at the smell of an insult, but at least now everyone is smiling. So I am too.


At 3:39 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

lovely post

At 1:09 AM, Blogger J and J said...

Hugs! WE love you!


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