Sometimes I get high and walk around Los Angeles

Marijuana.com

In Spaulding Gray’s one-person show and film Monster in a Box, the monster is a novel manuscript and it sits beside him on stage. A huge problem as prop. Often I’ve thought of the 20th-century storytelling great as I’ve vaped, smoked and munched on the streets of downtown Los Angeles.  My life is that of a pedestrian in an intensely auto-focused town. Nearly as much as it’s about being consumed by writing drafts, Monster in a Box is about Gray arriving in Los Angeles, fresh out of Manhattan, aiming to tell stories about local transit on his day gig and work on the novel at night. Early in Gray’s L.A. trip he’s riding with his assistant—searching for Angelenos to interview—when he realizes his driver suffers from a distinctly local affliction. “Nothing under thirty-five miles per hour registers on her retinas,” he said during the mid-nineties UCLA gig I caughtme. Unless you lived in a village or a city like New York or San Francisco you didn’t think this way. Never mind living in New York, I hardly yet knew Los Angeles. My downtown neighborhood is in commercials and movies a lot. It’s visual shorthand for the edgy part of town. A flavor in the American mind, like The Fast and Furious. And I am in these streets. Throughout the pandemic, my thing was to spark one before dawn and watch the sun come up amid murals and 100-year-old industrial structures. Skid Row and general L.A. shenanigans are in range enough that my stoned ass is not trying to survive 35 MPH POV.  Practically, I gave up owning wheels in 2003. In fits and spurts, I’ve since owned a car and had girlfriends with cars, but I’ve not much invested in them. In 2021 there are apps for when I need…

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