Conscience prevails, and I dutifully mount my stairs. Having endured five years of UCLA’s bureaucracy helps me get through the next three hours of phone calls. (The Police Department, cell-phone providers and insurance agents are much more generous than bus drivers when doling out transfers.) The first priority is to file a police report at the Wilcox station — in person. Back to the bus. I bind my matted hair, get my paperwork together, then head up the hill to Sunset. I’m already heavy-lidded and hunchbacked from a sleepless night and monthly cramps that could cripple a prizefighter.
With the pain and exhaustion trying my endurance and the heat trying my day-old application of Secret Solid, I stop five times in as many blocks to rest. As I wait — and wait — for a bus, I calculate formulas from high school: the probability of the bus coming as I dash to Pink Dot for some Midol and a soda is directly proportional to my pain and inversely proportional to the number of buses running today. After another spasm, my patience hits absolute zero, and all other factors are instantly irrelevant. I run through six lanes of traffic and a cookie aisle, right to the root beer. As I exit Pink Dot, another brilliant theory emerges: Fuck the bus.
I’m goin’ home. If I can’t file a simple police report with the three phones, two computers and fax machine at my pad . . . Suddenly, my thoughts are interrupted by the charming detour in the Fountainview foliage, at which point you joined me. Strange as it is, last night’s supper isn’t the only thing I leave in those bushes. As I stroll home, clammy and sick, my lips curl in another smile — not of malice, but of genuine amusement. What was once an uncontrollable martyrous saga has become an absurd comedy of errors, starring me.
Tomorrow I get my case number from the police. My car and cell phone are insured — I’ll get them back or get new ones at no charge. I really don’t care which. I’d actually like a purple Toyota instead. What is that cliché? When the dealer sells you a lemon . . . get a warranty, take the money to 7-Eleven and buy 200 cases of lemonade. Something like that. It could be a month before I see any insurance money and a cold day in hell before I see that Honda again. I won’t miss it. But I am pining away for the 50 or so tapes that were stashed under the passenger seat — my Sugarplastic/Negro Problem/Sky Cries Mary mix, my medley of Rachmaninoff and Mozart, all my high-bias babies, gone. I’ll be re-recording those till New Year’s.