Miller Time
Near Miss
By Grady Miller
Sep 30, 2007 - 2:13:42 PM

The time has come to pack my suitcases, cancel my utilities, fill out a forwarding address card for the post office, rent a U-Haul truck, and move far from the bustling hub of civilization, which by my reckoning is the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax, but before I go let me rhapsodize about a few things I am going to miss about West Hollywood.


I am going to miss the 323 area code, and my 310 cell phone code, and the steep driveway entrances just off the Sunset strip, made an era of high-riding roadsters with running boards, that today scrape the bottom of my car with a horrifying sound of metal on cement.  I'm going to miss Faye Dunaway sightings and, for that matter, hearings, like the time she was on speaker-phone in Tashman's Hardware, chewing out somebody for not delivering something they should have or for delivering something they shouldn't have, and all around the tireless fever of condo constructing, casting new shade and creating canyons of cement and glass and robbing the breathtaking view of last year's condo. 

I am going to miss Officer Davis, the traffic cop who issues citations as an excuse for improving people's lives — you should be so lucky to get a ticket from him.  Rodney Bingenheimer tooling around town in the rumbling, gas-guzzling bright metallic blue '67 GTO; the old Russian men smoking and playing chess in Plummer Park; the actors in the workshop practicing scenes on the sidewalk with a gusto that would please Stanislavski.

I am going to miss the tree-lined streets and the deep green grass, and miss the sensuous smell of night-blooming jasmine drifting in the warm air of Spring nights, I am going to miss the convergence of medical marijuana outlets just around the corner, the kosher section in the 7-11, and all those guys who came to the Boulevard and the Sunset Strip to get lucky on Saturday night, and got community service instead, and they end up donning poppy-orange vests as they push a broom and pick up trash from the gutter.  

I am going to miss seeing Yeran, the shoe repair man, as he strolls around the block two times every morning before opening up his shop.  I am going to miss vomit on my doorstep after a rousing weekend.  I am going to miss the colloquies with Rona, the lady who does her laundry every Monday morning; in her survives both neighborliness and the true spirit of the 1960s, in all its freshness and innocence.  I am going to miss the fearless sparrows in the east patio of Farmers Market that swoop down with the chutzpah of Chihuahuas to nibble every crumb of doughnut, impervious to human presence; the long lines at the cash register of the Odessa Market where people have plenty of time while they wait to strike up a conversation or do their taxes.  I will miss the skilful hands of Lee the barber, the same hands that used to cut Billy Wilder's hair.  All the wild life seething skin-deep below the city's manicured, painted, polished, gleaming, hosed-down surfaces I will miss:  the feral squirrels that attacked all the plastic Easter eggs and made the children cry; the coyotes that descend from the hills and prowl the streets before daybreak and, on occasion, have a poodle for an hors d'oeuvre. 

Too, I will miss dozens of people whose names and professions I never learned and who yet are indispensable threads in the warm, crazy fabric of life.  Goodbye, West Hollywood, au revoir!

All this I'm going to miss as I pull up stakes and head far, far away to a new life slightly east of La Brea, near Fountain and Cahuenga.

Grady Miller will be appearing and signing books at the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday, September 30, from 12 to 2 p.m.

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