Gonna Uber to the Lotus Festival tonight to stump around on a cane in a crowd. Maybe I’ll trip over someone’s yappy little dog. Goal is the fireworks. Asians have the grooviest loudest gnarliest fireworks shows. Awesome echoing acoustics on the lake, too, loud as fuck twice and so low you can hear the cinders sizzling in the water. Now that’s groovy. Maybe I’ll find a bench or wall to sit on and trip people with my cane in the dark. Just an idea.
OK, I won’t.
I love the Lotus Festival. It’s my favorite thing at beautiful (really, it is) Echo Park lake all year, at least since the splendid annual Cuban Festival disappeared in a miasma of logistical despair. By the way, I’m really big at these Asian festivals. Not famous, just big. Huge. Looming. Especially in the Filipino section where I am two Filipinos high and they mill around me and make insulting comments. I impress them with all the bad words I know in Tagalog. It’s a very healthy relationship.
So the landlady, a few weeks ago, said how about we switch this ancient stove of yours (from the 1980’s) for a newer one sitting in the garage. Gnarly beast, a beautiful black (clashes dreadfully with the white tea kettle) and burners that would shatter your toes should you decide to drop one. Hip electronic controls, big billowing blue flames, it was obviously state of the art a decade ago. Certainly the newest stove we have ever had. We’ve always lived in ancient East Hollywood or Silverlake places, funky cool and archaic, with nearly but not quite antique appliances and the kind of kitchen cupboards and doorknobs you see in 1930’s movies. I like to pretend that Carole Lombard opened my closet door and giggled. One place even had a Murphy bed that kept the neighbors awake all night. We have a new fridge, tho’, the old one died and none of my desperate YouTube inspired repairs worked. Had to buy the damn thing. It’s white and clashes dreadfully with the stove but the freezer is so cold our ice trays have shattered in my big dumb gorilla hands. Only three feet from the ice age hell of the freezer is the oven. This oven is hot. Incredibly hot. I took out some leftover pizza from the freezer and the slices were hard as rocks, like carefully painted concrete models of pizza. I put them in a pan, frozen solid. Turned on the oven. Slipped them in. Twenty minutes later I smelled the acrid bouquet of cindered pizza dough. Pulled open the oven and there were two slices of pizza, hot as hell, beautifully blackened. Now, our last oven would have taken an hour to take pizza from absolute zero to a zillion degrees. Maybe an hour and a half. This took fifteen minutes. I had no idea the goddamn thing was nuclear. We ate the pizza anyway. I like burned stuff. As I singed my fingers on the plate that had turned molten from the pizza sitting on it I looked at the latest junk mail from the Neptune Society. For a few grand they’ll burn my corpse to a crisp, much like this pizza, then pour the ashes in an urn and pay for a pedal boat on Echo Park lake for you all to scatter me about during the Lotus Festival fireworks. Five thousand bucks. I have to pay that, not you, and I won’t even be there in corporeal form. I don’t mind paying for the party, but five grand is a lot of dough. Dough. I looked at it on the plate before me, thoroughly cremated. Our oven is certainly hot as Hades, hot as anything the Neptune Society has. We have lots of vases, too, all kinds, some decidedly urn-like. And think of how much beer you can get with five thousand bucks. That is a beer run. So the hell with the Neptune Society. I mean for five thousand bucks I can donate my body to the Mars Society and Elon Musk will name the first Martian shopping mall after me. And then there’s the Uranus Society, but damn if I can think of a joke.