Monday, June 25, 2018

5:13 AM, Holocaust Time

Image result for doheny dr. beverly hills
Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills

1. 5:13 AM

- Hi. What are you doing now? Where are you?
- At Starbucks, as usual this time of morning.
- Anything new happening?
- The movie producer met here I told you about yesterday turns out was a real movie producer: produced and wrote the story for a big Hollywood movie in 1989 about the holocaust, expensive but not very good. Since he ran out of money he has been staying at the cult-like Jewish organization nearby. They literally worship money over there, believing god wants to give money to those he loves - especially to them, the rabbis. It wasn't long, staying there, before the rabbis gave the producer an ultimatum: 'You must ask 200 people for money for their organization or you have to leave!' He left! But he's been sneaking back in, leaving early in the morning and coming to Starbucks. This guy is 78 years old, living like that.
- Wow.
- He has been making a living, he says, in China, where he has a contract with the government which requires him to live there twenty-five percent of the year. He has projects he's working on. He is not quite coherent. He says he had a stroke a while back, mostly recovered brain function. He was born in Israel in 1941. I thought I'd see him here today; not yet. I've seen him most days the past month. He says he has daughters who live in the valley in LA, but they have lives and he doesn't want to bother them. He'd rather be an old age movie producer vagabond.
- That's so neat you meet all these interesting people.
- As our president would say, "SAD". He has no money at all, says he expects a deal to come through any day. He spent he says 3 million in the past few years. 
- Wow. Anything else?
- Yes. A few days ago riding the bike I just bought from Westwood to Beverly Hills the back derailleur literally fell to pieces. I stopped and picked them up. The next morning I wheeled the bike to the only bike shop left in the Beverly Hills area, the one not far from my old school, Fairfax High. They put the derailleur back together. Because the bike hadn't been used for a long time the parts had completely unscrewed. On the way to the bike shop, wheeling the bike on Beverly blvd, a little guy about thirty walked past, stopped ahead of me and said: "Old man! Your life is over! You're a dead man! Blackie! Nigger! Old Man! Dead Man! I stopped, and he walked right into my face (my red, not remotely dark face). I looked at him, he looked at me, then he turned and sprinted away to behind the Taco Bell restaurant. Was this crazy guy predicting my future of meeting the old movie producer? That takes us to date on stories.

2. Afternoon

- Or actually, no, it doesn't. Riding my bike down the sidewalk on Doheny I stopped, seeing a bent old man raking leaves in front of his house. He was the French communist survivor of the Dachau camp in his 90s I'd met and written about* a couple years ago. He didn't want my help. I was about to ride away when an old couple, younger than him by a decade but no more, stopped by to say hello to him. I say hello as well. I get into conversation with the woman, while her husband goes off home. Turns out the woman is a (Jewish) survivor of Auschwitz 'and many other camps'; she shows me the tattoo on her wrist. She hadn't known the bent old guy was also in the camps. She asks about me. I tell her my day was being scripted on a holocaust theme. I relate to her the story of the holocaust movie producer I'd met that morning. She says it's nice I was concerned about him, but God helps those who help themselves. She learned that in the camps. I respond independence is a virtue only when it allows people to help others by choice. The world we live in, I opine, is lacking in that virtue, people are independent only to be selfish. She disagrees, asks what I do. I say:

- I stay out.
- You do nothing? You have to work.
- Well...
- How don't you?
- You wouldn't understand.
- Oh. Then...
- Don't be offended. If I see a world of people acting in ways I have contempt for why should I perform the compromise of entering it? - I don't more than I have to. I stay out.
- But how?
- It's a mystery.
- Humph.

Her husband has come back looking for her. He reproaches her for leaving him alone so long, and I'm back on my bike. That's how the day's script ends.
Beverly Hills Jews