Coachella Preview Part Two - 2014 Suggested Artist List

(part one here)

First, a few disclaimers:

1) My list is heavy on British bands and EDM because those are my great loves, and scant on rap and hop hop, because those are not. I do try to catch some here and there when I can, just to round things out...but ultimately I want to see what I want to see, and I've learned the hard way that if you skip a show you've been anticipating for WHATEVER REASON, you will regret it. Listen to your heart, not what other people think you should see. This is your once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Obviously, no two schedules are ever going to be the same. (Though if yours is identical, and you live in LA, we should probably be concert buddies.) I'm only sharing mine since I know how overwhelming it is to try and preview the entire lineup. Chances are if you like some of the stuff on my list that's more well known, you'll like some of the lesser known stuff, too. I'm happy to share what I've discovered. 

2. I've categorized by style/sound, not days, mostly because I just really wanted an excuse to use the word "Festrogen" (which apparently I didn't even coin, damn it).

3. When the set times are released, this list will of course be shot to hell. But for now, this is what I got.


Big Time 

Muse 
Pet Shop Boys
Beck

No explanation necessary for these, right? Never seen any of them, out of my mind excited for Muse. One of my few fest regrets is missing Radiohead at Bonnaroo '12, because my companion and I were waaaaay out of it, busy trolling the empty camping area looking for even more, uh, let's call it out-of-it fuel. At the time we were like, Wat the heck, whar is erry1?? 

Well, everyone was gone because EVERYONE WAS AT RADIOHEAD. LOL. Never again will I miss a headliner because I overdid my party favors. Nor should you. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE. 

Beck just released a new album, so I anticipate he'll play some from that, as well as faves I've been loving for years. It's very mellow and pretty (check out Heart Is A Drum - here's a probably illegal, probably'll get yanked YouTube vid if you don't have Spotify). 

And finally, Pet Shop Boys. Fucking Pet Shop Boys. You can't miss Pet Shop Boys. Classic. Essential. I mean, come on

Brits and Aussies

Bastille
Empire of The Sun
Jagwar Ma
Temples
Beady Eye
The 1975
Frank Turner

So, so much good stuff here, and with the exception of biggies Bastille and Empire of The Sun (who put on a MIND-BLOWING show), all new to me. 

Jagwar Ma - one of my most exciting discoveries. I LOVE their sound (best comparison is probably Stone Roses). I've had What Love on loop for weeks. 

Temples - Terence compared their sound to The Mamas and The Papas, and I concur (check out Shelter Song). Kinda psychedelic and Woodstock-y sounding; I think this will be a fun set. I for one will be going legit Aquarius, flailing my arms like a star child, or a sun child, or a fucking Mars child, I don't know. But it's gonna be good. 

Beady Eye - Do you like Oasis? This is what Liam did when he'd had enough of Noah. I'm not over the moon over it, but I wanna lay eyes on the guy at least. Respect. 

The 1975 - pop-y and upbeat but still angsty and very British sounding. Chocolate's gotten good play, but I really like The City

Frank Turner - Every festival, there'll be one band/singer that I come across that blows me away, and whom I'll be amazed (embarrassed, really) I didn't know of before. If I'm lucky, I discover them before the fest (e.g., The Vaccines, Bonnaroo '13), though sometimes I do not know the awesomeness until it's on a stage right in front of me (e.g., The Walkmen, OL '12). 

Frank Turner is my Coachella '14 whoa discovery. Posts could be written. I mean, this guy. He doesn't write songs. He writes anthems. Love, loss, identity, addiction, growing up, growing old, and everything in between. Insta-love. I only hope I can manage to memorize a few of his songs beforehand, because that is going to be one incredible singalong. I predict some serious fans at that show. Oh, and fun fact: he went to school with Prince William. Shoulda shopped around a bit more, Kate.



Dudes with MacBooks 

Duck Sauce
Gareth Emery
Michael Brun
Zedd
Fatboy Slim
Skrillex
GTA
TJR
Guy Gerber
Dillon Francis
Calvin Harris
Alesso
Classixx

Not gonna itemize these, but in my final Coachella post I'll list my favorite tracks from each. I kinda think last year's EDM lineup was better, but I'm not complaining. Got my Dillon and my Calvin, never seen Zedd (who's coming off a grammy win!), and Gareth Emery and Alesso? No, not complaining at all. Particularly think Classixx is gonna be a blast, and hearing Barba Steisand live will just be too. much. fun. 

You Know 'Em, You Love 'Em

Grouplove
Foster The People
MGMT
Capital Cities
The Naked and the Famous
Bombay Bicyle Club
STRFKR

I caught Foster The People at Bonnaroo '12 (super fun), so if I have to give them up, I can. The Naked and the Famous and Grouplove are my only non-missables, but I'd really love to catch Bombay Bicycle Club, too.

Small But Worthy

Bear Hands
Saints of Valory

If you like Grouplove, give Bear Hands a listen. Saints of Valory is a little generic maybe, but in the way that I for one love. Totally up my musical alley. 

Festrogen

Kate Nash
Dum Dum Girls
CHVRCHES
Lana Del Rey

I didn't know Dum Dum Girls before. Mazzy Star meets Cranberries, almost?

Be High or Be In Love or Be Both

Tom Odell
City and Colour
Washed Out

I don't know if Tom Odell is going to blow up (and keep producing) in the way that some wunderkind singer/songwriters have. And I do think that his sound is pretty…constant, let's say? But I think his voice is incredibly sweet, and I'd love to see what he does to that piano in person. Plus it's always nice to sit and chill and cuddle for a few shows in the afternoon (which is when I'm guessing he'll be on). City and Colour is also great for that (saw him at Outside Lands '12). An excellent opportunity to just rest and gear up for the harder/faster stuff later. 

High, high hopes for Washed Out. Saw them at Outside Lands '12 and their sound was disastrously bad (I think due to the stage they were on?). Love, love, love them; they're actually one of my most-anticipated shows this time around. I won't miss them for anything, set times be damned! Fingers crossed for a reprieve from OL, and hoping against hope they'll be a night show, because mannnnn is this THE music to zone out to. If you don't know it, check out any track, seriously. Incredibly lush and layered and atmospheric gorgeousness. My fave: New Theory.

Why The Hell Not?

Caravan Palace

It's fun to have an interlude at some point - something totally different to break up the day. This is that. Crazy fun French circus music. Gonna break it down and get fuuuuuunky, yessir.

---

So that's it! Lots of notable exceptions on my list, I know. But I like what I like, and I don't like what I don't like. I have tried and tried to get into Arcade Fire, but they just do nothing for me. And I'm skipping Broken Bells since my Shins experience at Bonnaroo '12 absolutely could not be topped.

For my last post, I'm gonna embed my Spotify Best of Coachella '14 playlist, so if any of this stuff appeals to you, make sure you've got Spotify downloaded so you can check it out! It's free and amazing!

'Til then, rock on weirdos!


One of my favorite art installations from last year. On the back it says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." It was actually motorized and moved across the grounds, verrrrrry slowly. Considering my state of mind, I was hypnotized to say the least. 

deadbolt

The ocean tried to follow me home tonight. Did you notice? I didn't want to say anything, didn't want to distract you while you drove. But I wondered if you saw it in the rear view mirror, black and surging and foamy with hate. I guess I know what it wanted. I guess sometimes I want the same thing.

It kept up with us a good while. I could hear it, even though I didn't turn around. Flooding the highway, waves crashing and tumbling over one another in desperation to catch me once and for all. It must be tired of getting so close each time. It must wish I'd be more realistic.

But then you said something, I don't know what it was, but it was like that moment when a sail unfurls, snap! and the wind slams into it, and we picked up speed like a boat on the water, except this water we left behind, because all of a sudden we were flying. And that's how we got home.

I don't think it knows exactly where I live. I think I'm safe. But I'll deadbolt the door and check over my shoulder for the next few days, just to be sure. Chaucer will keep an eye out, too. He already knows to.

Anyway, that's why I was quiet tonight, in the car. The ocean tried to follow me home.

sort of kind of not really at all like a virgin

80s prom party this weekend, at The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, put on by Drink Eat Play (which is a company that only has 1/3 of its priorities in the correct order, if you ask me, because hello, one has to work up an appetite, amirite?). Second year going with this group of delinquents. Used the same alternate high schooler identities we made up last year, ate at the same restaurant beforehand, ordered the same drinks, made asses of ourselves on the same subway. Totally tubular traditions, basically.

If you're in LA, I can't recommend this event enough, and here's a video of last year's that will sell it far better than I could. People get into it. I guess it's strayed from being strictly formalwear to anything-80s-goes, really. Any 80s character (one guy came as the Karate Kid, complete with a shiner), any 80s look. The best outfit I saw was actually a girl in retro aerobics wear, layered up in leggings, leg warmers, a leotard and thong, and an amazing poofy-bang ponytail. Instead of dancing, she spent the whole time doing exaggerated side stretches and other hilarious aerobicise moves. Stole the whole show.

Last year I half-assed it with my costume, so this year I went big and replicated Madonna's 1984 VMA ensemble, sans veil, dirty blonde curls, and general sex appeal. I was actually able to pick up almost everything I needed cheaply in the fabric/fashion district, which is walking distance from where I live. $1 bracelets and necklaces, crazy cheap corset and bra, gloves and socks at Beverly Hills Hosiery (which, while it is run by a very lovely man and is stocked to the ceiling with fun costumes and accessories, is not exactly as glamorous as its name implies). For the BOY TOY belt I bought a premade $5 sash at a quinceanera shop, and found letter stickers at Moskatels (a craft supply store, also walking distance). The only thing I had to order was the skirt, which I got from Etsy. Any excuse to wear a big fluffy tulle skirt, I think, justifies its purchase. But I know with all the dumb and random stuff I do anyway, I'll find reasons to bust it out again.

Hooray for Diptic, which makes blogging pics as easy as tappity-tap-tap. Eighteen uploads? Gag me with a spoon. Two uploads? Bitchin'. 

I'm doing the weirdest, most awkward shit with my arms in these photos (I feel like an absolute tool putting my hands on my hips), since I didn't know how to show off my arm party other than by holding my wrists up, Wonder Woman style. Still, toolish. Very few photos of us actually in the crowd dancing, because by that time, we were a bit too tipsy to futz with cameras. But we got some decent shots before, after, and taking breaks up top on the venue roof. Oh and the stairs and subway grate pics were NOT my idea…but they're kinda fun. :)

Aaaaand that will conclude this episode of More Pics of Ellie Than Are in Her Goddamn Baby Book Plus A Few of Peeps That 95% of You Don't Know. Thank you for tuning in!

applesauce

A boy and a girl went apple picking one day, in an orchard not far from their home. They each carried an empty bushel to fill with the fruit of their choosing, and wore smiles befitting a sunny afternoon.

The boy made his selections with care, examining each for ripeness, for color and shine, before twisting, pulling, and placing it gently in his bin. He worked slowly, peering up through the branches in search of what would be worth the trouble to attain it. 

The girl, on the other hand, picked frequently and indiscriminately, with little regard to what she chose. Her basket was soon full, and bore evidence of a haphazard harvest in the form of bruises, wormholes, and sticky stems.

Despite having no room left, however, the girl wanted more. Seeing the boy's bin was still fairly empty, she took it and poured in half of what she'd gathered. The apples tumbled together roughly, and the boy watched silently as his own crop disappeared underneath that of the girl, who promptly turned back to the trees. 

"Don't worry," she laughed. "We're just making applesauce anyway."

They left the orchard a little while later, two bushels heavier than when they'd come. It wasn't until they were nearly home that the boy realized neither of them had a pot big enough to cook all the apples they had collected at once. If they were to keep them from rotting, they'd have to boil batch after batch after batch. 

The thought of all that work made the boy hungry, so he plucked an apple from the top of his haul to munch on. The load didn't seem to get any lighter, though.

serenade in b

And if they were to ask why I insist on posting videos of you playing everywhere I can, all over the goddamn internet, this is what I would say to them. I'd say, Well, I'm sure by now you've gathered that he's a really sweet and loving and fun guy, but what you might not realize is that Terence is blind.

Terence is blind, and doesn't see his own talent. He doesn't get it. And I'm not talking about just humbly demurring or shrugging it off, when I ask with disbelief, after hearing him play some pretty tune, Wait, you wrote that?? I'm talking about a serious and extremely frustrating-to-witness lack of self-confidence, from someone who doesn't recognize his own potential. 

So guess what? You can go ahead and keep thinking that the music you make is nothing special, you can keep finding excuses or reasons not to accept how immensely talented and creative you are, and you can keep ignoring the fact that you're fucking good at something that comes so easy to you. In the meantime, I'll be over here continuing to be your biggest fan, and getting the beautiful things you write heard by as many people as I, here in my tiny little corner of the blogosphere, possibly can. 

Deal with it.


the question game

A while back, an anonymous reader expressed happiness for me that I'd met Terence, and said she hoped I'd blog about what was different for me, with this relationship.

First? Thank you very much for caring, anonymous, curious person. I'm grateful and as always slightly amazed that anyone is interested in my dumb life. I've thought a lot about your question since, and when, how, and if I would answer it. I figured I'd wait until we'd been together six months and then take a stab at it. Well, the first week of March will mark six months - and it's Valentine's Day. So now seems like as good a time as any.

The thing is, it's really difficult to answer that question without it sounding, even implicitly, like comparison - of previous relationships, and previous partners. I've tried to, in my head, dozens of times. But it always ends up sounding like comparison. And I try really hard not to go there, for many reasons. But I've thought of another way to explain, if not what makes this relationship different from others, something that does make it special, I guess?

Every night as we're going to sleep, Terence and I play a game. We call it the question game, but it's technically more of a fill-in-the-blank game. We take turns completing two statements: 1) My favorite part of today was… and 2) Today I love you because… 

We can give up to three answers for the first question (because awesome days happen, and when they do, RTFO), but for the second question, the answer should be specific and relatively simple.

If we've spent time together that day, we both tend to name some moment when we were with one another, though often we'll say different times that were favorites for us. For instance, if he made me laugh really hard at something, that'll usually be one of his. Here's mine from this past Saturday (which we spent goofing off downtown then taking the train to Hollywood and wandering around there): When we walked into the Ritz and Lumineers was playing, and you skipped and sang with me through the lobby. (I mean, how could that not be a favorite moment?)

Sometimes our favorite moments will have nothing to do with one another. If he nailed an audition, for example. Or if Chaucer got to play with another dog at the park, or someone said something nice about one of my posts - either of those will definitely end up on my list.

Often, one or both of us will name sex as our favorite part of the day. Sorry not even remotely sorry.

The second question can be as superficial or as meaningful as we want. Today I love you because you look so cute in that scarf, or Today I love you because you were so patient when I was cranky this morning, or Today I love you because were such an awesome listener about ___, or Today I love you because you're just fucking hot. It can be as loving and personal as we want, but we can't just go on and on with a laundry list of the other person's qualities. The point is to show we paid attention that day, that we were present, and that we're grateful. We're big on gratitude.

I doubt I have to explain why we love doing this, or why it's such an awesome and powerful way to connect with one another. But I'm telling you, try it for a week. It is fucking amazing.

I introduced the question game, and Terence loved it immediately. That right there - that he enjoys it - is unbelievable to me. But even more unbelievable was what he did one night when we were playing it. "Wait," he said. "I have a new question to add: When did you feel loved today?"

His idea. His question. His priority. His need to make sure I feel loved by him, every day. His desire to let me know when he feels loved. And from that point on, we've had three questions to answer every night.

That's Terence. That's our relationship. One slice of it, anyway.

And if you're not totally ready to vomit already, feel free to peek at some clips of him being basically the sweetest thing ever, singing me songs and being goofy to make me smile. I joined Viddy not as a social networking thing (it seems to be a dead app no one uses anymore), but because I wanted a place to compile all his cuteness for easy watching when I miss him. Cuz aint' nobody got the phone storage for that.

Anyway. That's what's going on, and what I have to share today.

Happy Valentine's Day or Singles Awareness Day or just happy Friday, if you prefer.

the last thing to go

A few minutes ago, I carried an industrial-sized bucket full of sopping wet towels and clothing two flights of stairs up to my building's laundry room, since this morning, my Eurotrash combination washer/dryer choked on the nickel I accidentally left in the pocket of my jeans, flooding half my apartment. It was a 3/10 on the scale of Things That Suck, a notable improvement over the 6/10 I'd been engaged in a few minutes prior: sitting on the couch, crying, and missing my parents.

Today wasn't horrible by any stretch. Worse things. There are always worse things. It was just one of those days when a few key details go wrong, and you're too tired to shake it off like a normal adult does, and instead you slowly give in to inertia and self-pity, until eventually you find yourself in a mental fetal position where all you want to hear is the uniquely comforting sound of your mom or your dad saying simply, sympathetically, Oh, sweetie.

Some days you just need an Oh, sweetie. And the fact that you can't have one becomes this deliciously self-indulgent shroud of melancholia with which to wrap up and keep warm. So picture me in one of those right now. It looks like a Snuggie, but less dignified.

My friend Tricia, who has experienced grief both of a kind I can understand and that which I never will, once gave me some great advice about how to handle losing my dad. Keep him alive, she said, in the details. The sensory impressions. Butter melting on bagels. The smell of a Sharpie. What made him him.

No butter or Sharpies today. Instead, a dose of my dad's uniquely dry, pragmatic humor. Not for the faint of heart, probably, but what the fuck. I'll keep him around any way I can.

---

When my dad got sick, everything happened mercifully quickly. He lost basic functionality over a matter of days. And wow was that a fun sentence to write, as if he was a fucking toaster, but I don't know how else to put it. First he had trouble walking. Then he had difficulty even balancing himself while sitting. Then he lost speech…and other powers. After that, I assume he started slipping into a state of total disorientation. I assume, that is, because he couldn't tell us. But the way he looked around in bewilderment and fear suggested as much.

Are we having fun yet? Excellent. It gets better.

By the time A., my boyfriend at the time, jumped on a plane to come help out, my dad was still able to speak, still had mental clarity - but bodily, he was falling apart. Those were some of the worst days for me, since, lacking the physical strength to support him, the helplessness I felt was infuriating. He hated using the walker I'd gotten him, even after, desperate to make the house safer and more navigable, I had a late night Craiglist furniture fire sale, just to get some of his bookcases out of the fucking way. He was restless and scared, and kept himself distracted from what was happening by moving around constantly. He'd sit in one chair for ten minutes before insisting I help him move to another. I was always terrified one or both of us would go down as we shuffled along, inch by inch, on the cold Spanish tile. I'm sure he was, too.

The day A. arrived was especially bad for my dad. He was more or less bound to the hospital bed hospice had set up in the middle of the living room, because there hadn't been time to disassemble his own bed yet. He could no longer get up without help, and, due to his size and lack of balance, it became a massive ordeal for him just to go to the bathroom. And on this particular day, whether due to exhaustion or apathy, my dad decided to forgo the hassle and formality of pants.

Honestly, who the fuck could blame him?

Two things happened within seconds of one another: A. pulled up in a taxi, armed with his indefatigable grin and a battery-operated, barking toy dog on the box of which he'd written Chaucer - and my dad realized he needed to use the bathroom.

My dad had never met A. Never lain eyes on him or spoken to him. Knew him only by my description, and barely at that, since we hadn't been dating long. For his part, A. had just stepped off a trans-continental flight minutes before. We barely had a chance to greet one another on the driveway before I heard my dad calling for me from inside.

A. didn't blink, when he saw what was happening. In an instant, he was at my dad's side, helping me help him stand - discombobulated, weak, needing to pee. And completely naked from the waist down. Really, if you want to see what your boyfriend is made of, throw your pantless, dying father at him and see how he fares.

But this isn't A.'s story. It's my dad's. And do you know what the first words out of my father's mouth were, to his adult daughter's new beau? The very first words he uttered, standing there shakily between us, clutching both of our arms, and in the sort of exposed, heartbreakingly vulnerable state that nightmares are made of?

"Welcome to Apollo Beach."

Because what else was there to say? Manners are manners, whether your guest is living or Death or both, and my dad was fucked if cancer was going to touch his sense of humor just yet. So help him god, that would be the last thing to go.

the Ugly Thing

There once was a girl who found an Ugly Thing. She wasn't looking for it. She just came across it one day on her walk. Rather than go around the Ugly Thing, she approached it, curious. As she got nearer, she saw it was even uglier up close. The girl was fascinated. She stared and stared. She walked the length of it, examining every last inch. And the more she saw how ugly it was, the prettier she felt.

Every day the girl would visit the Ugly Thing - sometimes more than once. She grew to know every ugly crack and every ugly crevice, until the Ugly Thing's ugliness was as familiar to her as her own beauty.

Many, many days went by. The girl grew a little bit older. She started to feel the pinch of time and watched as people she loved passed out of her life, in the ways that they sometimes must. The girl spent her walks to and from the Ugly Thing deep in thought. She thought about who she was. She thought about what she had learned, and what she still wanted to. She thought about the things she had filled her life with so far - what she'd made room for and what she had crowded out. And the girl started to feel a little sick when she realized how big a place the Ugly Thing had in her heart.

At that moment, the girl vowed to stop going to the Ugly Thing. But she knew it would be difficult, as breaking habits always is. So she tried to understand this need of hers, to see the Ugly Thing. The girl realized that every day that the Ugly Thing remained ugly was a day that she could still feel pretty - even on those days when she wasn't sure she was. Even on those days when nothing seemed true or clear, the Ugly Thing's ugliness was a reliable constant by which she could know up from down, right from wrong. Every day the Ugly Thing told her I am ugly, but you are not.

The girl felt shame. She felt disappointed in herself, that she'd come to rely on an Ugly Thing for anything, much less as a way to love herself. So the very next day, the girl sat down to make a list of all the places she could go, instead of to the Ugly Thing.

She was still writing long past the hour that she usually took her walk.

bedtime song

Last night:



Incidentally, he thinks being able to do this is no big deal whatsoever. Layering in each instrument one at a time, choosing the chords, and making the harmony up on the spot. It blows my mind, but to him? No big deal.

He also uses an app called iKaossilator for making techno. I'll post a clip of that on IG in a couple days, because it is so crazy cool to watch.

Happy hump day uh I mean Tuesday, you guys!

too long; didn't need

Time of death: 12:50 AM, February 3, 2013
Cause: Unnatural (amount of words)

Next of kin can be reached here.

made with Paper

nice

I made a scene in Chipotle tonight. It wasn't a huge deal, I didn't earn a teardrop tattoo or anything. But it did reaffirm that I am my father's daughter. I'll get back to that story in a minute. First I want to tell you about Larry.

Larry called me about ten days ago, responding to the ad I'd placed on Craiglist for a lovingly used knee scooter. He was actually calling from the emergency room, where his elderly mother was being treated for a broken ankle. Larry's call came while I was at the library, and I didn't listen to his voicemail until a little while later. By the time I called him back, he was in a bit of a state. He spoke very quickly and very anxiously. He wanted the scooter, his mother had been in the hospital all morning, even though they'd seen her right away, because the x-rays took forever to get back, and they'd been looking online for some kind of scooter, because obviously the crutches weren't going to work, they wouldn't be comfortable for her, and where did I live? Oh. Oh, that's too bad. We were just by downtown half an hour ago. If you'd called me back half an hour ago, that would have been perfect, because we were just there, by downtown, and now we're closer to home, is the thing.

I apologized for the delay and waited for Larry to tell me what he wanted to do. He wanted to come back, that night, to bring his mother so she could test out the scooter herself, and did I think I could help her with that? Did I think I could show her how to use it, demonstrate it for her? I could, and said as much, though the thought of this older woman hobbling around on one good leg when she was probably exhausted and in pain made me wonder whether it wouldn't be better for Larry to just assess the scooter himself.

But I didn't say that, I just said, "Sure, of course, it's really easy, no problem." I wondered vaguely what California tort law would have to say if she took a(nother) spill on my property.

"One more thing," he said. "It's just, and I don't mean to be difficult here, but I have to be honest. It's just that I'm incredibly allergic to animals, I mean just ridiculously allergic, I never used to be, I don't know when it started but it's very severe and I'm just wondering if the--"

"I have a dog," I interrupted. "But I didn't let him ride the scooter." I could tell by Larry's stiff chuckle that this wasn't a laughing matter, however. So I explained that my apartment is very clean, that the scooter was metal and vinyl, that I'd wipe the wheels down thoroughly beforehand, that I'd put my dog in the bathroom, and so on. But Larry made it clear that he wasn't coming anywhere near my apartment or my dog, and that I'd need to bring the scooter downstairs, where he'd have his wife clean it with disinfectant before he touched it.

"Ah," I said, because I didn't know what else to say. "No problem."

So Larry brought his wife, and his disinfectant cloths, and his two little boys, who sat in the backseat of their father's sedan while their grandmother gamely staggered around the sidewalk outside my building, getting the hang of the knee scooter.

But I've skipped the bit about the pencil, which Terence tried to whittle into something to substitute for an allen wrench, when we couldn't find the one that goes with the scooter. He found the instructions on Life Hacker and spent several minutes carving the tip of a Dixon Triconderoga into a tool we could hopefully use to collapse the scooter, so it would fit in Larry's trunk, if Larry in fact wanted it.

But the pencil trick was a bust, though totally worth the effort for the sight of Terence hunched in concentration over my bathroom sink, shaving flakes of wood onto the counter with a kitchen knife, all while wearing a blazer and dress shirt, because that is what he always wears. (And that is not a complaint.) Oh yeah, and he also cleaned the scooter with disinfectant, Windex, and stainless steel spray, despite my protestations that such lengths were unnecessary. Unnecessary, I said, since I was convinced that Larry wouldn't want the scooter because, well because he sounded high maintenance and difficult, to be honest. So I wasn't too bothered about the lack of accompanying hardware.

Larry did seem a bit high maintenance and difficult, but he was also a really nice guy. He was extremely solicitous with his mother, germophobic, nervous, talkative, indecisive, but gracious and friendly. He reminded me of every extended relative on my father's side. And his mother was spunky, scrappy, and good-humored, and very friendly as well, despite what she didn't hesitate to tell me had been a nightmarish ordeal so far. The way she glanced up at me with clear, sharp eyes when I sympathized with her predicament and wished her the speediest recovery possible reassured me that she was going to be just fine, both here on the sidewalk where I lived and back home where she lived, in New York. (The poor woman had just been in LA for a visit. Some vacation.) Larry's wife rolled her eyes good-naturedly at what was clearly a familiar scenario as she wiped the scooter down under her husband's guidance.

It turned out that a demonstration wasn't even necessary. Larry's mother figured out what she was doing very quickly, taking tiny hop-steps across the pavement while carefully resting her leg on the scooter. I walked alongside her feeling helpless but wishing to seem the opposite, and she gave me a look which I read as Okay. This is doable. I got this. I sure as shit don't like it, but I got it. 

"Your butt's going to get really tight," I ventured, with a wink in my eye, and I saw Terence suppress a grin behind her. Without missing a beat she informed me that she did yoga and her butt was already tight. She was eighty if she was a day, and it made my week. I wanted to think that if my mother had reached eighty, she'd have been just as full of sass. I threw my hands in the air. "You do yoga?? I don't even do yoga! You're going to be back on both feet in no time."

In the end, however, Larry didn't know if he wanted the scooter, because it didn't have a locking brake like the other one they were considering. He hemmed and hawed for a minute, conferring with his wife quietly while Terence and I moved politely out of hearing range. Then I stepped back over to them and asked, "Do you want to just take it, try it out? If it works out, you can pay me, send a check, come back by, whatever. If not just bring it back."

Larry was unsure about this, but I assured him it was perfectly fine. "Really, it's no problem. I'm happy to help. I just want her to be safe. I've been there and I know how awful it is. Just let her try it out and see what she's most comfortable with. I'm not worried," I added with a smile. "I have your number." Larry didn't strike me as the kind of guy who'd go to the trouble of changing his phone number just to steal a $100 scooter.

Larry was grateful and thanked me extensively while helping his mother back into the passenger's seat of his car. His wife nodded at me, then joined her children in the backseat while Larry continued to thank me. He kept doing so until he shut the door and drove his family home. He didn't shake my hand goodbye.

---

This afternoon, Larry brought the scooter back. He insisted on giving me twenty-five dollars as a sort of rental fee. I told him it was completely unnecessary and tried first to hand back the twenty, and then the five. He just shook his head. "Really, you were so nice to my mother. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Very generous of you, not knowing me, trusting me. So nice," he repeated.

When I pushed the scooter back into the apartment, Chaucer barely sniffed it before going back to his toy. If there were strange or unfamiliar scents on it, they didn't faze him a bit.

---

A little while after Larry dropped off the scooter, I took his cash to Chipotle to get dinner. The line was already several people long, and I ended up just in front of Captain Special Order Businessman, who wanted a few different items, all with extra this or extra that, cut into halves, No wait quarters, actually can you take the cheese off and put it on the side? More meat. Little more. Now wrap those tacos individually, no they have to be in separate foils, yes, and cut the burrito in half and wrap those separately and...

And so on. And fine, if that's your deal, if you're a Captain Special Order or a Princess Special Order, god bless you and your little entitled heart. You do you. Lord knows all of us are pains in the asses about one thing or another. Lord knows we've all held up a line or two with our needs at some time.

But then he was a dick to the employee serving him, because he didn't like the fact that, anticipating that his various special requests were going to hold up the line, she made the smart decision to help the next customer simultaneously, to keep things going. And when Captain Special Order Businessman figured out what was going on, he was a dick about it, pointedly asking her why she was helping anyone else when his order wasn't completed yet, and when she quietly and diplomatically tried to explain that there were other customers, he got snippy with her and raised his voice in complaint and you guys, it just pissed. me. off.

So I made a scene.

I raised my voice, and I said basically (because who remembers what they say in the heat of such moments), Yo, Captain Special Order, why don't you chill out. She's just doing her job, and if you're going to ask all of us to wait to accommodate you and your special requests, you're just going to have to be patient, okay? And he puffed up in his suit and demanded to know what his special requests were, which I was more than happy to enumerate for him and the rest of the line which by now was watching with great delight, whether because Frumpy Girl was dishing it to Captain Special Order Businessman or because it's just gratifying to see other people be confrontational while you remain Calm and Mature, I don't know. But watch they did.

It didn't last long and it wasn't overly dramatic, and the looks on the faces of both the abused employee and the cashier ringing me up were thanks enough (if I interpreted them correctly, that is) and made me feel like it was okay that it happened, and that I'm not an asshole. That I'm just someone who wanted to stick up for someone who wasn't in a position to stick up for herself - at least not without getting in trouble, probably.

I'd like to think she thought it was nice of me, that my heart was in the right place even if my head was not, but I don't know.