Life is full of subtle but striking coincidences. Noticing those coincidences is kind of a hobby of mine. I also always pick up photos I find on the street and have an album of them I started when I was about 10. The coincidence thing, though, that’s my jam. There have been a number of these little happenings throughout all of our lives some more substantial than others.
Case in point…
On the July 4th weekend of 2004 I made plans with a friend to spend my first Independence Day in America up in Los Angeles. I was living in San Diego at the time so I rode the train in true MaryBeth circa 2004 fashion, wearing red stilettos and a vintage dress. When I got to LA full of happiness and dirty jokes told to me by furloughed Marines, a man at Union Station told me I looked like a celebrity. That made my MONTH!
My friend’s band had practice that evening so we headed straight to Jumbo’s Clown Room for a pre-rehearsal drink. The girls there only get down to bikini bottoms and pasties which kind of lends itself to imagining you’re on the Left Bank in the Roaring ’20s… kinda. It’s about the size of a walk in closet and Courtney Love danced there before she was COURTNEY LOVE. I’m generally pretty chatty and there was a man with a kind face sitting at the first stool inside the door. We got to talking, comparing notes on life. He told me where he worked and how he wasn’t all that stoked on it at that time but I don’t remember sensing any real hatred of it. Some girls feel that stuff on a deep level… at least this girl does. I give him some trite advice like “just talk to your manager” or “job hunt if only to know you have options” – who the heck remembers that much? This is more a general memory of a person in a place. But yeah, I just remember not wanting to leave because this person’s take on the little things was intriguing to me.
Fast forward 7 years later to present day life. I am sitting in the passenger seat of the Brodeo, edging down the 405 S just staring out the window with no real thoughts on my mind when I flash back to THAT ONE MEMORY. That one little nugget of my past. Seems minor, right? Wrong. I now know who that person is and it explains a little about last summer aka ‘The Summer I Decided to Just GO FOR IT’. That guy at the bikini bar in 2004 was Keith Niles, Los Angeles poet and bon vivant. I didn’t meet him last summer in the backyard of an Echo Park gallery surrounded by our mutual friends and loved ones. No, I met Keith in a weird bikini bar talking about work my first ever time drinking in LA… and yes, I was 26. That’s why when we met (again) last summer we both had this feeling it was more of a reunion. That we already knew each other. It’s because, on some tiny universal level, we did.
Someday Keith and I will collaborate on something. Check him out online. His work is what I dream of. It’s his influence that gets me to write at all in the first place.
Oh, and the band practice my friend needed to get to? That was where I met my now husband. Pretty fateful weekend, no?