I awakened this morning with a great sense of purpose. My life here on the not-so-Great White Way has felt so unconnected that I actually made my way to Quaker Meeting, something that has polka-dotted my questing, where, for many years in LA I would go to Westwood or Santa Monica meeting and was quieted and sometimes even inspired, or at least it seemed so. Not knowing where I was going today, in the most basic sense, I got into a taxi. The driver had no idea where Rutherford Place was, so I got out, and into a second cab, this one driven by a woman. She was no better,--and was in fact, worse, as I always expect more of women. So I went back upstairs and actually printed out a map from my computer-- there is no arguing the things can be helpful-- and hailed a third cab whose driver said he did not know it either. "I have a map," I said. "I can't read a map and drive," he contended. "Then when you get to the corner and there's a light, you can read it," said I. But he refused all the way down to 15th Street where I had seen on the map myself that I could make my way on foot to the Meeting House. To my surprise, having attended a number of meetings over the years, it was in a quite beautiful building in a square that looked more or less like it belonged to the Quakers themselves, something that truly surprised me, as their keynote, besides simplicity, seemed to be not having enough to really afford what the regulation Christians seemed to come up with, in the way of a gathering place.
The meeting house was flawlessly simple, rows upon rows of facing benches painted light gray, with a curled cushion in dark cherry velvet softening their lengths, and an upstairs where the overflow that there wasn't, might be filled with those who could quietly express opinions. I was not moved to speak, which is the way of Meetings. But afterwards when we were asked to introduce ourselves if we were new there, and tell something about who we were, I told about the taxis. Later, in Hospitality, something Quakers always have though not to the extent they seemed to today, endless arrays of chompables, including cheeseless pizza, a few of them approached me to tell me they'd enjoyed what I said. I was genuinely taken aback, as I hadn't said anything I regarded as interesting or, even more important, uplifting. All I'd done was tell what a hard time I'd had getting there.But a nice woman said to me "It made a good story."
It did? Is that what it's all about? We go through what we do and when it comes out the other end, if we tell it well, does it make a good story?
Tomorrow then, I'll tell you about Gore Vidal. After Cary Grant, my favorite name drop.