Going nowhere fast (for Gregg)

by Claudia Elena Rodriguez

Part One: Totally Fucked Up

When you're young you find inspiration

In anyone who's ever gone

And opened up a closing door

How quickly things change, and then change again.

I am the hostess of a Persian restaurant in North Glendale. I listen to soft piano muzak from the speakers and Farsi from the kitchen. The routine, the repetitive steps and structure of a restaurant, can be meditative in a sea of chaos. I was at work wiping down the menus, my routine, when the push notification was sent out: the strike was ending. That was on a Sunday. On Monday, I was hired to be a story producer for [REDACTED]. On Tuesday, I quit my job at the restaurant. I let go of the routine, my structure, and dove right back into the mouth of chaos the second it called to me.

My last day was on Sunday, the first day of October.

My shoes were high and I had scored

I'd bolted through a closing door

I would never find myself feeling bored

Part Two: The Doom Generation

My first day on [REDACTED] was scheduled for Monday. Before I could begin, however, I had to attend the final meeting with my screenwriting advisor for the summer workshop I'd been part of since June; even my beginning was an end. It went as well as meetings could go. He said he liked it, he called it 'kafkaesque'. The story is a body horror movie, so I guess that's a good thing. I told him how writing it was a catharsis to discuss my anxieties about getting into a long term relationship. How desperately fearful I am that someone is going to come into my life and change me. The pieces of myself that fall away in order to love somebody else.

The next day, I went on a date. We went to Little Dom's and bonded over our shared disappointment at the mid-like qualities of the meal. We had a salad which needed salt, a soggy margherita pizza with anchovy, and a slab of unsexy chicken parmesan served without sides. We walked to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream on Hillhurst. We split a cone of coffee ice cream. I expressed my disappointment in never finding decent Italian food on the eastside of Los Angeles. He promised to take me to La Pergoletta next time, which he said is much better.

On Wednesday morning I woke up early to snag a ticket to the 4K restoration of Gregg Araki's 1997 movie Nowhere. Nowhere was at 10 PM. After work, around 8 o'clock, I went to Figaro Bistrot before Nowhere. This night was about taking myself on a date. I brought with me a copy of Emma Cline's The Girls I had checked out of the Glendale Central Library a couple of weeks ago. I ordered Kir Cassis and San Pellegrino with Lime to start. I wasn't that hungry, so I ordered a french onion soup and a martini. Afterwards, I had an espresso and a porto. I went out and had a cigarette on Vermont before walking to the Los Feliz Theater, continuing its reign as my favorite theater in LA. For a movie snack, I ordered Red Vines and a Diet Coke.

By Thursday, I started to feel myself losing steam. Between the restaurant, my new job, and the end of my workshop, I hadn't had a day off in almost twenty days. But, I had promised my friends I would go to Elysian Theater to watch an avant-garde comedy musical show about aliens. Regrettably, that night we closed down the Cha Cha Lounge. Sometimes your weekend starts before you are ready for it.

Friday after work I allowed myself the pleasure of going nowhere, doing nothing. It was everything. On Saturday, I extended my nothing into a day at Wi Spa. I was home by the evening, and got ready to go out. I went to Little Secret for Dream Prom. We took mushroom chocolates and climbed to the top of a stationary double decker bus. We smoked cigarettes and weed and listened to people read poetry. The new Little Secret is by the river but seems to be nowhere. Because of the theme, we all kept asking one another about what it was like when we went to our proms. Mine was ten years ago. I went with a friend, but we chain smoked cigarettes in the parking lot. It felt a lot like this. Maybe it's a night I keep living.

I never dreamt that I would get to be

The creature that I always meant to be

But I thought in spite of dreams

You'd be sitting somewhere here with me

Part Three: Nowhere

This morning I woke up at 5:30 AM. I couldn't go back to sleep. I had no dreams. I had nowhere to go. I decided to write this post before I started working. Sometimes when things are going well, I'm worried that it means I have nothing interesting to say. I hope that's not true. At least I won't let it be true today.

And we were never being boring

We had too much time to find for ourselves


Claudia Elena Rodriguez is a Cuban-American writer and filmmaker from Miami. She's produced or directed over a dozen short films and music videos screening at film festivals, museums, and art shows through the US and Berlin. She lives in LA, working as a producer for reality shows and writing about nightlife and pop culture on her blog Wild Things.

Click here for more work on Claudia's website.

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Published on December 18th, 2023 ┬ęClaudia Elena Rodriguez