Every few days I try and convince Otto that I want to push his little ass up our favorite canyon so I can find the ass I misplaced before Otto's arrival. I get him all riled up with promises of seeing the barnyard animals that live in a cool farmhouse at the top of the hill. I also assure him that he can spend ample time walking on a retaining wall near the house, a wall we like to call “the beam”. With his tiny little legs and his startling focus he always walks it like a pro, looking just like an underfed Olympic gymnast without the ponytail or hooker make up. I then fill the stroller with enough food for a family of four to survive in the wild for two weeks and slather us both down with a 50 SPF that smells like the shoe department at Kmart. As I am packing up the provisions, I always think, what would the Donner party really prefer? Eating old raisins, Cheddar Goldfish, day old sliced fruit and cookies covered in dirt or a friend’s backside cooked over an open flame?
The only things I choose not to carry with me are a sleeping bag and a bowie knife. But seeing that the eclectic homeless population of Hollywood also enjoy this rugged canyon Shangri La, I could rustle me up something similar a mere stone’s throw from the trail. Only problem is I would have to bed down with the uber-skinny, angry schizophrenic dude who likes to reads scripts in a discarded lawn chair while threatening his imaginary friend or the creepy man-giant who wears an old flack jacket filled with weights and toilet paper squares and only shows himself when the place is nearly dark. It really is the best of both worlds. A lovely city park with a spectacular view of Los Angeles AND a playground for America’s Most Wanted top ten fugitives.
With all my planning and plotting the hike did not go as planned. The heat was much worse than I had anticipated making my shins feel like two loaves of under baked bread right out of the oven. And from the get go, Otto was being obstinate, refusing to wear a hat or hold my hand when not in the stroller, both asshole mommy rules on my asshole mommy list. Somehow I feel that Otto getting skin cancer, running into traffic, rolling down a hill and landing under a delivery van would be a huge buzz kill for me. So, because of his refusal and what I like to view as my realistic fears, I was forced to put him in the stroller instead of allowing him to walk up the steep street to the entrance of the canyon. And then he brought it.
Fuckface, and I mean that with all the motherly love of an angry lioness after she's been accidentally shot with a dart by her lion cub, cried the majority of the hike. "White ball, white ball, down, down down...!" He had a total meltdown, to the point that people actually stopped to offer help. Then, when we reached the top, he fell off the beam, twice, scraping his legs and wailing uncontrollably. I had to carry him in my arms while steering the stroller down hill, nearly maiming an I.Q. challenged bull terrier that refused to yield to me. Otto weighed as much as a large flood prevention sandbag but I knew my arms would look great in a tank top later in the day so I suffered through the agony. And when the snot train got really bad and my new Madonna arms turned to spaghetti, I put him back into the stroller with a promise of cookies and an uninspired quiz on helicopters and tall buildings.
He calmed down enough for me to get him down the hill and to the car, where he proceeded to hit his head on a tree getting while getting in. Waterworks turned on again and I just held him tight until the tears subsided once again, giggling in the nape of his neck like only a good mother could do. Then I drove his ass to In‘N’Out Burger and fed him fries. Just for the record, this was his lunch today; brown, sliced apples, Cheerios covered in dust, five shortbread cookies that looked like cat shit, a bucket of tears, two glasses of water/juice/snot, and an entire order of fries.
Yet, as bad as it seemed, it was a great jaunt after all. Half way through the hike-o-hell, I ran into a very successful writer acquaintance of ours I had not seen in years. This guy had been very rude, unfriendly and condescending about the prospects of our success in Hollywood on more than one occasion and I noticed he needed a tan and a few more uphill hikes a week. He was with his toddler and the conversation that we managed to get in, before Otto screamed bloody murder in a voice as loud Ethel Merman’s farts, involved me bragging about my husband's recent career victories in this brutal town of shattered dreams and curdled hopes. After he calmly told me of his hilly, exclusive address I realized my bragging was not only justified, it was really fucking satisfying.
So, when life throws lemons at your face at 90 m.p.h. just pick them up after they have chipped your teeth and throw them at someone else who probably still deserves to be beamed by bruised fruit. Then go eat a burger.