There are two ways you can read that headline: 1) As coming from someone whose patience is waning, or 2) As coming from someone answering “What’s this about?”
From my perspective I’m way more in the No. 2 camp. See, this Thursday it will be 44 years to the day that I came into this world at 7:08 a.m., delivered via C-section at Good Samaritan Hospital, across the street from Pacific Dining Car restaurant. I like to wonder who might have been having their breakfast a baseball steak’s throw away from me when I got hauled into the cold and light.
If you happen to be nothing more than acquainted with me you might roll your eyes when I tell you that I really have no issues with the number. Why not? July 6, 1994, that’s why not. Folks who either know me well enough or those whose visits here have happened to coincide with some sort of exploratory recap of that particular evening might recollect I could have died that night. But since I didn’t — whether it be for the grace of god or a fluke of impact physics, or vertebrae density/resilience/flex, or the fact that I’m a tough sumbitch who can go motorcycle helmet-first into the side of a car at 40mph and stand up right away with a wrecked head and a flood of blood — pretty much every day since has been a gift too precious to get too bogged down worrying about the trivial realities that come with hiking further into middle age. The scars and damage I suffered may still bother me, but the wrinkles and the gray? I’m just glad to be here to have ’em.
Yeah, but do I hop up out of bed and greet every single day with a whistle and a grin? Hell nah. I’m not some sort of carpe diem freak. It may all be gravy to me these past 14 years but sometimes that gravy is lumpy and cold and gloppy.
But this Thursday the gravy’s gonna be savory — in part because I’ve decided to do something I wouldn’t normally do and take the day off work… so that I can do something I wouldn’t normally do and start eeeeeeeeeearly spending the better part of the day celebrating the milestone by pedaling a 68-mile route around the city that’s been percolating in the cranium for quite some time under the working title of “This Is Your Life” ride.
That might be something of a misnomer, because it isn’t really anchored on specific events of my life so much as all the places I’ve lived during that time. Thus will I be pedaling to each of the 16 addresses I’ve lived at throughout the first semi-nomadic half of my life (assuming I’m indeed somewhere in the middle of it) — and my first stop will be Good Sam Hospital where it all began. I’ve charted the 68.3-miles via Gmaps as follows:
Chronologically speaking, here’s the where and when (any question marks early on indicate approximations and do not take into account a period of my very early childhood spent living with my grandmother in Carbon Hill, Ala.):
- Good Samaritan Hospital, Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles (May 29, 1964)
- S. McCarty Drive, Beverly Hills ( – 1966?)
- Westminster Avenue, Los Angeles (1966? – 1970?)
- S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills (1970? – 1972)
- S. Tower Drive, Beverly Hills (1972 – 1974)
- Holly Drive, Hollywood (1974 – 1977)
- S. Wilton Place, Hollywood (1977 – 1979)
- S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills (1979 – 1983)
- Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys (1983 – 1984)
- Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (1984 – 1986)
- Fulton Avenue, Van Nuys (1986 – 1988)
- W. Tujunga Avenue, Burbank (1988 – 1990)
- Verdugo Avenue, Glassell Park (1990 – 1990)
- E. Palmer Avenue, Glendale (1990 – 1991)
- Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys (1991 – 1991)
- Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (1991 – 1994)
- Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys, (1994 – 1994)
- Seabury Lane, Beverly Glen (1994 – 1995)
- Burbank Boulevard, Encino (1995 – 2001)
- Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (2001 – 2003)
- Del Mar Avenue, Silver Lake (2003 – 2004)
- N. Occidental Boulevard, Silver Lake (2004 – )
For purposes of the most mileage-efficient route we will not be going in chrono order, instead it will be as follows:
- Good Samaritan Hospital
- Del Mar Avenue, Silver Lake
- S. Wilton Place, Hollywood
- Holly Drive, Hollywood
- Westminster Avenue, Los Angeles
- S. Tower Drive, Beverly Hills
- S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills
- S. McCarty Drive, Beverly Hills
- Seabury Lane, Beverly Glen
- Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks
- Burbank Boulevard, Encino
- Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys
- Fulton Avenue, Van Nuys
- S. Tujunga Avenue, Burbank
- Verdugo Avenue, Glassell Park
- E. Palmer Avenue, Glendale
- N. Occidental Boulevard, Silver Lake
If this seems an outlandish thing to do, I’ve done more over-the-top stuff. A couple years ago with the help of Susan and my good friend Rachel Rausch I summited Death Valley’s 11,049-foot Telescope Peak my last day as a 41 year old and for the first morning of my 42nd year bombed the 17-miles and 8,000-feet elevation drop between the Mahogany Flat campground and the Panamint Valley floor.
To me this seems totally tame in comparison.