Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tubin' it in Tinseltown

You know, some of you people don't know how good you have it.

Yes, I'm talking to you. You, Mr. or Ms. Multi-tasker, clenching a double-double animal style in your left hand and your iPhone in the right, scrolling through this blog and superior ones as you tool around town from one destination to the other.

I'm filled to the gills with envy.

It's been months since I've been able to eat while driving.

Eating, for me, now requires both hands –one to hold the nose of the plastic syringe and my G-tube steady, and the other to tip the can of Isosource– and at least one eyeball, to make sure that I'm not inadvertently pouring Isosource someplace other than into my belly.

Life would be so much easier if I could eat and drive like every other Californian.

A friend asked me to meet him in Hollywood on Tuesday night for a chance to attend a free screening. There wasn't enough time for me to go home after work, so after paying a call on the freshly dedicated star for George Harrison on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I decided to find a quiet place to park, have a quick meal in my car and then meet my buddy standing in line.

If you haven't been in Hollywood recently, you may not know that it is next to impossible to park on the street for free after 6 p.m. After years of watching WeHo reap a fortune in after-hours parking revenue and fines, parking meter hours of enforcement throughout much of Hollywood have been extended to 8 p.m., and you're limited to one or two hours only, at the rate of $2 per hour.

I didn't have four bucks of change on me, so my plan was to find a space marked as a loading zone, and park there for free. Don't let this get around –for God's sake, don't tip off Mayor Villaraigosa– but in L.A., you can park in a yellow loading zone after 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and all day on Sundays, and not have to pay a cent.

Luckily, I spotted a loading zone space open up on Selma Avenue, just off the Cahuenga corridor: a block away from where I was going to meet my friend. The only problem was I had a good 15 minutes before I could park there legally.

Hipsters were crawling up and down Selma hunting for parking, so there was no way that I was going to pass up that choice space. I decided I would just stay in the car and use the 15 minutes to feed myself two servings of Isosource, while keeping an eye peeled for signs of trouble.

If any parking enforcement goons popped up to ask me what I was doing in a loading zone, I would point to the "Loading Only" sign and explain that I was loading dinner into my belly. Or I would drive away, trying my best to keep my syringe and G-tube steady.

Well, I didn't get any heat from any parking enforcement officers and no one pounded on my hood and shouted "Get a ROOM!!" but I got plenty of stares from riff-raff on the sidewalk peering into my car. And a double-decker tour bus loaded with tourists squeezed past, inches from my elbow.

The gurgle of the Isosource made it hard to make out what the tour guide was saying. My guess is that he was probably trying to divert his passengers' attention away from the junkie in the Toyota Tercel with the rubber tube sticking out of his stomach speed balling his evening fix of Isosource.

It took just 20 minutes to get two cans of juice in my belly. I capped my G-tube, stuffed it back beneath my shirt, and buttoned up.

My friend and I waited more than a hour and half in line, but we didn't get tapped to step past the velvet rope and join the hipoisie into the screening.

Someone must have snapped a photo of me with my G-tube in my car, and sent it to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce as an undesirable. I may be blackballed for life.


  1. I need to find a way to penalize you for publicizing our parking secret

  2. Giving my G-tube a nice hard yank would be plenty of punishment.

  3. Maybe I'll pour chicken or beef broth in your tube