Making it in L.A.
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Making It in L.A.<BR> By Marc Porter Zasada<P> TODAY I ASK MY FRIEND SOL about making it in L.A. Sol-s not his real name, but trust me, he has that calm smile only 30 years as a private accountant in Beverly Hills can really perfect. This morning, I take him to a noisy outdoor table on Beverly Boulevard where we can watch the hazy bustle, all the way up to the shining houses in the hills. <P> I tell Sol how, like most in this town, the Urban Man has long devoted himself to -making it.- I do the late hours. I belly up to sushi bars. But I work toward that moment when I can say, -Yes, now I have made it.- At that moment, real life will begin. I-ll work less, simplify, read Proust. <P> Still, I have my doubts. These days, I know plenty of people who have -made it,- and just as the poets warned, they live more beautiful, but plenty complicated lives. They still hustle. They call lawyers at midnight from those shining houses. <P> I want Sol to join the poets and tell me I should relax and stop trying so hard. But instead, the accountant gives me that calm smile. <P> -You don-t understand,- says Sol. -Even though a person never -makes it,- he never gets to stop trying.- <P> I expect traffic to screech to a halt, but it doesn-t. <P> And now Sol tells me a story: -One of my clients is a Holocaust survivor,- he says. -When this client got out of Treblinka, he believed that if he could make it to America and have a warm piece of bread with butter at every meal, he-d be the happiest man alive.- <P> The accountant leans forward: -The client told me this as he was flying down PCH in his cadillac from his second ex-wife-s place in Malibu. When asked how his situation got so difficult and complicated, this client threw up his hands and said, -Sol, a man simply has to live life.- <P> Sol shrugs: -Another client who -made it- just went back to work and took a second mortgage so he could play the market and drive his kids crazy by loaning them money. No one stops playing the game, Mr. Urban Man, because that would mean the end; a kind of death. Only as long as you-re still shuffling the cards, do you know you-re alive.- <P> Then he grins: -Of course, we-re different. If we hit it big, we-d cultivate the arts, play with the kids-- <P> But the Urban Man interrupts: -Sol, you mean your clients are never happy?- <P> -You-re not listening,- he replies. -No one said they weren-t happy. A person becomes happy by living his life fully, whatever his life turns out to be.-<P> Sol spreads his hands to embrace Beverly Boulevard, where a black Hummer roars; where a man and woman wearing cashmere t-shirts shout at each other. -You talk about someday starting your -real life,-- says Sol. -Maybe this is real life.- <P> Adapted from a piece in the L.A. Downtown News.<br> Copyright - 2004 Marc Porter Zasada, all rights reserved.
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