Leaning In

So the air is toxic and your sex life sucks. Big deal.

Here in sooty London town…

I am worried about the dogs. National Geographic says that dogs’ powers of smell are 100,000 times greater than ours, so just imagine how hard this coal mine air is on our beloved pets. I brush White Fang frequently, and put away the outside water bowl, for fear of what the ashfall might do to it.

It’s no secret that I have a weak spot for White Fang. She is absolutely the best wolf I’ve ever had.

The smutty air seemed to be getting worse and worse, against a tiny diode sun. I changed the AC filter, bought flowers to freshen the kitchen. Ugh this stuff.

Honestly, I consider leaving LA every day. But by sundown, I’ve always changed my mind. Then there’s the great makeup sex.

That’s a joke.

Nobody has had sex in America in six months, or if they have, they’ve been really quiet about it. As they should be.

Anyway, I’m more worried about the dogs than I am about you right now. Dogs are like us, only better. More faithful, more grateful. As my friend Daryl says, we really don’t deserve dogs.

By the way, did you know that dogs’ ears are so keen that they can hear crystal oscillators inside your cellphone?

Trust me, if you were actually having sex, they’d know it. But you’re not. Nothing to worry about. Don’t dwell on it. Like the rains, sex will arrive by winter. At the very latest, spring.

Do you ever wonder what your pets think when they overhear us moaning, gasping and – in my case—whimpering a little? Does procreation ever enter their minds, or do they see sex merely as some painful gymnastics stunt humans do every six months or so?

Enough about sex. Had some bad experiences myself – four kids – and a wife who wouldn’t forgive me, because I was never all that limber or generous. Good to give it a rest for a while, probably, though I do miss lustily unsnapping other people’s jeans. For me, that was often the best part of sex. And the elastic.

Aside from all that, you seem to be doing OK. A relief to see football back on the telly. That sport is like an industrial accident, yet it soothes something in our heads. I think it’s all the hugging they do.

Our miso soy salmon.

In other important developments, I hear that Trader Joe’s is now carrying pumpkin ice cream (of course), and I know from your feedback you don’t much care for farm-raised salmon, even if it only costs a nickel.

Also interesting to learn that some of you pronounce the L in salmon, giving it a British lilt. Saul-mon. I mean, who cares. You want to be British? Fine. Or Australian? Whatever. Americans can’t really tell the difference anyway.

But there’s been some funny feedback. My buddy Druck notes how drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day seems impossible, but 8 glasses of wine with dinner seems like a piece of cake.

Hey Druck, lean in to life. Flush out all this soot with whatever you have handy.

There’s no judgment here. I’m much too flawed to be critical of other people. In fact, I look at most other people like gods and goddesses. Some of you make life look so easy.

My daughter Rapunzel dropped by the house the other day, and she makes life look easy. Put on an apron while she cooked, and it’s amazing the resonance of that little gesture. Smartacus and I don’t wear aprons. Posh did. So, when Rapunzel donned an apron to knock about the kitchen making carrot muffins, with cream frosting, there was something extra lovely about it.

The kid can bake, let me tell you. She asked permission to use a couple of carrots to make the muffins. I said, of course, because carrots are cheap and they keep a long time. Nothing else keeps these days, so warm and putrid is the weather. The tomatoes go soft after a couple days, and the avocados are a fistful of slush.

“Dad, you know you can put them in the fridge, right?” she asks.

See? Gods! You people are gods. You know so many things about so many things, and you can make delicious muffins out of carrots, which seems like a miracle to me.

By the way, the 5-cent salmon I was telling you about cooked up just fine. I’d received a dozen recipes – smear it with mayo, you said, or smother it in Dijon mustard. One friend recommended lemon and dill.

If a city every needed Adderall, it’s this one #losangeles #ChrisErskineLA

In the end, I marinated it in miso, soy, sugar and sesame oil, a recipe from The New York Times, which I guess is some sort of East Coast newspaper, though they don’t have comics, so I’m skeptical. Might be more of a newsletter thingy.

The salmon turned out well though. Salmon is so versatile, and substantial, not like sea bass or those other feathery fish, which are like eating a hiccup. Six ounces of salmon contains more oil than my Honda.

Chars just right on the grill too, the edges turning up, like crispy little smiles.

When it comes to food, I am some sort of a barbarian. I cook best over an open flame with a beer in my hand, gazing out over the parched back lawn and the peeling eaves and thinking: “You know, I really need to get out of LA.”

If a city every needed Adderall, it’s this one. Have you seen the new stadium? Looks like a carwash on steroids. I’ll have the trim/tire package, with the hot water extraction shampoo. Thanks!

Several people I know have fled LA, just because of the grotesque new stadium. And don’t get me started on the downtown cathedral. Aside from Disney Hall, most LA architecture is a felony.

But SoCal does this seductive thing at the end of a day. I think it’s called a sunset. And they’re the colors of Kool-Aid.

And there is football on the tube now…a pumpkin on the porch, muffins on the counter, Dodgers on a roll.

On the couch, a strapping young lad named Smartacus fiddling with the love of his life — his dear cellphone.

So flawed. So hooked. So lucky.

So LA.

I’ll be back on Zoom soon, with a civic fundraiser Oct. 1. Come share a cocktail and catch up on the hiking club, the gin & tonic society, the new book and much more. Everyone invited. Info, click here. To order the book, go here. Thanks!

9 thoughts on “Leaning In

  1. Enjoyable column, as always (do you still call them columns? Probably not!) Your near-to-the-last line reminded me of Browning’s “all’s right with the world.” I love that your writing so often finds the good. No matter what. Refreshing! Cheers🥂
    Shannon Rosenfeld

  2. Glad the salmon worked out this time. I still get woozy thinking about that salmon/non-dairy creamer/cheddar concoction from last time. Kinda gave me nightmares-and I’m not a food snob!

    Regarding sex? Good luck, friend. You can’t even get a good, firm handshake anymore. Ah, the good old days! Indiscriminate handshaking hookups!

    Party on, Garth…

  3. I used to look forward to your Saturday column in Pravda West (as my friend/insurance agent Peter amusingly calls it) but now I get it TWICE a week. Yes, things are looking up in that regard. Now if only the smoke would flow east instead of west . . . . . . .

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