The OTHER Hollywood I work

Found at: sdf.org:70/users/xmanmonk/2017-jun-23-a.txt

The OTHER Hollywood

I work and live in California's San Fernando Valley. It's not
Hollywood. However, it is the home of the "other" Hollywood, where
most adult entertainment films are made. Other things are made here,
too, including many television shows. In fact, The Price is Right is
filmed next door to the office here.

It's a colourful neighborhood, when you take the time to look around.
Most natives try not to look around. They prefer to wear their
headphones and dark glasses, and pretend they're in another reality.

As for me, I do both. I have the headphones (a nice wireless pair)
and dark glasses (I have light sensitivity issues), but I also look
around. As a writer, I tend to do that. As Hitchcock said, "I'm just
the guy at the back of the room, watching."

The TV studio next door is fun to watch. They shoot other TV shows
there. It's a metal building with a faux brick and window facade (put
up a week or so for some TV show). It has a sign advertising it as a
bank, but a bank it ain't. Every once in a while, a few tour buses
will pull up full of potential contestants. I have yet to see Drew
Carey there. I'm guessing his car windows are dark.

Across the street from us is a recording studio. Not a real famous
one, but someone's dream of owning his own business and making music.
I've never seen anyone in there. Part of that might be because this
recording studio is a little too close to an airport, and jets flying
overhead are hard to drown out in a studio. I know this because I
worked in a studio years ago. Sonex is good stuff, but you really
have to work hard to get jet noise out.

Next door to that is a shop that's been converted to an
ultra-fundamentalist Catholic church. My guess is that it's SSPX
(Society of St. Pius the Tenth), who have actually been
excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. It's the same sect to
which Mel Gibson belongs. I have also never seen anyone in there, but
I don't drop by the office in Sunday.

Down a bit, at the corner, is Tasty Donut. Oddly, the donuts are the
only thing in there that aren't tasty. In fact, they leave a weird
aftertaste. They make great sandwiches, especially their breakfast
croissants and their ham and cheese croissants. There are signs all
over the place that read "Orange Juice - Make Fresh Here." Someone
has corrected one of the signs, changing "Make" to "Made."

I come to work early, usually an hour and a half early, so that I can
sit at tasty donut and eat something, and watch the people. I'm the
guy at the back of the room, watching. And eating.

I've gotten to recognize the regulars. I don't know any of them. I
only speak to the husband and wife team who run the place, and their
daughter (who makes the best sandwiches).

The other day, a tourist came in. I could tell he was a tourist
because he had a smile on his face and he was eager to talk to me. I
lowered my music, kept the headphones in, and he proceeded to tell me
his opinions about Los Angeles. He spoke loudly, perhaps thinking
that my headphones were hearing aids. That's fine. I happen to be
half deaf anyway, so it worked out.

He said he really liked the sights he saw. He went to Hollywood, saw
the Walk of Fame, etc. But he wondered what happened here in the San
Fernando Valley. What is it known for?

I smiled. "It's the OTHER Hollywood."

He nodded. "TV shows and stuff?"

I nodded. "Yeah. Stuff."

He nodded again.

I didn't say much in the conversation. Just let him talk. When I did
speak, I noticed that the Tasty Donut people would look at me,
perhaps thinking I was giving away some kind of secret about the

We left, me to work and the other guy to go see more sights. And as I
walked to work, I realized the possibility that the visitor wasn't
actually there.

Hey, this is the OTHER Hollywood, after all. If life gets boring,
make your own special effects.