Featured in Humor Mill Magazine
Brown Bettie Knows Best
"I may not be funny, but I sure know what is!"
March 2011 Issue
Where The Wildflowers Roam
The other night I found myself making a U-turn on La Brea to head towards the 10 Freeway. I’d decided I hadn’t the energy to fight traffic in my normal route through the city all the way to the valley. I was headed home after a short stop at The Cork, one of LA’s infamous neighborhood bars. The Cork is one of those funny places where a girl like me shouldn’t belong, but somehow, I do. I love talking to the old guys sippin’ bourbon; I like the distinguished ones that talk eloquently like Sammy Davis Jr. just as much as I like the ones who punctuate every sentence in their story with “Shiiiiiiiiit”. And I really love how it’s all scored by a soundtrack of Marvin Gaye or Minnie Ripperton beckoning from the jukebox for another play.
As I coasted down La Brea from Washington Boulevard, and merged into the right lane to get onto the highway, I did that thing that we all do that we’re not supposed to: I checked my phone for any emergency alerts like a tweet from a cyber-stranger that says “just had a strwbry yogrt 4 dinr”. When I finally looked up, I was two feet from the bumper of a stopped black Lexus SUV. I slammed on my brakes, which luckily, went into that grindy-scary third overdrive braking system that lurches you into your seatbelt, which then locks up, cuts into your neck and this, along with your increased level of scared-shitlessness causes to scream, “WHAT THE $&%)@#!!?!!”
The “WHAT THE $&%)@#!!?!!” was a near pile-up of several cars, that once unraveled, much like a heap of football players tangled up over the possession of the pigskin, parted to reveal a little white dog laying in the middle of La Brea. I had “possession” apparently, because my headlights were now beaming into the dog’s black eyes which were staring helplessly into mine.
I’ve seen a dead body on the subway tracks of the N Train in New York, but I’ve never seen what looked to be a dying dog taking its last breaths while looking at me with subdued bewilderment, or I guess, shock and pain. I pulled over to the curb to join the others who felt like they could do “something” for this dog. I kept my beams on so it wouldn’t feel alone and I clicked on my hazards so no other speeding cars would inadvertently and carelessly run it over.
My youngest brother is always telling me that I’m nosy; or, he’s scolding me about how I waste time getting involved in things that don’t concern me. Well, I was concerned. Sure, I could have veered off to the left and continued on my way to the highway and wondered what happened – like when he and I witnessed an accident on Hwy 60 near Rosemead. A guy in a pick up truck jumped out of his car to help a stunned guy who’d stumbled out of his totaled car…and instead of helping Stunned Guy, Pick-Up Guy threw him against the car and hand-cuffed him with those plastic things! I tried to pull over to make sure this really should be happening this way, and then I got scolded by my brother! I was forced to watch what went down fleetingly from my rearview mirror. With no brother in the car this time, I exercised my free will.
Exercising my free will is something I didn’t do enough of in 2010. I found myself being “brothered” a bit too often. Who gives a $&%)@# if I want to pull over and bond with some strangers over an injured dog? Who gives a $&%)@# if I talk to old guys in bars who are yearning for someone to listen to their glorious story just one more time? And who gives a $&%)@# if I sometimes, occasionally don’t want to do what’s expected of me? Life is about experiences – experiences like jumping off a train like a hobo and walking into a field of wild flowers (not poppies) that lead to the Emerald City in the horizon.
My challenge to you and myself for 2011 is to jump off more trains and enjoy the wild flowers. You might twist your ankle when you jump, you might get bit by a rattlesnake as you tromp towards the Emerald City, or you may lose your wallet as you jump around with glee…or you just may not.
Or, you just may…after bonding with strangers over helping a dog out of the street and see it literally come back to life, you may experience something kinda funny like one of them asking me, the preppiest of the strangers, “‘Peppur’?! Is that your gang name?”
I look forward to sharing more wild flowers with you this year!!
Peppur (http://www.peppurchambers.com/) is an actor, writer and creator/ performer of Harlem’s Night Cabaret performed by the sultry, sassy, sophisticated and sometimes funny, Brown Betties. She is currently working on, “The Brown Betties Guide: How to Look for Love In All The Wrong Places.” www.brownbetties.com Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @BrownBettie. Brown Betties perform MARCH 1st at The Mint.