The Temple Comes Down

Hayes Green temple in its cleaner days Posted by Picasa

En route to the post office this afternoon, I walked through Hayes Green (the mini park at the end of my street) to discover that David Best's temporary wooden temple was finally being dismantled and taken away, to which I could think only Thank God!

The temple, built of hundreds and hundreds of intricately cut pieces of wood, was assembled in the middle of the green early this summer to celebrate the completion of Octavia Boulevard and the birth of our new little park. For a long time, it was a gathering spot, a marvel for neighborhood residents and visitors alike, and a pleasant centerpoint for the park. Encouraged by the temple's creator, people covered it in often thoughtful, sometimes heartbreaking, generally tasteful graffitti.

But then the months wore on, and the interesting inscriptions were more or less obliterated by gigantic puffy-lettered, spraypainted tags. The wood got dirty. The surrounding benches and planters and sidewalks got tagged. The temple limped to the point of being more an eyesore than a sign of celebration, and was still attractive only from a distance or at night, when it was too dark to see any of the inscriptions clearly.

So I'm glad to see it go, though I'll no longer be able to refer to it as a landmark when giving directions to my house, and I'll sort of miss the sight of the spire from elsewhere in the neighborhood. But it wasn't meant to stay forever, no matter how much I may've grown used to it.



This summer, in preparation from his move from Boston to Manhattan with his partner, Otis (officially, Mike, but I can't remember the last time I actually called him that) donated his trusty Ford Escort (a.k.a. JewBaby, for reasons only Otes the Jew can explain) to charity. I happened to be in Boston on the day JewBaby got towed away, so Otes and I decided to recreate, for one last time, the drives to and from Palo Alto that used to be the currency of our days.

Commuting was hell--as, often, were our WebTV customer care jobs--but it either allowed or forced us to become alarmingly close friends. Many, many, many hours together in a small enclosed space meant that we could either get along or go nuts. We opted for the former. And we sort of went nuts anyway.

I think my favorite thing about Otis is that he and I can sometimes exist in a world apart--a world in which plastic fish sport dark sunglasses (see above) and plastic Godzilla toys have personalities of their own, in which "WFHMBWBGDDBF" makes perfect sense, a world in which there's almost no such thing as "too inappropriate."

I'm sure I've written before about how Otes has been an incredibly steadfast and supportive friend over the years, and has done more than his fair share of dealing with my demands and blotting my snotty nose when the latest disaster hits. I love him for all of that, of course, and find it much easier to go through my days knowing he's there when I need him. But I love him most for El Tapeworm, for FishyFishy and Goj, for chainsmoking French Canadian bears and aquaducks, for Jed Pictures and Nicaragwurm, for Angry Bunny and ah wah ah ow.

I adore him, in short, because he helps make my world a more deliciously ludicrous and insane place, and because I can scarcely fathom that world without him.