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Why ‘The Green’ : Horses OK

The_Pump_House_GangI was talking with a Staples High School student today and she asked, “Why is your blog called ‘The Green’?

“Horses, that’s why,” was my crystal clear (in my mind/ not her’s) response.

An elaboration might be necessary: Sometimes, to get a point across an analogy is the way to go.

‘The Pump House Gang’, a book by Tom Wolfe, was published in 1968, the year I moved to Westport. The book is a series of non-fiction essays about the counter-culture of the 1960’s. The first essay is about, none other than, The Pump House (surfer) Gang. Without going into too much detail about them; the important thing is the attitude of the members, their view of society and the analogous similarities to a gang that I hung out with at Jesup Green(The Green), as a teenager.

Age segregation is a big theme with these young surfers from Southern California. Almost anything to do with adult attitudes is mocked. Also, the idea of easy accessibility to money, enough for food and basic living, is prominent. Hanging out at the pump house in La Jolla, California, in the mid-60’s, over looking the beach, there was a kind of transient vibe, but all the kids were from ‘good’ families. There was a prevailing world view among them; freedom from the restraints of an outmoded society was the first priority.

While I was reading last night about what Wolfe described as ‘The Life’, things were sounding very familiar. ‘The Green’ was a refuge in much the same way as the pump house.

I was reading along, totally relating to his descriptions of rebellious youth and thinking about ‘The Green’ (the hang out of the 70’s / not the Jesup Green of today), when he mentioned a certain hotel/apartment building in Burbank where the 20-30 crowd lived in the mid-60’s; the E’ Questre Inn.

Okay, so now I have to back track from reading last night to bring in the part about the horses. In the late 90’s my company moved from Hollywood over the hill to Studio City. The drive from Venice Beach everyday was wearing upon my creative sensibilities. I needed a new pad. I found a funky spot in Burbank, totally different from all the apartment complexes in The Valley.

There were apartments everywhere and they all had the same look about them, we called them ‘the coffins’. There was no way I was moving into one of ‘the coffins’. I wanted something different, unconventional if you will.

So I was in the office, with the lease girl, signing up for my new apartment at a place called The Royal Equestrian. She asked me, “Do you have a horse?” “You’re allowed to have a horse,” she continued.

“Certainly not in the apartment, you couldn’t mean…?” I responded with a questioning look in my eye.

“No, of course not, but each unit gets a corresponding stall out back,” she exclaimed.

“Do all the other tenants have horses?” I asked.

“Not all, but some do,” she said.

I was replaying this little exchange in my mind last night while reading, chuckling. Not only relating to the attitudes of the characters but having actually lived in one of the locations I became very focused on the subject and cranked the thing out last night.

When I was done, the reason for the blog being called ‘The Green’ became crystal clear to me. I just haven’t been able to put it into words yet in quite the right way. It’s for the same reason Tom Wolfe called his book The Pump House Gang; you’ll just have to read his book if you want to find out.