Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lawndale Krishna

I listed an old Yamaha keyboard of mine on craigslist. This was part of my goal to purge the house of junk, especially large items that were simply sitting about the house demanding handouts from the dust gods. For $30, I figured it would sail out of the house, and I would be $30 richer with one less thing to dust.

The first person to e-mail me wanted it for her young son, but couldn't get over here before the weekend to pick it up. So, she asked a friend of hers in Lawndale to pick it up.

Lawndale is a small town tucked between Gardena and Hawthorne. It's the kind of place you drive through, in spite of its glitzy electronic billboard on the 405 freeway and endless stream of decaying strip malls.

Lawndale is a city where people park cars on the front lawn.

I asked my buyer for her friend's name (safety first!). Nirantara, she wrote, would come by on Thursday at 3:00.

Nirantara arrived at my doorstep at 3:15 - right on time, more or less. I opened my door, and a short, bald, middle-aged white man was wiping his feet on my doormat. He removed his blue slippers (the bedroom variety), and introduced himself. His voice, unlike his name, indicated he was a native of New York. Dressed neatly in a long blue striped tunic-type robe, black framed glasses, and a generous supply of cologne, he was all business, and hastily test drove the keyboard. His strong scent annoyed the dog, who grumbled during his brief visit.

I struggled not to stare at the badly painted and crumbling yellow stripe that creeped from the top of his head down the center of his face, and instead, related the many features of the keyboard. He quickly realized his friend was getting a very good deal, and gladly paid with six crumpled five dollar bills. I helped him carry his purchase to his car, and we thanked each other. I think this is what's called a 'win/win' situation, according to that 7 Habits book my husband raves about.

Honestly, I don't know if he is actually a Krishna. When I was a kid, Krishnas were colorful, albeit annoying fixtures at airports and shopping malls. They wore robes, chanted while beating tambourines and danced around. In 1970, unless you were Yul Brenner or Mr. Clean, bald was not cool. Being chased by a group of chanting bald men was more than a little disconcerting.

I figured they all moved to Berkeley during the 1980's.

So Nirantara, I apologize if I've made a mistake and you're not a Krishna, and just a nice guy who ignores fashion trends.

On the other hand, if you are a Krishna, I'm glad I no longer have to see you at the mall. Nothing personal.


annette owens said...


No one parks their car on the grass in Lawndale. Lots of union and blue collar workers and teachers live here, and work in nearby cities where the costs are higher simply because "Beach" is in their name.
So, don't be elist; after all, have you heard what the beach city folks say about Torrance?..

So Cal Peeper said...

Actually, I have, and they're all true - remember Bob Staake?