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..: Has Been
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Whenever I see Peter, he is in his underwear, standing in the hall looking over the railing towards the West side of our apartment complex. The first words out of his mouth are always something about the cool air, and how he needs it to cool off. Tonight, he said "Hi Perry. Just enjoying the cool breeze." Peter turns 76 soon. His teeth have been hurting him lately. He says he's getting some new ones for his top row, and his bottom 5 have been really loose, and they are going to extract them soon. All his teeth are bad, I think he means to tell me. Which is going to stall his singing career. He hasn't sung since March, when he sang an aria.

The first time I stopped to talk to Peter, he introduced himself as a "has been." He has been in movies, sung with the stars, and lived the high life. Peter is no stranger to the big screen, to the stage, and to Hollywood. Sometimes I try to imagine his big, round body in a tuxedo, belting out the passion and drama of a timeless opera as casually as others sing the ABCs. When he talks about his failing teeth, and his dislocated hip, he is fully aware that his body has betrayed him. He seems to know where he has been, and where he is now, and has accepted it. At least, he appears to. At 76, I hope I accept the way that I've run my race.

He has known his wife since she was a toddler. Maryanne works at the local city church, and sits on the board there. Lately the church has been in the Culver City news, Peter tells me. Something about politics, some sort of dispute over the church's private school. Also, did you know that the street I live on here in Culver City is actually part of LA? Peter told me that today. From Braddock to "the wash" to Sawtelle, this is technically part of LA, and not Culver City. Apparently the Thomas Guide is supposed to verify this. I'll have to look for myself soon.

I never know how to end a conversation with him. I like him, he talks a lot and is very friendly. But I always fear that I might be talking with him out a slight bit of pity, and I think that shows through at times. I never want him to think that; I just want him to think I am friendly. Heck, don't I stop and talk to Steve for hours on end in the garage? I'm just new at this, I think.
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