Like many people, I try to model myself on Demi Moore, and if nitrous oxide is good enough to make her forget her worries, then it’s good enough for me. My particular worry was that I was going to the dentist to have some awkward fillings replaced and since my man is of the new, caring breed of dentist, he suggested some nitrous would help me float away as he was doing all kinds of horrible things to my lower right molars.
The nitrous helped at least little, enough that afterwards I floated out of there not feeling quite competent to drive home, so I decided I should walk it off, and wander around the neighborhood streets for half an hour or so.
My dentist’s office is on Wilshire Boulevard, and I’d been thinking about Ray Bradbury being picked up and interrogated by the cops for walking on Wilshire, though I can’t say that’s entirely why I decided to walk along 8th and 9th Street instead. And in fact I did see the cops pull somebody over on 8th Street – but he was in a car, so I guess that doesn’t count.
Anyway, I’m here to tell you that nitrous oxide makes for a very interesting walk. I felt fine, if a little floaty, but everything around me seemed simultaneously very chaotic and also deeply fascinating; the sky, the palm trees, the building my dentist’s office was in, the cacti in people’s front yards, the parked cars, the gingerbread house roofs. Sometimes I can experience this without nitrous oxide, but I certainly hadn’t been experiencing it that day before I went into the dentist.
And then suddenly around a corner and there at the end of somebody’s driveway a kind of hallucination: mountains, a moat, a fantasy castle. Hey man, this is good stuff!
And one thing I noticed was that a lot of the streets around my dentist’s office share names with various pop or rock acts - Burnside as in (R.L. - who sings "Walkin' Blues"), Cochran (as in Eddie – singer of “Walk the Dog”), Detroit (as in Marcella of Shakespeare’s Sister – “I walk past posters selling simple sex ooh!” from “Dirty Minds”). There were also a couple of near misses Cloverdale - not a million miles from Coverdale (David of Whitesnake “Walking In The Shadow of the Blues”) and Dunsmuir, (somewhat like John Densmore of the Doors – “And then he walked on down the hall”).
Even at the time it did occur to me that if your knowledge of pop music is wide enough you can probably think of somebody with just about any name, and most of them will have performed a song with walking in the title or the lyric. Still, at the time, it seemed somehow very significant.