Escape From L.A.


Today was a long day.  A trying day.  A day in which I was further gratified to know that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I was never happier to see the toll plaza to the Bay Bridge in my life.

There is a moment, a moment that I will always remember, that I was reminded tonight as we wound down toward the toll plaza– when you have been driving for a long time,the first was when I drove out here almost nine years ago from Wisconsin, and you have been looking at dead burnt grass and hot landscapes, then suddenly you are lifted up into the air and you come over the freeway and there she is–San Francisco.

The fog is curling lightly around the spires of the Golden Gate.  I can see the Trans America building, there is Coit tower.  I can tell you just from the apartment buildings perched on the top of the hills where I am in the city–where I actually live, you can see it from the freeway since it’s one of the higher hills (you want my ass, get on a bike baby and ride up and down Taylor Street).  It is this gorgeous thing of glass and metal and water and soft light and I always am moved.


Perhaps more so today as it really was a long ass day.  I joked with Pell that I was going to write a screenplay and call it Escape From L.A.  Because I apparently could not.

Really, I know that it was my first performance in L.A. and I was truly judgemental of how I performed, but apparently, L.A. thought I was great, because little heathen that she is, she kept me there far, far longer than I had any desire to be.  It was Ground Hog Day all day long.

I was up again early–between Friday and Saturday I believe I may have gotten a cummulative ten hours of sleep.  I am now highly aware that my inner alarm clock is set fairly well.  I went to bed around 1:30a.m/2 a.m. and was up again by 7:15a.m.  I used the bathroom, drank some water, then crawled back into bed.  No use, it was not my bed, it was occupied by another person–I got the experience of having to swap out my bed last night.  Not exactly happy about that, but I tried to roll with it.

Note to self, note to self that I made all day long: there is being accommodating and flexible, then there is being steam rolled into doing things that you don’t want to do.  Give up your private bed, albeit in a room I was sharing with two other people, to sleep in a room with another person whose gear smelled, that’s a nice way of saying stank.  It fucking stank to high holy heaven.

Side bar–wet suits should not be hung in communal spaces.  They fucking stink people.  Oh my god.  I just about gagged.  I am sensitive to smell, so I usually don’t make a big fuss about it, what bothers me does not normally bother other people.  But I was knocked out by the smell of that wet suit.  I don’t think I ever can go surfing now that smell may remain with me for the rest of my life.

I also agree to ride with people back to San Francisco who don’t realize that you actually are on a bit of a time constraint.  My fault here, I take full responsibility.  I was to go back early today and I said I could be a little flexible with my time–I did not properly communicate my needs.  I did not have to be on the road as early as the person had been told.  But when I said that I meant, hey, we don’t have to be on the road by 7a.m.; 8 a.m. will work,or 9 a.m.  Especially as one of the people who was to be sharing the car was still asleep at the hotel.

I had heard nothing by 9:45 a.m.  Despite texting and attempting to make contact.  I had been packed, eaten breakfast, had coffee, done my morning writing pages, and was sitting twiddling my thumbs.  I find out later that another set of people have stepped in and are taking my spot in the car.  Had the director not intervened, I may still be on the road, something else to be grateful for.

The rest of the house was making a move to go hang with fellowship in Pacific Palisades.  So I make the decision to join them, will probably do me good to get a little of the solution into my morning mix before hitting the road.  I tell the director I can be flexible with my time and she arranges to get me where I need to go with another group of the cast members.

However, the timing is still a bit skewed and he and I end up in a camper trailer being driven down the Santa Monica highway at noon by another set of cast members to a hotel by the LAX airport where the next set of drivers is waiting for us to get there so we may leave from L.A. to San Francisco.

By this time I am in tears.  I am hours behind when I thought I would leave.  I am hungry.  I am tired.  I am angry.

Uh oh.

Then the driver and his “navigator” spend a lot of time conversing/bickering/discussing, opening and closing various maps, and trying to figure out the proper way to get to the motel where the other cast members are waiting for us.  They succeed in getting us lost and then, oh yes, stuck in Santa Monica beach board walk traffic in what is now the middle of a Sunday afternoon beach day.  Oh my god.

I start to cry.  I can’t help it.  I call Barnaby, who is supposed to come by the house and drop off a cruiser bike for me and I need to hand over the last payment on the tattoo, and tell him I will not be getting back when I thought I would be getting back.

He talks me from the ledge and I breathe deeply and watch the strip malls float by.  We are going so slow and everything looks the same, it is as though we are not moving at all.

It takes some time, but we make it to the hotel.  Transfer all the luggage from the camper trailer to Ralph’s car.  I mention to Ralph the neither of us has had a chance to eat lunch, there’s an In-N-Out Burger just passed the way we came, can we hit it?  I find out later, Ralph has some hearing issues.

I have some dietary restrictions and In-N-Out is probably my best choice.  Had I known what was to happen next I would have gotten more stuff at the Whole Foods I popped into yesterday on Wilshire.  But I did not know that Ralph would whirl us passed that In-N-Out, past another, and only to get us on the highway to pull off over an hour later at a gas station/deli/tackle and bait shop.

McDonalds was the other option.  I would rather eat my foot than McDonalds.

I have to say.  The deli guy was very nice and I was able to get a little sustenance for the road.  But the walls of bait and tackle for fishing next to the deli counter was a bit off-putting.

Just a bit.

Of course we hit traffic.  Because that’s the way we roll people.

I just gave up at one point and closed my eyes.  I actually napped on and off the whole way back.  Only to wake up briefly at gas stations to use the restrooms and buy a bottle of water and once a piece of fruit and  a Naked smoothie.

We finally get back into the city and although it has been mentioned a number of times as we are about to exit off the highway that it is Pride and the Civic Center will be closed off, guess what we drove straight into?

But I got home.   I am home.  And tomorrow, maybe even a little later tonight, the whole experience will be a laughable thing.  I survived.  My cats were quite happy to see me and Barnaby will drop off the bike tomorrow and I will pay him out the last bit on the tattoo as he prepares to leave for Paris.

And I have the first episode of True Blood Season Four down loading.

Let’s hope it’s not set in L.A.

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