Where to start? Day two was really just day one, since I didn’t arrive in The City of Angels until 8:30 the night before. The bus ride wasn’t so much as grueling as it was excruciatingly boring and uneventful. There was some pretty scenery I drank a pint of Ancient Age, and chatted with my neighbor. I spent most of the ride fretting over slowly dying phone and laptop which eventually crapped out and left me without music for the last hour of the trip. As I rode (mostly in silence, I went over in my mind the countless scenarios of how this gamble could go wrong. I worried about the small amount of money I had brought to survive on for two months. I agonized over the fact that I was offered a job (that I had applied for) while I was standing in line waiting for a bus to take me away from a sure thing. I deliberated my reasons for packing up and running off to La-La Land for uncertainty. In the end the whiskey just whispered to me that God rewards those who take chances. Of course this would seem foolish to anyone who’s ever died doing something reckless, but those suckers aren’t here now are they!
Once I arrived in the magical city of L.A. I had to secure a cab to slowly drive me over to my new home. I met my new roommates (whom I haven’t seen since)! They seemed a little surprised that despite my email address and screen name that I wasn’t Asian. They were and the guy I’m renting this room most certainly is. What they don’t know is that my love of Asian cinema and legend, not to mention food, makes me pretty close. Only as much as my love of Guinness and Bushmills makes me Irish! I digress, after quickly taking care of the two things that mattered-paying my rent for the next two months up front, and establishing a secure internet connection for the old laptop-I quickly set out to meet up with an old friend.
Before I even thought about coming down to L.A.; people had told me that it was the one city I couldn’t walk. I am a rare American that genuinely hates cars. I have existed for 33
It shares a few things with Oakland, like the entire neighborhoods devoid of English signs, but unlike Oakland the L.A. public transportation system sucks. Which is saying a lot since previously Oakland’s AC Transit was one of the worst public transit systems I had ever had the displeasure to ride on. Now we have a new number one. Perhaps I’m being too premature, after all it’s not my fault that I don’t know the system by heart my first two hours in town. Oh but it is L.A. Metros fault that the bus stops carry no type of signage explaining routs or times. I mean they put these little boxes at ever tenth sign post, but by the time I arrived they were all covered in straight scribble, not even a vague attempt at tagging just “I have a can of paint, I’ll test it here”! Perhaps I’m spoiled by SF’s electronic displays alerting passenger to the next arrival of a bus so we don’t just stand there like jack-asses periodically stepping out into the street to see if a bus is two miles away.
I made some bonheaded mistakes trying to reach Sunset from West 23rd, but I honestly thought I could walk 5.7 miles. Seemed like something I’ve done more than a few times. I once walked from 120th Street in Manhattan all the way to the very end through the finacial district and all to wave at the water before heading back up to 76th and Broadway. Granted I was tripping on acid and downing Colt 45’s the whole way, but I did it! I’ve walked across vast distances in the suburbs of Atlanta to reach the one tiny theater that was showing the Cowboy Bebop movie in the pouring rain no less! Why can’t I make it across 5.7 miles of L.A. palm trees and 64 degree weather at night? Is it because there is no straight way to go anywhere here, that each destination you wish to reach involves either crossing over or under and elaborate serpentine highway that seems to carry a million cars at all hours? All of these things would be chalked up to I just don’t know my way around and learning curb bullshit that you go through when you first land in a strange new land. Yet there was another thing that stuck in my craw.
It would seem logical that in a town of over a million people and countless tourist and visitors, that there would maybe be more than I don’t know 4 cabs in this place! That if it is widely known that you need a car to survive or simply get from point A to point B, and that not everybody is going to be able to own one, that there would be more taxis. It only makes sense right? Or that they wouldn’t all be sitting around a handful of locations waiting for nothing. I mean I get it hang around bars and hotels, but also drive around and pick people up. I guess it’s my fault for living in places where you can just step out and wave your arm and a cab shows up! I mean perhaps that’s just me being spoiled again! All in all it took me it took me over an hour to make it those 5.7 miles, and once I arrived I had missed an oppurtunity of meeting someone who I would have been totally stoked to meet.Despite the fact that I didn’t know that before hand isn’t gonna help me sleep any better.
That’s a lie, I don’t sleep anyway, seriously, check the time I published this blog, no sleep till Crooklyn-which is a movie not a real place you can ever visit! Needless to say the rest of the evening was all up after that ordeal, my friend even gave me gift certificate for my favorite thing in the world-Comics! We went out had some drinks laughed and talked and I stumbled into my new abode around 3 crashed out on a tiny bed with no sheets. Woke up promptly woke up at 9 with the sun beaming in my eyes! Rolled out of bed and made my way back out into the streets to search for food and smokes. Found it odd that Marlboro’s are like 4.75 most places while Camels are the same price as they are in San Fran! If I didn’t love my homeland so much I might just betray it for those god awful Virginian so-called cowboy-killer! But I do! My love of North Carolina supercedes my desire for cheaper smokes, and runs deeper than my tattoo of the states outline which adorns my wrist! My dear old friend (also Carolina born and bred) understands this too. Unfortunately she was unable to fuck off and hang out with me on my first full fledged day. The two or three other people I know down here were equally unavailable as well, so I was left to my own devices and set out to explore some of the places I had seen in movies.
I started the journey with a trip to Ralph’s, not sure what movie that was from but I had totally heard of it before I got down here. I picked up some necessities and came back for a quick shower and change of outfits before heading out to check on Venice Beach. I won’t even go into the hour and half long bus ride, that was advertised as the fucking express bus. When I arrived finally I was greeted with some pretty strong gust of wind and a face full of sand. If I were the literary type I might have called it an ominous wind that held a foreboding message of things to come, or perhaps the winds of change were blowing me into town. That shit just sounds corny-it was fucking windy. But it was also fucking beautiful and looked exactly like it did in the movies. There was even that one guy you see in ever movie where someone comes to Venice beach. You know the one-that guy! He’s probably stupid rich and stupid crazy! Actually it wasn’t as like the movies as I had expected, chalk that up to the unusually strong winds. Everyone I talked to said it was normally more packed on less breezy days. I don’t know what that one guy was talking about it was a little windy yeah, the grains of sand blowing around felt like glass shards when they hit you, but goddamn it was fucking super gorgeous. I didn’t see any of those chicks from the Van Hallen or ZZ top videos that I expected, I guess I’m like 30 years too late, but I’m gonna go back and check if they’re there when it’s not so windy!
After I ate some decently priced Kansas City style BBQ, and drank a little I got sleepy like a big baby, plus my phone was dying so I headed back to base camp. It’s kinda odd that my phone’s battery used to last through my entire 8 hour shift at work back in SF, but can’t seem to go a few hours in L.A.! I don’t get it, but I won’t call it a conspiracy just yet. I took a little nap and tried to go back out once the sun went down. Only to get turned around several times on this uninformative bus set-up they got going on. I spent four hours riding bus after bus, even had to hop on a train at one point, spent about ten bucks because these dip-a-dee-doo-nada’s don’t give you a transfer for your dollar fifty! I know that sounds petty but I’d rather pay two bucks like in the Bay and get a transfer I can use for two hours rather than paying a buck fifty to ride a bus that shows up when it feels like it one-way! Needless to say the frustration caused me to give upon pursuit of booze which is not just a disservice to my liver, but and affront to my god alcohol and all that I believe in. Needless to say sobriety is one of the things keeping me up till four in the mourning typing all this out. Now tomorrow night I will go out with a clearer understanding of the transit system here in the City of Angels and hopefully I can return to being the Indiana Jones of Alcoholism rather than the Don Quixote!