Woke up in a haze. Groggy. Don't want to go anywhere. Exhausted.
Somehow that 'cold' that overtook me days ago is still present. Not yet defeated. So maybe it's not a cold – or maybe your mother was right, and the best way to deal with a cold is to relax and do absolutely nothing. Good luck finding a day where that's possible. Even getting some hot lemon tea seems an impossibility on the road.
So there I was, awake – but just barely – looking around our alcove. Couches had been turned to make the living room our room with a mattress in the middle, drapes blocking off the rest of the world all around as walls, and a spread of water bottles, green teas, and light snacks to rival any four star hotel.
Maybe it wasn't so much that I didn't want to leave because I was sick, as much as it was I didn't want to leave because this was the most amazing place I'd stayed in ages! We were with a host who went that one step beyond. Something to open my eyes; something which I'll have to strive for when people start shooting on up my way looking for a place to crash for a few nights.
I made my way to the shower, and then when all clean and squeaky started to pack up. Getting to and from the shower requires navigating the obsticle course that is the dogs. There's one small fuzzy weiner puppy, but then there are the two beasts. One, the mastiff/lab mix I called The Beast, from the Sandlot, the first moment I saw him. The other, nearly as big, is a mastiff/pit mix. Now you'd think these would be terrifying creatures, and in the beginning they were. But after a few moments, your brain registering that they're safe, and them wanting nothing more than attention, all was well. Now after a few days, I'd be sad to see them go.
My resolve to never have my own dog was weakening. Still – there's the fact that these monsters must cost thousands of dollars a year to feed. A great ferocious beast like the two big ones can't keep the scary people away without good full doggy tummies. Although, you wouldn't really know they were all that spooky had you seen the biggest in his “Top Gun” aviator costume, or dressed as Darth Vader.
Then there's the small one. This one, from the moment I saw him, looked like an alligator. I was reminded of Sparky from the old Sesame Street clip. More laid back than the others, this one was not free of the costuming. No, I'd seen him as a monkey, and a dragon/alligator, and a piggy.
Saying goodbye to these dogs before making my way out, packing the car, and locking the door behind me was a tragic moment.
Then we were off to the Flooring company to visit Jen and drop her keys off. Normal people have to work – it's what they do. So off we went. The second I stepped through the door the receptionist said, “you're for Jen – this way.” How was she described my looks, so as she knew right away, I wondered.
We said good-bye to Jen and her room mate, while I marveled at the size of their industrial sized printer which must have been six feet wide. If I worked there, I may have tried to sneak a few posters – or giant life sized picture of myself, specifically the one of me on the sand dune in Africa. But there are probably safe guards to prevent such misuse of company property. Probably.
With keys left behind, it was back to the car, and down the road to Santa Monica. All twenty miles of it. The transition didn't take long, and soon we were at another friend's place, grabbing keys from a mailbox, struggling to open a gate, and getting inside. A note and a cell phone I could use were waiting. We quickly dropped our bags then headed back out into L.A.
The last time I was here I went to the laundromat where Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog was filmed. I wanted to buy mini-Tide's for people, but the machine was busted. Katherine, also a fan of the musical, came this time. The machine? Still broken. But – there was, at least, a quarter machine which we fed bill after bill into trying to get the last few state quarters we need: Colorado, Texas, Iowa, and there's another that defeats my grasp. We ended up one closer to completion when I pulled Vermont out of the beast, but then as Katherine fed all her money the machine stopped. We had emptied all the change from it. Oops. Time to make a quick escape, and leave the locals with their clothes, probably wondering why we were taking a video of ourselves singing. Strange that, I'll admit.
Mission failed, and succeeded, more or less we headed out to the last stop. I wanted to find Echo Lake. I spent a day wandering last time, not finding it. Instead I climbed a hill, ended up on a police shooting range, and seeing Dodger's Stadium. This time I was prepared. The GPS showed me the location, right beside the laundromat, but the opposite way I'd walked last time. We drove down, parked, and then wandered around the lake – more of a small pond really.
Families were picnicking, other couples seemed to be mid-stride in the process of creating families, while others were just running around the path – what a crazy fad, this running is. It was here that Captain Hammer took his solo paddle boat ride. The paddle boats were locked away in the boat house today, but the pond was still a good excursion. A secret centre bird-island was padlocked away from public access, and no swimming signs cut off the only other entrance. What privileged lives these fowl must live.
Dinner was a french dip sandwich, potato salad, chili, and macaroni salad at a place called Phillppe's 1001 N Alameda St. (the N Alameda St. in LA, not the one in Compton. It's probably best not to make that mistake.) Delicious, delicious, delicious.
And then back, once more, to Santa Monica.
When our host got in, she told us about a meet up down on the beach. There was a Beatles cover band playing, and a bunch of people were headed out. When we got there, a basket of goodies in hand, and blanket to throw down, a number of her friends had arrived – and thousands of people filled the sandy space, not for the band (they were playing on the pier) but just to be out together on a Thursday night.
There is no analogous event like this where I'm from. No large coming together just because. The closest I could think was Cherry Blossom festival in Japan.
The night stretched on with conversation, cupcakes, bricks of cheese, and of course bands. When the beach cleared, and we started to head back home I was shocked that it was only ten thirty. I'm getting old. I was ready for bed. I don't remember there being a time when I was sleepy at such a foolish hour. But there I was, unable to keep my eyes open as we laid down on the pull out couch. Darkness first, then sleep.
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