Saturday, July 26, 2008

How To Get Around LA Without A Car

Yes, I'm here to tell you it can be done. See, Cuzzo didn't have a car, either. But being from New York originally, I guess he's used to figuring out public transportation systems, and plus, he's almost 7 feet tall (for real, for real) so a short walk can be covered in a few seconds. A longer walk, according to him, "takes six minutes." Yeah right. More like a six minute car-ride... but that's later in the story.

He was working when we walked in, and greeted us at the front desk of the LA Mart, checking our bags in the coat check. He walked us around the building, showing us the various fancy furniture show rooms--especially the ones that served food and or/alcohol. I couldn't quite figure out why some of the showrooms (really the ones that had trinkets rather than furniture) served alcohol, and I was too tired to really want any. But I did eat an ear of corn ("grown by me on my farm!" the tres gay furniture salesrep told us excitedly) grilled on a pancake griddle and coated with a lime-flavored butter.

Since Cuzzo had to finish his tour of duty, TheCat and I walked around the area. There was nothing. And I do mean nothing. We walked for blocks... losing all sense of distance since 1.) LA is flat b.) LA is spread out c.) THERE WERE NO PEOPLE ON THE STREET and d.) there were very few cars on the street. We walked and walked and walked, finally coming up on the Staples Center, home of the Purple and Gold. The Circus was in town, and it was there that we saw the most people, apparently coming out of a show.

As we walked, TomCat started to talk, and I decided again that I really liked him. Even if what he says isn't always what I want to hear, and even if I think his reasoning for things is sometimes a little self-serving. But there's honesty and integrity, which is hard to find in folks these days. Particularly men.

We walked back the Mart where they were now having some kind of industry themed party... and Cuzzo was down for the free beers so we stuck around for a bit. Then Cuzzo wanted to follow his co-workers back to The Palms Restaurant, which TheCat and I had passed on our walk. All we really wanted to do was to go someplace and put down our bags, but no... since Cuzzo didn't drive and everything we wanted was in the opposite direction of home, that had to wait. I was tired. My ears were completely blocked and I couldn't hear shit, but what the hell... How often do you get to wander LA?

So we walk back to the restaurant but it was a.) expensive and b.) we weren't comfortable enough for a sitdown dinner, and so we left. Cuzzo took us on the train/tram/fake subway system LA has going, to Hollywood Boulevard. And we walked some more, TheCat carrying all the bags except for my backpack. I was tired. I know he was tired cuz he'd had less (um no) sleep than me. Points for TheCat, because a lesser man would have begun to get really really cranky... and he maintained. I was impressed. And, what the hell..... How often do you get to walk Hollywood Boulevard???

I don't even really remembering stopping to eat anywhere. I know we meant to, but somehow it got late. Had there been no luggage there would have been a million places I wanted to stop in. Cuzzo was trying to catch up with some folk, but folk were scarce. Cuzzo said it's cuz the streets roll up early in LA (which is something I remember from my single/traveling-for-work days) so everyone gets their party on early and pretty much disappears.

Finally, too tired to move much further, we sat on a bench in front of some mall on the Boulevard, and just people-watched. There must have been some kind of a party somewhere in the mall we were in, cuz all kinds of young girls--scantily clad and of varying odd mixtures of ethnicities kept appearing, walking somewhere inside the mall... and then leaving shortly thereafter. Outside on the sidewalk, there were people dressed up as various characters from various movies, and TheCat asked two of them to pose together so that he could pretend he was breaking up a fight between them:
which was vastly entertaining to everyone... including the actors.

Finally Cuzzo had mercy on us and we began the three-train journey back to his house. Cuzzo, to be fair, was extremely excited that TheCat had come to see him, and kept saying "Nobody EVER comes to visit me out here!" and I know he wanted to show us as much as he could in a short time. And he called his housemate to ask if he could come pick us up from the train station, cuz he said even though it was a "6-minute walk" from the train to his house, it was late and we were tired.

We got off the train in Crenshaw. We came downstairs to a wide expanse of road, very dark road at that, except for where it ran under the train station. TheCat leaned over to me and said "I bet it's more than a six-minute walk to his house" and I laughed. Cuz it was. And Crenshaw isn't exactly a place I'd feel comfortable walking around in... and I've drunkenly stumbled down 'Two-Five at 3 and 4A in the morning many a time back in my day, and TheCat hails from East Harlem, but Crenshaw is home of the driveby. I personally was awfully glad of the ride.

Once in the house, TheCat perked up, especially when we all realized how much alcohol Cuzzo and his housemate had there. But I was too tired to drink; I did a shot of vodka to numb the voices in my head and curled up on Cuzzo's donated bed in TheCat's T-shirt (I didn't' bring appropriate pj's-HAHA!) and passed out.

I don't think I'd been asleep for too long before TheCat came in the room and lay down next to me. And because I've learned to think about what pisses me off before I go shooting off at the mouth, and because I'd had at least 24 hours to distill what exactly had pissed me off about TheCat the morning before, I was able to tell him something very simple... that I'm not going to be one of his Cattoys. That whatever happens with us, that's all I need him to know and that's all I'm going to say about it. He didn't say much then but a few days later he said "I don't treat you like a toy, do I?" and I said, no honestly, you don't.

Which is something I like about him cuz he remembers shit I tell him.

The second thing I needed to tell him was that I was going to Vegas come hell or high water. I knew he probably had slept all of about an hour in the last 24, and I have already learned that like most big cats, TheCat can spend an inordinate amount of time sleeping... and when he's really asleep not much will wake him. And so I told him he better wake up in the morning, cuz I was... and I was getting to Vegas somehow someway even if I had to cab it to some seedy bus station by myself and that if he didn't wake up on time, when he finally did, I'd be gone. To Vegas.

He laughed and said everything was going to be alright, but just in case I texted both Shoefly and the Professor, asking each of them to call me at 9:30 NY time Sunday morning, and to keep calling till I answered.

But I needn't have had so little faith, cuz he actually woke up before me, and before my first wake up call, which was Shoefly.

Housemate drove us (and Cuzzo who had to go to work) to Greyhound in some weird part of LA. We were trying to make an 8A bus. We got on line and realized we weren't going to make that bus, but as it turned out, the bus had been sold out anyhow so there were a bunch of folk who had tickets already for that bus and who couldn't get on. So Greyhound sent two buses for the next departure, at 10A. Cuzzo left for work before we knew all this, and there wasn't much he could have done anyhow.

TheCat was restless by now, and the past 36 hours was starting to grate on him, and plus he wasn't able to find something he was looking for. He told me he needed to go for a walk, but he was only gone about 20 minutes or so--the length of time it took me to call Poppy first, and then BigBear. At about 9:30A two buses rolled up to the gate and folks started to line up.

A rumor went through the line that one of the buses was going to make regular stops and would take 7 hours, and the other, the make-up one from the 8A departure time, was going to go express.

When it was our turn to board I stepped up to the tall, brownskinned bus driver and asked "Which bus will be express to Vegas?"
"What's 'express'?" the driver deadpanned.
"OK, faster than normal" I said and he thumbed over to his left. "That one".
"That's the bus I want" I said and TheCat and I boarded, FINALLY on our way to Las Vegas.

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