Monday, February 13, 2006

Hollywood to Downtown in 3 hours (or Thank God for AC)

It was so gorgeous this weekend that I felt like getting in my cute little car and driving around, but I had nowhere to go. When in doubt, go to the library...yeah, 'cause that's the height of excitement. I have never driven downtown. Of course, I have never driven in most neighborhoods in LA, but that's beside the point. Driving's practically an oxymoron. First of all, I get lost every time I go downtown in a car, except with Roger who knows where he's going. Susan and I got lost on our way to MOCA once and ended up surrounded by some rather unsavory looking characters. A quick call to the German got us back on track. Tami and I, well, didn't get lost on our way to the Grand theater, but we got, shall we say, sidetracked by a few blocks. Yeah, that's it.
I have an excellent sense of direction. Don't laugh, I do. I've proved it time and time again. However, every freakin' street in downtown LA is one way (or so it seems) and they all go the one way that I DON'T need to go. I know the parking entrance is on Flower. I was kind of following the bus down Sunset (Cesar Chavez) and the bus turns on Grand, then Temple, then Hill. I thought I was smarter than the MTA. I thought I could circumvent this roundabout route and just take Hill (you can't) or Broadway. Somehow, I ended up where Susan and I ended up, somewhere near the river. I made a right on 7th and was finally heading in the right direction, but then traffic stopped. Traffic stopped dead for three light changes because a) about 100 people decided to cross the street, b) an Escalade was attempting to make a right turn but had to wait for all 100 people to cross the street, and c) some ass in a Cutlass Supreme (can we build one for you?) was trying to inch his way out of a parking space and into the far left lane. It was hot, Hades hot. And as I looked around, I realized I was in the same area where Randy and I once saw someone selling crack in broad daylight. Forgive me as I sound like the country bumpkin that I am, I wound the windows up tight, closed the sunroof, and turned on the AC. Phew! Safe from the crackheads and car jackers, and cool all the same.
Okay, so onward and upward, look here's Hope (as in the street). I know Hope is somewhere near the library. Yep, it surely is...only it dead ends right in front of the library and the only parking is $5-$10, because it's for The Standard. Turn around. Crap, 6th is one way. Go down to Grand, turn right. Go up Wilshire. There's Flower! Crap, it's one way too. Up to Figeroa, drive in bus lane, right onto 6th. Pass same construction workers who laughed at you earlier for making the "wha?" face. See Pershing Square. Realize you know where you're going now. Left on Olive. Left on 5th. Left on Flower. Park. Breathe deeply. Laugh at yourself for not knowing what the hell you were doing. (see map reference and follow along) Google Local - 118 East 6th Street, Los Angeles (the address is Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet...I recommend the french dip).
I was in the library less than an hour. Seriously, I picked up a set of language tapes, and just for giggles, "How to marry the man of your choice", because at my age, I am not above seeking assistance. Back out to my car, where I had to put a $1 parking fee on my debit card, and heading home. Fortunately, this time I knew where I was going. I made it home in 15 minutes.
You see people??? THIS is why I rode public transportation for so long. Had I taken the train I'd have been there in 15 minutes (each way), and had enjoyed the beautiful weather and an invigorating walk up 5th Street, instead of sitting with my foot on a clutch for three hours.

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