Six Lanes Going Nowhere Fast
By Annette _Fergusson on November 06, 2010
With my trip to LA firmly behind me now by nearly two weeks I have returned to my cozy domestic corner on Vancouver Island. Once home I was presented with not one, but two opportunities for employment ending any ideas I had of enjoying a non-working status quo for a just wee bit longer. As it happens, I was the successful candidate for both positions and the craziness of working full-time for the public education system begins again. It is also of course the sole cause in the delay of this post.
My adventures in LA were nothing short of amazing! Even the trip to the airport involved a flat tire for pete’s sake. How’s that for starting a vacation off with some adrenaline? Once I arrived YVR (Vancouver International Airport for those of who reside south of my border) I had the perma-grin of the century plastered all over my face. I was on my way.
Walking through YVR I listened to Punjabi, French, and other languages roll off of the tongues of my fellow travellers. That’s what so cool about Canada. Anywhere you go, at any time, you are bound to run into various cultures and ethnicities. Yup, multiculturalism, we got that shit wrapped up.
After my two and a half hour flight into LA (thank you ITunes) I was high on life. I met my sister in law at baggage and we shared a Hallmark moment. Once we started talking I swear to you, we did not stop for five days.
We drove out to her condo in Long Beach and talked until 1 am. Now, as a parent of a school aged child and a three year old I can assure you that under normal circumstances I most certainly would NOT be staying up until 1 am. No sir, not this girl. Morning comes fast and furious around my house. It always seems as though I have stuff to do from the minute my eyeballs open until the minute my tired body hits the sheets at night. So, going to bed at 1 am was a real treat because I knew I could sleep in-and I relished every second of it.
That was until I woke up and came to the earth shattering realization that my beloved sister-in-law is not, I repeat, NOT a coffee drinker. Oh crap. Luckily, however the woman loved me enough to buy me some instant coffee. I’m not fussy-caffeine is caffeine. Once my blood stream was appropriately caffeinated I realized something monumentally important to the success of this adventure: I was able to relax.
From here I’ll spare you the day to day gory details of dragging our asses through Nordstrom’s, Bloomingdales and every other store we shopped at over the next five days. And yes, you read that correctly; it was every day for five days. Just know this:
We came, we shopped, and we conquered. And Visa loves us.
One of the first places we went to was Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood. My sister-in-law had been raving about what a fantastic place it how her girlfriends go out for dinner there a regular basis and it didn’t disappoint. The food was great and the so were the staff (a shout out to Jerry is in order here). Eating dinner surrounded by a room full of gorgeous gay men who have absolutely no interest in you, other than to make you burst out in a fit of shits and giggles (another shout out to Jerry is in order here) was a refreshing and nice way to kick start our visit together.
One thing I quickly realized about SoCal (short for Southern California for those of you who like me, had no idea what that stands for) was that folks there like to go out for dinner a lot. Actually, not just dinner, but any meal is reason enough to meet with friends and visit. In my Northern part of the world we tend to visit in-home more and not out in restaurants quite as much. Either way, it was a pleasant change from slopping food from the frying pan on to my hungry family’s dinner plates. I assure you all I quite enjoyed dining out and not having to cook.
One evening we had dinner in Pasadena at La Luna Negra (translated means ‘The Black Moon’). The décor really added to the atmosphere of the restaurant. The murals on the wall and huge chandeliers were super fun! Yes, you read it correctly-super fun! There was more food in front of the 9 of us than we could possibly eat in one sitting, and the Sangria never quit flowing. It must be said, (and those of you in the know, and you know who you are as you’re reading this) that there was a phrase born out of a rather passionate conversation between two dinner guests that really sums up the free-spirited feeling of the evening:
And I quote: “relax; it’s just a blow job.”
(This quote was taken directly from the mouth of J. Somebody Or Other)
Good times, good times. Ahem.
It’s important to note that this trip has its more serious side as well as blow job tomfoolery. My sister in law took me to the hospital where she works and introduced me to the amazing people she works with in the NICU unit. The babies there are so tiny and fragile that it just takes your breath away. The miracle of their little lives is nothing short of an inspiration. One thing caught my eye though as I entered the hospital; a sign for a ‘baby surrender’ program. I had heard of such a program and was aware that the first of its kind in BC had recently opened begun operating in Vancouver BC at St. Paul’s Hospital but had never actually seen it. For those readers who don’t already know, a Safe Surrender Program is designed to provide women a safe, anonymous means to surrender their baby- no questions asked. These programs are a testament to the realization at the government level that women need to an alternative to giving birth in a Wal-Mart bathroom.
One of the most astounding things that I saw while in LA was the sheer volume of traffic. Especially at 7:00pm on a Friday night. I have to know: who are you all and where the hell are you headed to?? There were six lanes of traffic on the freeway in each direction and they were busy all the time. And it seemed as though no one understood that driving faster really didn’t get you anywhere sooner. Brake lights flashed for miles as we inched our way closer to our destination. It was six lanes going nowhere fast.
Ah yes, the billboards. One advertisement jumped out at me more than any other. This is not only because of the product/service the billboard was advertising, but because of the sheer volume of the number of billboards this company used. Anyone want hazard a guess at what product/ service was? Here’s a clue:
Beauty + Acceptance + Happiness = a profound desire to be thin
Photo : LA Times
I just want to say one last thing about this and then I’m going to put the topic to bed (because that’s not what this post is about), and that is this: in a two mile stretch of freeway I counted five billboards advertising the LapBand. Seriously. I smell a future blog post on the horizon.
Since I declared new shopping center in Santa Monica my new residence for two whole days and managed to turn shopping into an art form-I figured I had better try and inject some actual art into my trip. So, in an attempt to get cultured we headed over the Getti. It was there that I saw a very impressive series called Girl Culture by Lauren Greenfield. It was an amazing collection of photographs that capture the varied ways young girls in our culture experience sexuality, peer groups, and body image. The series really got me thinking about the pressure that the media places on young women to act and dress in ways that they are emotionally and physically not ready to handle. I liked it so much I went to the gift /souvenir shop and asked for the book which I promptly bought.
On the second to last day of my trip I ventured outside of my comfort zone and ate tofu. I’m still alive and blogging so it obviously didn’t kill me. It had been a solid fifteen years or so since my last rendezvous with tofu (sorry for the cheesy rhyme) and while it was okay, the scenery was what impressed me. Starting with this crazy butterfly and ending with the ever colourful characters on the Venice Beach boardwalk.
Since I was still on a cooking-free, kid-free, husband-free, work-free high I was probably not in the right frame of mind to make major decisions. I was however able to somehow rationalize the acquisition of a new tattoo. Truthfully I entered the tattoo shop in an attempt to avoid an aggressive street vendor who was serenading me. I ducked into the shop and met Steve (he was nice enough to touch up the older tattoo) and whose picture does no justice to just how blue his eyes were. Honestly, the man could have talked me into getting a full sleeve his eyes were THAT blue.
This new tattoo is a Chinese symbol that means ‘feminine’ and lives just below my other Chinese symbol that means ‘courage’. That first tattoo was meant to represent the courage it took to leave my first husband and strike out on my own in the world with a daughter freshly weaned off my breast. This last tattoo is a testament to the growth I’ve experienced since that time in my life, and the way in which I have embraced feminism and my own femininity.
The trip eventually came to an end. I left feeling the warmth of the people and places I’d seen in there and cherishing the many new and wonderful friendships I’d formed. I’d made memories that will last me a lifetime. The trip was everything I needed it to be and I’m thankful I got to experience it. I have to say here and now that while it’s true I left my corner of the world five days prior feeling tired and creatively drained when it was time to leave LA I really needed to see my husband and two kids. For all of my whining and sarcasm about my busy life as a wife and mother I was aching to reach out and hold them all again. It was wonderful thing to see their smiling faces and hug them. As we left the airport headed out for the two and half drive home (I told you I was isolated) I asked myself whether five days was too long to be away from them all.
And then the kids started fighting in the back seat of the truck and I mentally started planning my return trip to LA in the Spring. Cheers,
Blogging about all things women.
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