Hey guys! Just came back from a FANTASTIQUE trip to LA filled with a certain amount of craziness and quite a bit of fail on the parts of everyone involved, as every good trip should be.
It all started last Wednesday, when my good friend Kero turned to me and asked oh so innocently if I should like to accompany her to LA.
All right, thought I. This sounds like good fun. How much trouble can two teenage girls get into, all by themselves in a major city?
So I inquired as to when we would be leaving.
Friday, responded she. As soon as school ends.
…all right, I said. I’ll go ask.
To my surprise my mom agreed to have Kero drive me down and back to LA. She asked no questions about where we were going to stay, what we were going to eat, and what we were going to do. She handed me $100 and told me not to spend all of it.
And so it began!
Day 1: There Is A Lot Of Driving
Kero and I set out on our road trip filled with hope, anticipation, and with no idea of how long six hours in a car really was.
Kero was smart, glamorous, and brought a duffle bag and a sleeping bag. I was…less so, and brought a rolling backpack, a backpack, and a sleeping bag. This is because I am not the worldly traveler she is, and am not as accustomed to this phenomenon of “packing light.” (All your things! For three days! In one bag! How is this accomplished?)
We promptly got caught in traffic and Kero got a chance to exercise her road rage. Outside of the car she is a tall, well-mannered, polite 18-year old girl. Inside of the car she is a screaming, foul-mouthed speed freak with her legs scrunched into a too small space. She is still less screaming and foul-mouthed than I am on days when I don’t sleep enough, which explains a good deal about our friendship.
We finally hit I-5. Kero practiced her dodging and weaving skills. I fell asleep and woke up again to her frantically hitting my hand telling me not to sleep.
At some point we were invaded by a foul smell that accompanies Cow Land, which goes by another name but is called Cow Land simply because it is filled with…cows. Lots of them. Standing right next to each other in a giant paddock, with a smell that never goes away.
It was also really dark and Kero and I discovered that two girls with terrible night vision added together does not equal one sensible-minded girl with good night vision. It does, however, equal lots of swerving and squinting and trying to see if there’s a truck up ahead.
I talked a great deal about a blue car that was on the road with us. I called it the Alien Car. I sat in the passenger seat very quietly and thought about how if we ever needed a spaceship, we could just take that car, because that was clearly an Alien Shade of Blue with odd Red Headlights that made it appear as if it had four very shiny red eyes and a certain smugness about its face that smacked of extraterrestrial superiority.
…it was a long drive.
We stopped for dinner at a fast food place. We stretched our legs and surreptitiously checked to see if our butts had somehow taken on the shape of the car seat. I discovered that time spent in a car is not, in fact, real time; it is in fact a separate dimension of its own, where each hour is simultaneously 3 hours longer and half an hour shorter. And it is also a dimension where you cannot move.
We managed to find UCLA. We did not, however, manage to find Justin’s dorm, and ended up calling Alex Jo. Justin gave us directions on where to go; Alex Jo told us not to move on the pain of death.
Clearly there was some conflict.
In any case it was raining so hard in LA that there were little puddles of water going up with every rain drop, and students could be seen with their backpacks under their ponchos, making it appear to my fevered brain that there were neon-colored turtles walking upright on the campus.
It was not one of my shining moments of intellectual prowess.
We looked out the (blurry) window and talked about how bad we felt for Alex Jo, that he had to walk around and find us in the pouring rain! We would have towels, we would have sympathy, we would have undying gratitude.
At this point Alex Jo pulled up in his warm, dry, expensive, tiny little car and told us to follow him.
In the middle of showing us where his parking garage was, he stopped on a hill to talk with a friend. Kero and I, huddled together in her car, did not hear the conversation as they stood out in the pouring rain, but I imagine it went something like this:
ALEX JO: ‘Sup.
FRIEND: There are two crazy girls in that car who are following you.
ALEX JO: Yeah, don’t look them in the eye. They can smell fear; they’re kind of like dogs that way. Dogs that never go away. Do they look really cold?
FRIEND: I think they’re turning blue.
ALEX JO: Great, let’s stand out here a while longer. How’s the weather?
Alex Jo showed us to a parking garage.
“Park here,” he said, and pointed to a spot that said in very large letters: TOWAWAY SPOT; ADMINISTRATION ONLY.
“Wait, really?” Kero said.
“Yes,” Alex Jo said.
We parked, got out, and noted that it said, in tiny letters as if someone were hoping for us to miss it: Mon – Fri 6 AM to 5 PM only.
“Oh!” I said. “That would be why.”
“Yeah,” Alex Jo said. “Your parking sucks, Kero.”
“It does not,” Kero said.
I was forced to agree: yes, it in fact did suck. The car was, to be precise, sideways.
Alex Jo reparked Kero’s car for her. There was the implication that every single person he knew who also knew us would hear of this. Kero resigned herself to a lifetime of mocking.
He then took us up to his apartment where we discovered that he had his own bathroom, shower, and not one bed but two.
I thought about how Kero and I were going to be crammed into a tiny dorm room with four other people and resisted the urge to throttle him with my bare hands and move into his apartment.
We sat around and talked. Justin called us at some point asking if we were going to show up; we replied that of course we were! Hedrick Hall, yes?
Alex Jo’s instructions went something like this.
ALEX JO: Turn right, follow the street to its end, and then cross the street.
ME: Got it!
ALEX JO: Then go up Rape Trail.
KERO AND ME: …..
ALEX JO: Oh, don’t worry, no one gets raped anymore there. It’s really well-lit.
Kero immediately demonstrated her directional ability by turning left out of the building instead of the right. I stood there and watched her go in the wrong direction for a bit.
Then we made our way to Justin’s dorm. We did not get raped on Rape Trail, in case anyone was wondering.
At the front desk we signed in. Justin was calm and collected and blase. Kero stood there like a beautiful Amazon with one stylish duffle bag and a sleeping bag. I stood there like a panting, red-faced pug attached to a rolling backpack.
THE LADY’S EXPRESSION: And…why are two teenage girls visiting a college boy? With their overnight bags?
ME: /looks extraordinarily guilty. and red-faced.
Justin’s roommates welcomed us! There were also two other girls on the bed. Kero and I were assigned to the floor.
His roommates did not sleep until 3, which meant that we could not sleep until 3. Then they woke up at 5, and although they tried to be quiet, it also meant that we woke up at 5. At least we got to go back to sleep.
And thus ended the first day of our trip!