Another Hobby Blog

Saturday, August 13, 2005

On Los Angeles

The alarm roused me at 7. I hit the snooze bar until 7:20. We were out the door at 7:30. I hope I’ve remembered everything important.

At the airport at 8. Bag checked at 8:20. Only 5 sets of people in line ahead of us, but one was trying to check five bags through to two different locations on four different connecting flights with three different airlines. The second was herding three small children, each carrying (and dropping) its own official little identification card. How cute! Have you ever seen a set of five suitcases and a three-year-old, diminishing in size, tumble like dominos? I nearly laughed aloud. Had to pretend it was a cough. No one was hurt. The third spoke very little English and may have been partially deaf. The fourth couldn’t find the necessary identification and kept searching through his bags multiple times before finally discovering it in his pocket. The fifth was just impatient, directly in front of us, and huffing with every delay.

Through security by 8:30. Didn’t have to surrender my kindergarten scissors. It’s always a risk. I’ve lost 5 pair to airport security since 9/11. Boggles the mind. Also made it through: my knitting needles (bamboo doublepoint size 8), my clover cutters (the round brass discs with the notches for cutting yarn), nail clippers, and a CD drop spindle. I suspect that they don’t care if it’s potentially dangerous as long as they can’t identify its purpose. In December 2001, for example, I was allowed to carry in my pocket a Swarovski Crystal hedgehog—weighs about a pound, fist-sized, covered with sharp pyramids of glass—definitely weapon-worthy. But the same security crew took my pair of kindergarten scissors even though the tips were blunt.

Breakfast at the airport. There’s a new addition that is a little shopping area and food court. The service was amazing. It’s great when a place is new and all the best servers are stationed there to get the business up and running. Makes one feel pampered.

I recieved many compliments and questions on my knitting. Wasn’t working on the Noro felted bag after all. Was starting a hat from the top on double-points. Doing the shaping as I go. Experimental. Hope it turns out well enough at the end. Apparently, knitting in three dimensions is pretty special. Knitting with five needles is even more astounding.

Bought Harry Potter 6 at the news stand along with my word puzzle book. Still in shock over the cost.

Boarded the plane at 9:45. Word puzzles to help the plane stay aloft. Didn’t knit in-flight. Decided to read a book instead. Read Mary Thomas’ Book of Knitting Patterns. (Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Secret Pal!!!) Good read. Nice to have the time to really focus on the book instead of just trying to read a couple pages at a time between other activities. Am now feeling inspired to try many of the patterns described and to run some swatches to see for myself how the structure of the stitches affects the elasticity and density of the resultant fabric.

Touched down a bit after 12. Six hours remain before dinner. Should be plenty to get to our destination, check into our room, and freshen up a bit.

Disembarked at 12:30. Since bags were checked, there’s no rush to get off first, so we wait til last instead.

1:00 reclaim our bag.

1:10 Hertz rental car transport.

1:30 the car reserved for us smells like cigarette smoke. That's not acceptable, especially when we're expecting to be driving for long periods of time. As Shonnon jogs off to check on different options, I stay with the stinky car and our luggage.

The sun is beating down. It’s definitely hotter than the “72 degrees and clear” that the pilot reported during the descent. At least 92. Probably higher. I’m realizing that a black, long-sleeved shirt wasn’t the best option to choose this morning, and am wondering whether I can successfully dig down to the white shirt in my luggage, and whether I'm sun-baked enough to not care about changing shirts in a public parking lot. There's hardly anyone around, after all. Except that we're on the descent path for the jets. Just my luck 350 passengers will all be looking out the windows, all with their digital cameras in hand just at the moment they fly past as I'm standing for that fraction of a second in just my bra, and that's the picture that'll be on the internet the next morning. I decide I can endure a few more minutes of a black shirt.

I wonder if the car is too hot for me to lean against the bumper. As I step forward to find out, I step directly onto a spot of hot chewing gum on the pavement. It's a distinctive feeling, one I remember well from childhood. Back then I thought it was one of the niftiest feelings in existence. Right up there with the squishy-squeaky-swampy feeling of walking around in wet sneakers. I used to actively try to step on chewing gum, just to see how many chewing-gum polka-dots I could make as I walked away from it. I'm not that young anymore. The paper napkin I dig out of the bottom of a bag is not successful at removing the chewing gum from my shoe. Chewing gum is embedded in the tread of my shoe. Chewing gum is plastered across the top of my shoe like silly string. Chewing gum has trailed across my sock. My shoe is not as hot as the pavement (thank goodness!) and the chewing gum has re-solidified. The chewing gum abrades my napkin into linty shreds. My shoe is now covered with linty paper shreds which are adhered to the shoe by chewing gum. Clearly, I am losing the battle. I give up on the chewing gum and read more knitting patterns. Ah, bliss: would be paradise if it weren’t for the heat. I am still standing in the full sun because heat exhaustion is more tolerable than the smell of the car.

2:00 We have custody of a different car. It does not smell of cigarette smoke, it smells of stuffy used car baked in a hot sun. That’ll have to do. Four hours remain before dinner. The drive is only an hour and a half. We should have time for a refreshing shower.

2:30 Still on the 405. Still haven't escaped LA. Traffic is speeding along at the terrifying rate of 5 mph. “How long to the interchange with 101?” I ask. “5 miles.” He answers.

2:45 “How long to the interchange?” I ask. “3 miles.” He answers.

Eventually, I quit asking.

It took us fifteen minutes to drive past the New Getty Museum.

It’s a fabulous museum if you’re into that kind of thing (Art) or if you're into Architecture, or Culture or views overlooking the city. So if you’re in Los Angeles for any reason, I strongly recommend making the time to go visit. Call ahead if you're interested as parking is sometimes reserved more than a month in advance.

The New Getty Museum sits atop a hill, so it is visible from half a mile away.

By "drive past" I do not mean from the time we started the car, I mean from the time the gap in the skyscrapers allowed a view of the crest of the hill overlooking the 405 atop which the distinctive New Getty Museum perches to the time the back side of the hill obscured our view of the building. It took us fifteen minutes to drive that half a mile. We were passed by seven motorcycles. (The motorcycles get to drive between the flanks of cars when the traffic is at a standstill. This fact bothers many people, but my sympathies are with the motorcyclists.)

I must have been in a fugue state from the heat and the mesmerizing boredom as I don’t remember what time it was when we transitioned to the 101 less than three miles later. I do remember noticing that the transition brought a change in traffic patterns. Please explain this if you can: with each city that we entered, there was no traffic whatsoever. We shared the five-lane freeway with five or six other vehicles going in the same direction, and we traveled at full speed. Yet, as soon as we passed the center of each city, we were dead stopped in rush-hour traffic again. (I didn’t know Thousand Oaks had a rush-hour.)The traffic vanished completely as soon as we began to enter the next city, and then gridlocked again as soon as we began to leave it. Once the traffic vanished while we were ON A BRIDGE. Where did it go?

We did eventually make it to our lodgings, barely in time for check-in. We were late for dinner.


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