Postcards from L.A.
As I sit in the hotel lobby at the Marriott in Beverly Hills, drinking complimentary red wine, with people walking around me watching me type this entry. I can’t help but think to myself, “How on earth did I get here?”
You see, I am in the city of Los Angeles at the moment for work. However, before we get to the, “how” I got here, let’s back track and catch you up.
Last week was my first official work week at the new job. I was barely getting comfortable with remembering all the coworkers names when my boss pulled me aside last Monday and asked if I was available to fly out to L.A. in order to train and get established with the west coast office. I told them I would fly there under one condition and that would be that I could fly back by Thursday in order to not miss my weekend out on Fire Island. They agreed and before I could say, “Hollywood here we come,” the flight and hotel were booked.
The rest of the week would be spent trying to bang out my articles for Yahoo and Bounceback while also seeing Mr. Architect. I managed to get the articles out to my editor and also was able to get quality time in before my trip with Mr. Architect.
Last Tuesday, I had arranged a dinner for myself, Mr. Architect and a few friends of mine. They are a couple so when I realized we would be a, “couple of couples,” I was excited, for it had been awhile since I had dinner where I wasn’t a third wheel. We all had dinner at, East of Eighth, and I think the last time I was there was when I was in my early 20’s. Turns out that not a damn thing had changed there…including the decor. The dinner conversation was great and by the time Mr. Architect and I got back to my apartment, my friends had each sent me text messages saying that they approved of him.
By the time Friday rolled around, I was so eager for the weekend to start. I asked work to leave by 5, in order to pack an overnight bag for it would be my first official sleep over at Mr. Architect’s apartment. He was so kind to humor me, for I plumb forgot about a friend’s 30th birthday party that was starting right after work. I sent him a text message to meet me at a bar for just one drink and afterwards we would head uptown and have dinner. He obliged, met some of my friends, literally had one beer at Posh bar and then we split.
As we made our way uptown to his apartment, waiting on the platform on 59th Street for the A train to come, he hugged me and said he was so happy that I was coming uptown with him that night. The minute he said those words and kissed me on my forehead, I knew the rest of the weekend was going to be smooth sailing. I was not only going to be having fun but I was going to be with him doing so.
The dinner that night would also mark the first time that I would be meeting one of his friends for the first time. I was rather nervous about meeting his friend. Not because of the actual person but because I was really worried that his friend would not like me. I know that I was born with the gift of the gab but all my insecurities started to come to the surface and I knew I had to hide it in order to not make Mr. Architect nervous.
We ended up going to this restaurant called, Blue. We were the first to arrive, so we got a table in the back in the garden. As we ordered our drinks, his friend arrived. The minute his friend sat down and presented himself, he was rather on the quite side. I knew I was going to have to work overtime. So, I turned it on and began to get to know his friend. After dinner, we went across the street to a bar called, Next Door. As we sat there, I still had no idea whatsoever whether or not his friend liked me or not. After the drinks, his friend walked us to the subway and we parted ways. By the time we got back to Mr. Architect’s apartment, my review came in and it was positive. He showed me the text message from his friend that said he liked me and thought I was nice. Whew. I passed. One down and two more friends to go. Before we went to bed, he told me that it is rare that his friend ever laughs and the fact that I was able to make him laugh was an accomplishment in itself. So, all in all…I did pretty damn good.
The next morning, we got up bright and early and I get ready first since I take so damn long to get ready. We actually managed to both get ready in a timely manner and I was craving coffee. As we walked to the local Starbucks in his neighborhood, the weather was not what I was expecting. The weather on Saturday was all set for 85 degrees and sunny. However, it was the opposite and my ass did not pack for cold weather. I was wearing a tank top, shorts and flip-flops. As it began to drizzle on us, we walked around with our coffees while waiting for his friend to pick us up. Finally, his friend picked us up and another friend arrived. We were on our way to a place called, Storm King.
Storm King is a place in the middle of nowhere in New York and it is a 500 acre piece of land that has art displayed all around. I had read about it before but had never been. Like all car trips, this was a perfect time to get to know Mr. Architect’s friends. They were both so nice and easy-going. I felt instantly at ease and knew this rest of the afternoon would be a cake walk.
The weather was not our friend that day at all. Mr. Architect and his friends managed to dress somewhat appropriate. I was literally the only person as far as I could see that was wearing a tank top and flip-flops. It was wet, cold and no umbrella. I didn’t want to be a party pooper at all, especially this being the first time meeting his friends. So I did my best to smile and enjoy the art. He could tell at moments that I was either cold or uncomfortable. Nature and me had never gotten along but there were moments throughout the day where I was quiet and thinking how lucky I was to not only be seeing this art but to be with a guy that wanted me to see it.
On the way back to the city, wouldn’t you know, that the sun comes decides to come out. I thought I did a great job with his friends and making a good first impression. As his friend dropped us off at his apartment, he got a text message from one of his friends and it said that I was not only fun but cute. I was in! We went upstairs, grabbed our belongings and headed downtown back to my apartment.
I hadn’t had any time during the week to do my laundry so he escorted me to the laundry mat and we did my laundry. While the clothes were in the dryer, I suggested we walk a few blocks down and go shopping. During the shopping, we both picked up some new shoes and he tried on a baseball cap and the minute he put it on, I had to tell him, “I want you right now.” Suffice to say…he bought the baseball cap 🙂
That night we had dinner at Arriba, Arriba. Over dinner, we had a very nice, mature and personal conversation about sex, dating and even kids. I felt connected and it had nothing to do with the huge margaritas that we were drinking. It had to deal with the fact that we were looking into each other’s eyes and agreeing on everything the other person was saying; we were coming from a place of honesty. It was amazing to be able to talk to someone like that.
After dinner, we were set to meet some friends of mine at the bar, Industry. By the time we were into our second round of drinks, all my friends had arrived and it was great. It was great seeing him interact with my friends, it was fantastic seeing him look at me from across the table and I was so excited to be able to have this experience. We cut the evening by 1 a.m. for I had a car picking me up the next morning at 8 a.m. for a flight out of Newark airport.
As I slept next to him and his arm was around me, I felt suddenly in a place of safety. Safe that I knew he likes me, safe that I like him and safe that things were falling into place. I woke up the next morning and I did not want to leave my bed. He was sleeping peacefully and as my head fit perfectly right on his chest, I could have stayed there for the entire day but I had reality to deal with, so I got up and began to get ready.
The car was ready downstairs, he kissed me goodbye and he went back to bed. When I exited my apartment, there is was…a black SUV with tinted windows. This was my first business trip in my entire life. At best, I thought I would be getting a ghetto gypsy car and the driver not really knowing where to take me. Instead, I had a driver that took my luggage, opened the door for me and was very interested in learning about my life on the drive to the airport. As I saw the city getting smaller, I began to think how different my life has turned around over the past couple of months.
Normally, I am running around with my head cut off to catch a flight but I was organized. Not one thing had gone wrong. I made it through security without a hitch, I hadn’t lost one item and none of my toiletries were asked to be thrown away. All in all, I was so proud of myself that my first business trip was going so smoothly.
Now, as well know, if anything in life is going to go wrong, it will follow me. And true to form…it had found me. The flight, as all flights usually are these days, was full. I was sitting in the middle seat between a nice guy on my right that was asking me about my life and a guy on my left that was so tall that I felt so sorry for his legs looked so uncomfortable. I knew that I had a stack of gossip magazines that I was ready to tear into, when I decided to reach into my bag and grab my iPod, all of a sudden I accidentally reached into the wrong section of my bag and my razor cut the top of my finger!
I pulled my hand out so quickly and looked at my finger and there was a huge chunk of skin hanging and the guy to my right just said out loud, “Oh damn. That is bad.” I was bleeding so bad, that he had to undo by seatbelt, the guy on my left had to walk me to the bathroom. The flight attendant was so scared for me that she got on the intercom and asked if there was a doctor on the flight, for she feared that I might need stitches. Not one doctor on this flight. All the flight attendant was able to offer me was band aids. I managed to delay the flight from taking off by fifteen minutes for they were not sure if I was going to be bleeding for the entire flight. I told them this was my first business trip and I wasn’t going to miss it. Just to give me a shit load of napkins, band aids and I would hold my arm up. Which is exactly what I did for almost six hours. I held my hand up, tried to read my magazines and I went through five band aids and a ton of napkins.
As we landed, the guy next to my right helped me get my luggage and got me to the Shuttle Bus to take me to my hotel. I was so nervous since the bleeding had not stopped for going on six hours now but I dropped my luggage off in the hotel room, ran to the drugstore and fixed myself the best I could. I was not going to let a bloody finger ruin my trip.
I had no idea that that Sunday would also mark L.A.’s gay pride. So I dropped my luggage off, took a shower, bandaged up my finger that looked like Freddy Krueger got a hold of and in a cab I went to the center of the excitement…West Hollywood. I was walking down Santa Monica Boulevard and within the first block of me walking the strip, I heard my name being called out. As this Lexus car was driving by, I noticed that an acquaintance of mine that I met in New York was in the car. He yelled for me to get in and so I did. He drove me through the festivities, gave me pointers and even was kind enough to drive by the Wilshire Hotel where my favorite movie, Pretty Woman, was filmed.
After the drive, my jet lag and lack of blood that I had lost on the flight was starting to kick in, so I asked him to drop me off back at my hotel. I managed to get to bed super early and was all set for my first day at the L.A. office. I wanted to represent New York in style. I got up early on Monday morning, worked out in the hotel gym and walked the two blocks to the office, whereas, if I actually lived in L.A. I would drive the two blocks and not walk.
In the office, it dawned on me how vastly different L.A. is compared to New York. Things are just simply more calm and laid back. No stress even when it is supposed to be a stressful situation…it is not for them. They tend to get stressed out over traffic along the 405. Things move slower in L.A. including the traffic. I had been here many times before but never on a business venture. When you are here for pleasure, you could care less if it takes you ten minutes to go one block because you have your rental car’s top down and the music is blaring. But when you actually have to get somewhere, that is when you can get irritated with the traffic. The coffee shops take fifteen minutes because everyone is so laid back but if you were in New York City and a barista took fifteen minutes to get you your coffee, someone would be hearing about it. I had to tell myself to leave my New York state of mind on the east coast and embrace the laid back mentality and just say, “Whatever happens…happens.” I am not good at “going with the flow,” but while I am here for a few days, I might as well take advantage of how things run here.
As the next few days here in L.A. continue on, I can’t help but think of how fortunate I am. Fortunate to be on a business trip. fortunate to have people back east waiting for me and people here on the west coast that want to see me but most importantly, fortunate to know where I belong. There are so many people in life that spend days, months and years trying to “find themselves.” They ponder whether or not they should move, should get a divorce, have a child or change careers.
Luckily for me, I know exactly where I belong and where I am supposed to be. I may have been born on the west coast but I know where my heart belongs and it belongs to a little city called…New York.
- Posted in: Uncategorized