Adventure to Santa Monica

1 11 2010

My head is still reeling.  Ahhhhhhh, I feel so alive!  It’s good to get out.

After my 10am and working at the TV station, I hopped a bus to Santa Monica.  Naturally this had all been planned out in detail the night before.  I’m one of those people who study their Google map routes, all the way down to street-view.  See, I had a purpose to go out to Santa Monica.  When Mom came for parents weekend, she did one of those “YOU HAVE NO CLOTHES” [valid] “LET ME BUY YOU STUFF” [oy].  I really don’t like her spending money on me, especially stuff that I’m not crazy about.  So this trip was basically me sneaking a shirt back to MANGO before the 30 day return policy was up.

I usually don’t consider myself a scared person, but I’ve been told so many horrible things about the LA transportation system, I was wary to be going by myself.  The first bus, there weren’t any empty seats so I sat down next to this one lady who gave me a look.  I’m still not sure if it was a glare or a why-did-you-pick-me or a you-exist look.  And when people started getting off and there were open seats by themselves, I didn’t know whether or not to move.  What is the etiquette for that?  I didn’t want her to think that I wanted to get away from her, but at the same time she could’ve been thinking why is this chick still blocking me in?  Oh well.  I was so antsy I couldn’t read but two pages of my book.

Second bus.  Way less crowded.  Didn’t realize it was an Express which meant it cost $2.20 and not $1.50.  I had already put in my $1.50 and I didn’t have enough change to make $.70 so I had to put in another dollar.  And they don’t give change.  Boo.  Yeah, LA Metro, you better enjoy that $.30!

I get to Santa Monica and it’s just a sigh of relief.  My entire body can finally stop white-knuckling it.  Sadly, because I don’t have Mom’s credit card, I could only get store credit.  Rah, so before I move away I basically have to buy something that’s $50 from MANGO.  Great.  I mean, it can’t even be used online.  Whyyyyyy.  I made it up to myself by purchasing some black nail polish for $5 at Sephora.  AND THENNNNN

I WENT TO THE BEACH!  It was splendid.  I’ve looked, but I haven’t touched the water in so long.  I think the last time my toes were in the Pacific was when I was like 7 or something and my family had traveled to San Francisco to see relatives.  YEAH.  I had my camera and my backpack and it was just lovely having my toes making lines in the sand.  Mmmmmm.

I like that I can do these things by myself.  I was a little worried going into it that I would feel really lonely and pathetic that I didn’t have anyone with me.  But I really enjoyed just being with… me.  Doing stuff on my own time.  Picking where I was going to wander next.  There was a moment when I was walking down Wilshire towards the beach and I was just like, “This is perfect.”  I really love Santa Monica.  It’s sure housing is a bitch, but that place makes me happy.

Things were pretty uneventful until I was trying to leave.  I got lunch at the vegan place Mom and I had went to when she was here.  MMMMM what I got was incredible.  It was their November special, basically a giant vegan Thanksgiving dinner.  Setain, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn bread, all with mushroom gravy.  SO YUMMEH!  It was just me and my little table by the window.  It was funny because my waiter and I kinda had a moment when he first walked up to my table.  Our eyes met and lit up.  It was if we were saying, “You’re cute.” — “You’re cute.”  Also, another one of the employees who was a middle-aged Hispanic guy was really sweet to me.  I mean, he was gruff, but not abrasive.  I just felt like he wanted to make sure I was taken care of.  Kinda the fatherly vibe.

So yeah, then there’s me trying to get home.  I spent probably an hour trying to find something cheap to buy to break my $20 so I had ones for the bus.  Nice thing is that I made buds with the security guard in Forever 21.  I walk in with my to-go box and he stops me in the door.  At first, I’m like, shit, he’s not gonna let me in.  But then he did the whole you brought that for me right?  So it was all good.  I tipped my hat to him when I left, too :]  Then it took me for FREAKIN’ ever to locate the bus stop.  Google maps, YOU FAILED ME!  I definitely did circles, broke down and went into the Santa Monica police department.  The officer there wasn’t much help.  Surprise.  You know who got me there?  The two valet guy at Hotel Carmel.  Hah, it was so adorable because they were both so eager to help me, but then they started arguing over where the stop was.  They sent me inside to the front desk and one of them had been right.  I dunno, my exchange with them was so cute and warm, it eased by temporary freak out about not being able to find the bus.

First bus on route home.  The driver was super nice to me.  No seats though.  So I got to stand for about 50 minutes in LA traffic, holding onto dear life to one of those strappy thingies on the metal bar.  Also, before we got in the highway traffic, we picked up some older guy with a cane.  He was really dirty.  Half the bus is standing, but he basically yells, “Who’s going to get up?”  I dunno, geeze man, couldn’t you be a little more polite.  And after someone had given him a seat, he barked at a lady next to him, “Move over!”  It get’s better because when we finally got off the freeway and the bus cleared so I had a seat, I was sitting right across from him.  He’d been asleep all on the highway, but the moment I entered his line of sight he was awake.

“How’re you?”  I didn’t really know if it was directed at me.  I was looking at my notebook.

He touched my knee, and I look up.  “How are you?” he repeats.

I kinda felt bad that I gave him the 1 second total shut down smile, but I have to have my guard up.  He left me alone after that.  I also never made eye contact again.

Last bus home.  I get on, having barely gotten my money out and see that I have no more ones.  What the fuck.  With change I’m about a quarter short.  I almost didn’t get on because I thought shit, there’s no way she’s gonna let me ride if I can’t pay.  But she did!  When I sat down in the front, I noticed a little girl in front of me–maybe 11 or 12.  She had her backpack and a maroon, catholic school uniform.  I just remember, her named was stitched on her sweater.  Mia Richards?  Anyway, she was a beautiful little thing.  And I wondered why she was on the bus alone.  School should have been out way long ago.  Then she started to the bus driver.  Aw, that’s nice, she’s riding with her sister, I thought.  Later, I overheard her say “mom.”

I dunno why, I just was really fascinated by the two of them.  I wondered about their story, ran through all the typical stereotypes, but then other scenarios that went beyond that.  Also, this trust thing.  It’s a sad world we live in.  Like me pushing away the old guy.  This time, there was an old hispanic lady sitting next to Mia.  She pulled to candy bars out of their purse and silently offered them to her.  “No, thank you,”  Mia said.  The lady kept holding them out, still not saying anything, but her body language was insistent.  “No, thank you.”  That time was a little more firmly.  The old lady kinda shrugged and put the candy back in her purse.  God, it was just so sad.  I mean, I know where it came from–the girls obviously been taught not to accept things from strangers, you never know right.  But that the same time, I was so sad for that old lady.  Mia was not rude at all.  It was just like, this is the way our world is.

I’m about 3 stops from home.  The bus has pulled over, made a complete stop.  Then there’s this super loud crash from the driver’s side.  Apparently some truck smashed into her side mirror and didn’t bother stopping.  Luckily she wasn’t hurt or anything.  Everyone on the bus was super nice about it.  One lady was like, “I thought it was a gun shot!”  Oh, LA.  Five blocks from my school.  Yeah, that sounds about right.

Anyway, we had to wait for a supervisor to come, and the next bus that should have picked us all up just blew right past.  But the bus was okay enough that she was allowed to finish her route.  YEAH.  Can’t go out to do anything without it being a whole commotion.

No time for reflection.  Too much homework.  But now you have my day.




One response

2 11 2010


Ah bus etiquette. I have to deal with it all the time. Mostly I just decide to not make eye contact with anyone 😛 I like travelling on my own. Buttt I also like making travel-buddies, though that usually only happens when you’re on a train that super delayed.
I’ve been known to ignore people I vaguely know, so they won’t sit next to me. I’ll just pretend to read. I hate those awkward: ‘Hey, the last time I talked to you was TEN YEARS AGO and we don’t really know each other, but I decided to sit next to you anyway’ conversations.

I’m happy you’re having fun and scoring lots of 4Square points ^_^

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