I was channeling missed connections. Not for myself but for others. I tasked all my friends to join in, hoping someone didn’t make their flight in LA. In mind this meant I’d be upgraded to business class on the long flight to Sydney. I didn’t wish anyone harm, just gridlock or delaying their trip home because they met someone special. I thought that was actually sweet of me, even if misguided and hopelessly romantic. Anything that would get me a luxury seat assignment.
I boarded the plan anticipating my adventure. Which subsequently took off 35 minutes late due to engine trouble. I sat on the tarmac knowing it was going to be way too close a shave at the LA airport. I wondered if karma was already coming to me for wishing missed connections on others.
I had been upgrade to first class on this first leg of my journey. This meant I was the first person to deplane. I had to go four gates to catch my next flight. So there was nothing else to do but the OJ Simpson dash. No, not in the black SUV on the freeway but the sprint through the airport, dodging babies and leaping luggage. I do realize I’m seriously dating myself.
(What now? Oh,luggage can’t leap? Okay fine – I stand corrected. I was leaping over luggage.)
All that effort, which was substantial for me, only to arrive at the gate moments after the door closed. The attendant apologetic they told me to run. Me- sorry since my legs ached terribly. Now I’d a 24 hour layover, leaving for Sydney the following evening.
I panted my way to the customer service desk. There were 5 other travelers who also missed the flight. I was shocked that they didn’t hold the plane for 15 minutes especially when there were 6 travelers coming.
I wanted to cry. Okay, so I did a little bit. I’d finally decided to put myself first, to get away, and now I was missing a day in Sydney. There would be no going out on the town with the girls as planned. I’d have only 6 hours once I arrived before having to get on another plane for Brisbane.
The airline booked me in for one nights hotel. A fellow stuck traveler on his way to an audio trade show in Melbourne was starving. His plane delayed due to concessions. They were late and had no food on his flight. I offered him some beef jerky while they got us situated. He commented I knew the way to a man’s heart- ‘give him beef’.
His agent was having difficulty getting his food vouchers, mine getting a manager override to book me a hotel room. United didn’t want to give me a room since the computer said I was delayed due to air traffic control. Which in essence is not their fault. I think she took pity on me. Besides I was keeping Tex happy. I turned to him and said “Well I’ve got food, You’ve got a room……..” After a very pregnant pause. He said “I guess I better buy you a drink.”
I’ve been practicing my flirtation skills. I was on my way to join the recruiter after all. The only woman who gets me hit on regularly. I swear she is a magnet. And I wanted to be on the top of my game. Really I am just giving myself permission to live life and flirt and play, to be myself.
I had to go to the United Baggage Service Center for an amenity kit. My tooth brush was in my luggage. There would be no change of clothes or toiletries. On the way I lost touch with Tex. Which was too bad. (No, not for the obvious reason. Get your minds out of the gutter. I’m just flirting, practicing people, working my way into it slowly). It was a bummer because I found out later he and another stuck traveler had rented a convertible Camaro and driven all over LA while I took the bus tour.
P.S. I realized if I’m ever homeless I’m going to go to the airport, pretend to be a traveler with a layover and get an amenity kit- Body-wash, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, lotion, shave kit, dental kit, shoe shine, mints, tooth-flossing pick, lip balm, comb, and deodorant wipes. Brilliant!! Just saying everything you need to get cleaned up.
As I shared in previous posts I took only my swimsuit in my bag in case my luggage was lost. So I had to do a quick sundry sink wash so at least I had clean undies for the next morning.
I got up, showered, had breakfast and then started my tour. A quick stop at a few highlights. I call it a drive-by only without the blood shed. The tour guide pointed out spots where movies were filmed along the route. Like the runoff gulch where they raced the cars in Grease. Where Sandra Dee sat and decided to “get her man”- by donning spandex, leather and red pumps, of course. Great Halloween costume BTW. Just saying since it approaches.
Then we went through the canals down to Venice Beach. I walked out and dipped my toes in the pacific.
Took some photos. We never made it to the Santa Monica Pier. I could see it in the distance.
All I could think of was the Lost Boys. Next up was the Grove and the Farmers market. Not quite my thing. I took the time to buy some of my perfume in a smaller travel approved size and then had a lemon drop and salad at Maggiano’s.
Finally came the drive down Rodeo Drive and Hollywood boulevard. I walked along the stars. Found a few for friends. Photographed Danny Thomas’s star so I can photoshop it to say Dana Thomas. I figured I should have my own star on Hollywood boulevard. They do say Hollywood is where dreams come true. Do you have a dream? I do, many. I was also fascinated by all the stars listed- Gene Autry, Edith Head, Sinatra, Hitchcock, Al Jolson, James Caan, Eartha Kit, Doris Day, Betty White, Walt Disney, Ingrid Bergman, Bing Crosby and on and on.
Suddenly as I walked with my head down, ignoring the impersonators and people trying to make a buck and catch a break I began to ponder connections. I realize stars are purchased. More money for better locations but I wondered. To me I began to see odd connections like some unlikely pairings actually fit- Grouch Marx and Kermit the Frog, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, Antonio Banderas and Matthew Broderick, Greta Garbo and Christina Aguilera and Olivia Newton John, The Doors and Julie Andrews and Billy Holliday, Queen Latifah and Michael Jackson, Barbara Walter’s and Destiny’s Child. What? I see it. Try harder.
Along my route I was approached by a young man doing an exercise for his improv class. He asked people for the first three words that came to mind when they met him. I said sneaky, dualistic and lovable. I began chatting with him. Walking up the blocks. He was a corporate lawyer working his way up the ranks of a big firm. The Improv classes were for him. As a performance art major working in finance, drawing and writing on the side for my own passion and sanity, I understood the choice.
When I finally boarded the plane to Sydney. I realized I should have ordered special meals. I haven’t traveled since my new dietary needs. Hell, I haven’t flown since they started using the X-ray machines. I managed to pick my way around meals and skip the sandwich and ice cream snack. Good thing I’d packed all the nuts and jerky. I’d need them over the following 14 plus hours.