Breaking through from the Orange County line into LA county means stopping in my old hood. While I lived in Belmont Shore for eight years, my favorite spot was Seal Beach. It’s quaint small town feel, beautiful view from the pier, and excellent sushi restaurant made it a must visit in my travels.
With the sun finally out, I enjoyed soaking in the warmth and smelling the sea salt air while I walked up and down wood pier planks. Everything looking so familiar and foreign at the same time. I Snap Chatted the calming waves to my Oregon friends, who were suffering through another fall storm, before heading to my favorite restaurant to have lunch by myself.
There wasn’t much time to visit some of my other favorite places, such as the fine paper store or the small local shop on Second Street that sells the best gardenia scented candles, due to the looming traffic I knew would be waiting for me in Los Angeles. By early afternoon I was back on the road heading to Santa Monica to meet up with another old friend.
When I visit LA, I have a pretty sweet deal. My friend-since-birth happens to have a kickin’ guest house he lets me crash in. I pulled up by 2:00pm and unloaded all my gear again. A little shaky from heavy drinking and light sleeping, we caught up on old stories, high school peer updates and such. He gave me the low down on what I might expect for traffic and how early I would need to leave. He even dared mention walking a mile to take a train. WTF? Uh, no. Uber it was. To make up for the hour it was going to take to get to the venue, ritual had to start early and move a bit faster to leave some time to enjoy a cocktail with my friend in his oasis backyard.
Uber picked me up around 5:30pm and we headed into the belly of the traffic beast. The driver and I talked for a while until I realized I was going to have to keep up conversation for at least an hour. That’s when I turned to my phone and started with the selfies I think I might have asked him if that’s what everyone does in the back seat. He reminded me I probably didn’t want to know what some people did in his backseat. (Ewww, I’m sitting there.)
By the time I rolled up to the venue, there was already a line snaked along the building. Once again, I was alone. Not even Mother/Daughter would be there for reassurance. I stopped at the bar first thing for my double vodka soda and about died when I paid $25.00 (without tip yet) for it. People already lined the barrier by the time I got there. The nice thing about being alone is I just asked for them to let me in to watch Coast Modern and they did.
After meeting a lovely couple who drank this awful blue thing, our crowd continued to grow steadily. None had heard of Coast Modern, but were happy to follow them on socials and pose for my pictures. Finally, there was one person who came for Coast Modern. Our section cheered like I had found my long lost CoMo fan soulmate and we found out he was a friend of Coleman’s. Our crowd drank, joked, and had a helluva good time like we had known each other for some time.
And you know what comes next, don’t you? The show, of course.
I danced around in the thick crowd and pretty much sealed my hair fate. Then there was the awkward moment when the nice woman from the blue drink couple slumped over the railing. I offered to take her to the bathroom for her boyfriend, but he declined and left her over the barrier. This was followed up by a guy telling me I was a “before and after” picture because I looked such a mess by the end. Uh, thanks? And my lovely barrier neighbors secured a set list for me to make it three in my collection. So sweet!
As promised, after Coast Modern finished, I removed myself from the front. In the back, I ran into Twitter Guy from the night before, chatted for a while with his friend, and watched people buy merchandise.
After the show, I funneled out with the rest of the crowd and waited for Uber to take me back to my friend’s house. Sitting across the street, I spotted a taco truck the instant my ride pulled up and it reminded me I hadn’t eaten anything since my sushi lunch twelve hours before. If you know anything about being highly intoxicated, this is the moment where you decide if you don’t get something to eat you will die.
It was at Wilshire Boulevard when I saw an open bar and demanded my Uber driver drop me off. He tried to protest and explained he’s supposed to take me to the programmed destination. I relieved him of all worry and had him drop me off on the corner. There was instant sadness when the bar told me their kitchen closed fifteen minutes before I got there. He did point me four blocks down to a twenty-four hour Jack in the Box.
As I stumbled down the street towards the red and white beacon, I started to question my life choices that led me to wander aimlessly on LA streets at 12:30am by myself and having no idea where to find my friend’s house. Snuggled inside, I ate curly fries and egg rolls (please remember I’m very intoxicated at this point, don’t judge) and watched a homeless man sing along with this radio. The cashier chatted with him like they were old friends and I realized I was the intruder to their nightly routine. I uploaded some Coast Modern pics to social media and messaged my sleeping friends in Oregon about what a great time the LA show was before deciding I should head towards the residential section about a half mile away to try to find my bed. After a couple wrong turns, and trying to find familiar looking streets, I finally came to my friend’s residence.
He’d given me a key to my cottage in the back and I couldn’t wait to try to catch some much needed sleep. When I came up to the half wall fence surrounding his property, I realized the gate was locked. I went into a straight up panic imagining sleeping in his front walkway. After pacing the length of his property, I committed to hiking up my dress, angling my heeled boots, and scaling the wall. Yep, I did. It was only when I had two feet planted firmly on the other side in their beautiful garden did I even consider the fact my key could possibly open the gate. (Yep, it did.) Lucky for me that learned lesson came before I faced the full size fence to the backyard.
By the time I crawled into bed I’m pretty sure it was around 2:00am but time is lost on nights like this. The vodka and sleep deprivation make it difficult to tell which side of the day is up and how many hours have actually passed. I was back up at 5:00am after three hard slept hours. I dreaded the seven hour drive to San Francisco with only nine hours sleep over the previous four days. A Zip Fizz shooter powered me up until I could track down a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf store on the road. I repacked my suitcase, left my friend’s key, and started the long road to Northern California.
Next up: The Conclusion – San Francisco