pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: LA on a Friday morning

14 August 2015

LA on a Friday morning


Union Station
Los Angeles, California
14 August 2015

Ah, my love/hate relationship with downtown Los Angeles.

When I was 17, my cousin let me stay with him at his apartment in downtown LA for a weekend while I went to look at a college. It was an interesting stay: I visited the college, I drank my first beer (sort of...I gagged down half and quietly disposed of the rest), I learned about architecture, and I got lost in LA for the first time.

Of course, I didn't know then that there would be many, many more times.

It started innocently enough: I went for a walk...and kept walking. I walked under freeways and around buildings. One way or another, I ended up at Grand Central Market--which was not the hipster destination it is now--and wound up in a face off with a sheep's head at the butcher's counter. Memorable, that.

Years later, I spent 6 months commuting from Pasadena to Westwood by bus. Every morning and every night, I had to change buses at 7th and Olive, a truly awesome place to be at 6:30 am and 6:30 pm. Especially in the winter, when it is dark at 6:30 am and 6:30 pm.

(I can't remember if I ever told the pipe wrench story, but that's where it took place. If I haven't told it, maybe someday. And if I never do: I didn't use the pipe wrench for its intended purpose, but it worked great on the guy trying to steal my bag.)

Through the years, there have been epic traffic battles through downtown. Oh the stories of trying to figure out which lane one needed to be in on the formerly 11, now 110 freeway, and how I usually wasn't in the correct one, and ended up on 4th street. Or somewhere.

I turned 21 in the Bonaventure's revolving bar (not so cool now as it was then). We used to buy our Christmas tree at the train yard each year. Concerts and shows at Dorothy Chandler. Many trips to Chinatown for dim sum. The utterly crazy night we took the kids to see Video Games Live at Nokia only to run head on into the 7th game of the NBA championship, and I ran head on into a 7-ft tall cop dressed in riot gear. Chaperoning high school trips to Olvera Street.

Today, the daughter wanted to go to downtown to meet one of her best friends who is leaving early tomorrow for university in the Midwest. Since I already had to drive her to the train station, I decided to just get on the train, too (and I'm not as sanguine about letting her run around downtown alone as I was about running around there alone 30 years ago). So we rode up together, and then the daughter met up with CH, and I took off in another direction.

It was epically hot today, and even at 10 am, the sun was glaring off the Roybal building, throwing heat into the street. There was shade in the plaza, so I sat there while I made a plan to occupy myself. Eventually, I decided it was far too warm to wander much, so I found a nice museum and happily basked in the air conditioning. After lunch, I made a quick trip to Olvera Street to pick up candy for the spouse, and then went back to Union Station to wait for the daughter.

On the train back to Orange County, she regaled me with stories of running to Chinatown, and then the Ahmanson, and then Starbucks, and then Olvera Street with CH. I guess I could have pointed them in direction of the Grand Central Market. Turns out that as recently as 2012, you could still buy a whole sheep's head.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.

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