"What the hell am I doin' drinking in LA at…" brought back a memory, not a best memory; certainly not the highlight of my life, drinking career, or career for that matter. Just a little an almost lost little memory. A bit of fun I once had, probably three lifetimes ago (if counting). Certainly well before LA became a defacto, must be arch rival enemy city-state of mine as I settled into my first, second, maybe it was my third and final attempt to nourish my inner New Yorker. It was my second trip to LA, I thought I'd had the place figured out by then.
We'd been given the opportunity to fly down to visit the ex-First Woman Prime Minister (of Canada) Kim Campbell in the LA home they'd given her as a big ol' thank you for being the First Woman Prime Minister (of Canada), and losing us (them, not me in any case), the election. Likely one of those, quick, get the guy/gal outta dodge before she get's lynched by the faithful moves. Anyhow, here in LA, I found myself, little ol' me, all suited up and ready to roll in his best Dick VanDyke goes to church in New Rochelle toggs, sipping wine (coolers?) and munching on canopé in the house of the Canadian atché to this or that cultural woo-ha-ha or something like that. The complete lack of "stars" was telling; I would learn later that night… there are more glorious stars in LA than originally counted.
Now, when your old pal GoGo ends up at a suaré, one of two many Go's is bound not to show; I'll either be you know, "that guy" standing over there, you know (all by himself), or the other guy, gob-handing and yickity-yacking with any and all everyones who'd be willing to listen to whatever gibberish is dripping out at any particular given moment. If I recall, at this particular do; I was somewhere in the middle of this guy and that... guy. Almost lost behind the ginormous girth of one, and the sheer stupidity of the other "new" business partners who'd dragged me across the country so they could canoodle with their inbred-industrial money-burnin' associates in the TV and film industry (oops, are my under-bitter-pants still showing)? - If I further recall, I was "on it" and generally having a good time.
Of course, having been recently un-married and singled, AND in LA and younger and almost as stupid as I'd ever be… I was indeed ogling the babes (as if I've ever had a single oggle-driven positive result). Sadly, Kim Campbell ex-First Woman Prime Minister (of Canada)'s parties didn't draw too great a bevy of, are they broads or dames? I found myself in a wonderfully pleasant conversation with, if I even further recall one of ol' Kimmy's personal aides. I have only a vague recollection of the young lady, her age, name and "number" escape me; all I recall is that the conversation was bright n' lively, she had a similar suspicion of the crowd we were in and… I'm pretty sure she was a Brunette.
I haven't a clue how it happened, but I guess I let it drop that I had later plans. Whether I asked her or she simply decided to tag along is beyond me; likely the latter as I'm dreadful at "the pick up" line… I think mine's worked out once. So, (for the sake of this story) let's call her Alice and I ended up in my car and off to you'll never guess where.
The first time I went to LA, I didn't have the slightest clue. My Eastern Seaboard / Midwestern Toronto upbringing left me to assume that all cities were the same and, if you simply looked hard enough you'd find a nice little neighbourhood, compacted with this restaurant and that bar and this little grouping of things you could do before sauntering off to the next neighbourhood right there next door. I think our cab driver was stunned when we asked him to drop us off on, in general, along somewhere on the sunset strip, anywhere, you know, where the action is, was or would be… he dropped us at something like 10,678; after wandering (quite) a bit, we found a place for a beer at, like, dude 8,456 Sunset Boulevard This second trip, I rented a car.
Here's "Alice" and I cruising the freeways of LA, out of the city at super high speeds (for a Canadian). I'd pre-arranged and researched where all the "rave parties" would be held while I was in the city. What this recently singled early 30 sumpthin' bonehead was thinking… well that's a whole other story. I guess Alice had thought she might help this silly man drive out of the city to search for the third dry lake bed to the left of some place or other in search of his "the kids"… Quickly, here's a dry lake bed travel tip… Although dry lake beds are flat as flat can be and super fun to dry upon in the middle of a pitch black night under the stars… the roads leading up to them shouldn't really be considered when responsible for the condition upon returning your rented black, convertible Ford Mustang… BUT OH, those stars of LA, just outside the city.
It took us what felt like hours to find my kids, perhaps twenty of them dancing by their make-shift car stereo super-sound system, while juggling glow sticks and marvelling how this Dick VanDyke of a Canadian guy and some sweet woman named Alice had managed to maneuver themselves in such a manner as get a Mustang up and over the ruts on the roads leading to the dry lake so they could crash their little private party out in the pitch black middle of the night in the absolute middle of nowhere somewhere north of the City of LA. - We were kind of surprised ourselves I guess; and pretty much turned right around.
I recall quite fondly the quiet ride back to the City. A couple of lost "once were kids" in an open roofed car, laughing to themselves a wee little bit; not really talking likely totally exhausted and dying to get back to wherever it was they could simply shower and jump into bed. And, it's not what you're thinking… I dropped her in some lonely suburb out on the freeways, she pointed me in the direction of Santa Monica and thanked me for a wonderful evening. I sped away halfway tired and thinking how lucky I was to meet such a wonderfully nice person… thinking of the stars so damned close that you'd almost felt you might need to put up the top of your opened roofed car that you'd forgot now was rented. A now totally ruined black Ford Mustang covered in dry Lake Bed (with luckily no dents in the paint job). I'd likely forgotten how how close I'd come to ruining a moment by dropping the ecstasy I'd smuggle across the boarder on my way to Kim, the ex-First Woman Prime Minister's party… nope, just a nice drive back to my hotel room, to shower and sleep and then hit what was then the AOL chat boards to find out where best to look for "the kids" and find next night's wild, fun goofy little party…
…I found them. Or, perhaps… they found me.
Click the album cover to hear the song that put this memory into my head on the way to the grind on this lovely little morning a long time later and so far far away from that place called LA... DISCLAIMER: this song does not reflect other tracks you may hear on from the Suzuki AREO Speedwagon playlist if you are ever riding in my... Suzuki AREO Speedwagon (or a rented convertible Ford Mustangs)