Getting there

Last week at this time, I was in Los Angeles. It feels like last year. This week has been a little crazy and I realize I have not really been meeting my awesome Internet Responsibilities. Fortunately for you, the internet is filled to brimming with things to read, so I imagine that even when I falter, you're able to soldier on without me.

I went to L.A. to visit a couple of friends. The first night I was in town I stayed at a hotel because I had already paid for it long ago via some coupon and because I like hotels. I thought that it would be impolite to make my friend pick me up from the airport in order to take me to a hotel, only to pick me up at the hotel in order to take me to her house the very next day. And so, I decided to take a shared shuttle van into Beverley Hills. By the way, if you are hoping to make a polished, if not actually glamorous, arrival at your fancy boutique hotel (at which you could not reasonably afford to stay without the aforementioned coupon), pulling up to the valet station in a shared airport van and clamoring out of the backseat over your fellow passengers is probably not the best way. I assume most of the Beverly Hills crowd doesn't find it dismaying to spend fifty bucks on a taxi, but I think it does them good to mingle with flat-shoed commoners like me from time to time.

While economically and environmentally sound, shared vans are also not the world's most efficient way to get anywhere. There's a lot of waiting around and then there's quite a bit of circling the airport in case there might be more cheap frugal travelers to pick up. Of course, there are, so that's a whole other thing what with the suitcases and awkward boarding and all. After about an hour in the airport (during which I witnessed a really heart-rending drama of a man pulling up to the arrivals passenger-loading zone--where you're basically arrested if you linger for more than three minutes--and then promptly locking his keys and phone in his car, which suggests that being picked up by your friend can potentially be even less efficient than a shuttle), I was on my way.

Quite luckily, I was the second person (of seven) to be dropped off. This would have been more of a triumph had the driver been able to actually find the hotel. Instead we drove up and down the street and around the block several times while five other passengers pretended they didn't want to murder me and fling me out the side door. Since the last time I was there (a two-night coupon, friends, meted out, ever so cleverly, one night at a time over two years), they had moved the entrance from the front to the side of the building, meaning that the actual entrance no longer corresponds with the address. And there is no sign. (Maybe it's too cool of a hotel to have a sign? I know that "too cool to have a sign" is a category of bar, but is it a category of hotel? It seems flawed from a marketing perspective and from a your-customer-base-is-comprised-of-tired-people-who-don't-know-where-anything-is-because-they-are-not-from-your-town perspective. But I work at a school, so what do I know. We totally have a sign.) By the time we found it, there was rather a steely silence radiating from my fellow passengers. I was relieved to bid them farewell and I'm sure they could not have been more delighted to see me on my way.

Next up: Being there

However, since you've been so patient, I will give you a Friday bonus:
This morning on Haight Street, a large 50s-style convertible passed by, all the occupants of which, with the exception of the driver, were enormous teddy bears. Three in the back, and one riding shotgun.

As with most things encountered on Haight Street, I can offer no explanation.