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Musing #37: Thirty-Five in Los Angeles (or, Parked in a Red Zone)

On the ninth of this month, I turned 35.

(I was, obviously, in Los Angeles.)

On the thirteenth of this month, from Manhattan Island one year ago, I used this bully bloggish pulpit to comment that my 34th birthday had been “a 2×4 to the [f]ace.”


I did not say so at the time, but the fact is that what bothered me most about 34 was its horrifying proximity to 35. In the entertainment business, 34 is the outside of the money-making envelope for most women. The target demographic for advertising is 18 to 34. Salaries for A-list female actors begin to recede once the dreaded 35 threshold is crossed.

Plenty choose to lie about that particular rite of passage. (Cough…Rachel McAdams…cough, cough.) And yours truly certainly ain’t A-list!

I wrote then about how unacceptable my life was to me at 34. What I was really upset with was graduating unsuccessfully into the next demographic.

My week in Los Angeles (during which I crossed that dreaded threshold) had as much to do with business as pleasure. And it was certainly extremely interesting. But I can’t talk about/have no interest in sharing most of it with y’all, love you though I do. What I can say is this:

Los Angeles was an emotional, psychological and physiological Tilt-a-Whirl.

Don’t get me wrong. The trip was not bad. It was just…a lot. Of life experience. And Murphy’s law. It left with me shitloads to ponder. But it was also a series of personal disasters that are not classified, just hilarious….At least, now. They were decidedly unfunny in situ.


And so, for your amusement, dearest readers, below is a timeline of my LA-related tsuris:

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Thursday, September 4th
Late Afternoon: Wandered aimlessly around downtown NYC, theoretically shopping for sandals, silently dreading my imminent vacation.

5:30PM: Left near-dead iPhone5S in cab on way home from wandering. Knew immediately. Have no land line. Roommate out of town. Freaked the fuck out. Used G-chat to contact a sister, who texted my LA host and wisely suggested purchasing a burner phone.

6:30PM: Ran home from Delancey Street with burner phone. Full-scale panic attack. Called to delay 7:00PM car to 7:30PM. Frantically [over-] packed.

7:30PM: Jumped in car. Freaked the fuck out all the way to JFK. Called missing near-dead iPhone from burner (obsessively).

9:00PM: Miraculously made flight. Miraculously got call from cab driver on burner phone as I was boarding. Asked cabbie to hold the shit for a week. Felt better about phone. Still dreaded trip. Boarded. Took Benadryl. Passed out.

Friday, September 5th
12:15AM, Pacific Time: Picked up at LAX (in Benadryl fog) by LA host. Went to mutual friend’s place. Borrowed spare iPhone3GS.

Early Afternoon: Felt awkward with host over [REDACTED]. Went to AT&T store to get SIM card for borrowed iPhone.

Late Afternoon: Told by Enterprise Rent-A-Car that debit card wasn’t sufficient collateral for a non-resident. Needed credit card. Hadn’t paid bill. Paid friggin’ bill via borrowed iPhone. Bill did not clear immediately. Left sans car. Tension with host mounted.

Night: Drank too much. Had alleged three-hour sobbing breakdown screaming match with host. (Don’t remember much. Wish I remembered nothing. Oy.)

Saturday, September 6th
Early Afternoon: Woke wearing previous day’s sundress and pajama shorts, as though passed out mid-change. Host screaming match continued. Ordered to take a walk. Sat on stoop, took off red glasses and sobbed instead. Went back inside still sobbing. Couldn’t find red glasses. Host screaming match continued. Enterprise closed for the day. No iPhone5S. No red glasses. No car.

Eventually: Host left (in huff) for rest of day/night, ordering me not to lay in darkness and cry all day.

All Day: Laid in darkness and cried.

Sunday, September 7th
Late Morning: Ubered it to Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Glendale (because they refused to pick me up, despite their famous slogan). Dropped off at wrong Enterprise in Glendale. Realized one I was at was closed. Realized I’d left the borrowed iPhone in the friggin’ Uber car. Freaked the fuck out. Hated self.

Minutes of Panic Later: Realized I had burner phone in purse, but no smartphone Internet access. Refused to call host. Ran crying into toy store, begging for access to computer. Got access from handsome sales clerk. (Struggling actor, surely.) Called Uber driver. Called other Enterprise in Glendale. Got directions. Walked over a mile in blazing midday heat.

Afternoon: Finally got car. No clue how to work it. Windshield wipers flapping uncontrollably in parking lot. Mortified about wipers. Mortified about iPhone(s). Terrified of driving. Drove straight “home.” Arrived basket-case. Napped.

Eventually: Uber driver returned borrowed iPhone. Host returned. Still awkward, but improving. Attempted hike with host. Nearly fainted. Aborted hike.

Monday, September 8th
Afternoon: Terrified driving from Los Feliz to Century City. Did OK. Borrowed iPhone died on drive back. Lost in central Los Angeles for nearly two hours, coached by host via merciful burner phone. Arrived “home” basket-case (again).

Night: Exhausted, waiting for host to return and unlock apartment. Let into lobby by neighbors. Spotted missing red glasses sitting atop mailboxes. Hated self (again). Fell asleep in lobby.

Tuesday, September 9th
6:16AM, Central Time: Crossed dreaded 35 threshold. Felt 2×4 to face (again) upon waking.

Morning: Terrified driving from Los Feliz to Burbank. Did OK. Borrowed iPhone died on drive back. Trunk open and flapping uncontrollably on expressway. For miles. Lost again. Refused to call host. Arrived “home” basket-case (again).

Wednesday, September 10th
Afternoon: Thought I was doing better with the driving. Wasn’t. Host saw rental car for first time. Informed me, aghast, that I’d been parked in a “red zone” for days. Didn’t know what a “red zone” was. Found out. (Oy.)

Thursday, September 11th
Afternoon: Returned rental car, miraculously unscathed. Nearly got into parked car that was not my host’s.

Night: Actually got into stranger’s car. Freaked the fuck out of stranger. Found self to be ridiculous. Stared down giant raccoon. Named raccoon “Gideon.” Giggled with host all night. (Thank the Force!)

Friday, September 12th
Morning: Cracked out. Frantically packed. Nearly missed flight (again).

All Day: Traveled cracked out to Salt Lake City. Slept cracked out on airport floor during three-hour layover. Traveled cracked out on to JFK.

Night: Got home. Turned back into pumpkin. Keeled the fuck over.

Saturday, September 13th
Evening: Schlepped out to Queens to recover missing iPhone5S from patient cabbie. (May the Force be with him!)

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Obviously, dearest readers, there was far more to my trip than just the above-enumerated series of personal disasters.

But failure is vastly more entertaining than success, don’t you find?

Someday, I’ll write the entire whirlwind into a novel. And/or screenplay. Complete with happy parts, of which there were plenty. (I swear!)

Until then, “Damn the LA-related tsuris, full speed ahead!”

Disaster Personified


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