Where to begin, where to begin?
“I’m only sorta gimpy. I can get there by myself.” I told a curb side check in agent for American Airlines. He smirked and let out a laugh and I went on my way into Tampa International Airport to start my trip on Tuesday morning. I had my Eastman backpack swung over my shoulders, dress pants on and my “trusty” cane in hand as I navigated the terminal and made my way to the airside concourse.
American Airlines made it real easy on me and helped me out the entire way to and from Burbank. Being it lead onto the plane by a Stewardess in Tampa or the ticket-agent trying to get me a replacement flight to Tampa from Dallas if I didn’t make that conneciton flight (more on that later)… AA kicked ass in their service.
The big thing about this that upset my parents and extended family was I was going 2200 miles by my lonesome as my first trip solo. Not to mention I’m still a gimp to one extent or another, walking with and without a cane at times.
Not like I needed to care about being gimpy once I got on the streets of LA.
If there’s one difference that is night and day in La Cuidad de Angels compared to Tampa/St. Pete and the suburbs, it’s the fact that pedestrians have the right of way. Here in Florida, I’d get run down sooner than a car actually wait to turn during a green light. In Los Angeles? I got honked at for not walking and waving cars on at an intersection. That was the biggest adjustment, and the most pleasing.
The other thing that hits me hard every time I am out there is getting used to being surrounded by minorities. Mexicans, Japaneese, African Americans, etc…. One huge eclectic mix. Here in the south, people can only hold closed minded views and hold fear when thinking about situations like that. Me? I fucking LOVED it.
Sure, there is the idea you could get jumped by a gang here and there — that was before I did some thinking and observing. Grandma’s were out walking with canes, unmolested by teens hanging out and kids walking around with CD players weren’t being attacked… I think that gives you an idea it’s safe to be out and about during the daytime and not so intimidated…
At any rate, half the reason I was able to do this trip was my buddy out west, Mark Albracht who I know from SkyscraperPage.com. Me and Mark have known each other a while and have been friends for the past year +…. He had picked me up at the airport and we also spent some time in Hollywood looking around and stuff. It was fun to be out there and see some of the places that I have only heard about (the Kodak theater, the Egyptian….. The Walk of fame…).
Damn, there is so much to talk about and yet I am just rambling through it. And at the same time, there is little to talk about because I didn’t do much while out there. While I liked being on my own on a trip, I would have loved a peer with me (not a parent) to enjoy some of the things that I passed on or didn’t spend enough time with.
Of course, the trip did have it’s low point – my birthday . The day started off as it normally did in LA but I had an appointment that morning. A long overdue ABI checkup. What went so bad? Being forced into an MRI that i didn’t want to have done, having to sit around for four hours until I had the prodcedure, then being in physical and emotional pain with how I was dealt with by the staff… To summarize my birthday was to summarize my life: spent with me trying to look good, voyaging, meeting a friend, being duped by a faux ally, pain, humiliation and ultimately ending alone. Great attitude, wouldn’t you say? 😛 😉
Oh, I forgot to add the part about Burbank. Saturday morning I left my hotel (after barely getting any sleep) to encounter the worst fog I had seen first hand since I was a kid. The flight was grounded until almost 9 and could have made me miss my conneciton flight home… And like I said, a ticket agent stepped right up and arranged things for me if I did miss my connection. Luckily, once airborn, we made up time lost and actually came in ahead of schedule (but still not enough time for this guy to grab a meal while on the DFW International concourse.
I’m planning on getting away some more in coming weeks. A trip to NY for instance…. Who knows where else. Where I’m wanted and where I’m curious would most likely be it.