So this one day my landlady tells me they’re going to throw a party in the driveway in front of my room in the rear house, and the music would be blaring from the garage underneath me, so I should probably plan to be out that afternoon and night. She knocked $100 off the rent, so I figured I could find something to do. I idly wondered if there might be enough parties each month for me to live there rent free, but didn’t say anything as I searched for someplace to go. Unfortunately all of the UCLA sports teams were either away or playing the next day, and I didn’t feel like shelling out all of that rebate on a theater or concert ticket. There were no movies I wanted to see either, so it took a while to figure out what to do.
What I finally decided on was a visit to a part of Los Angeles I hadn’t been to in years, Culver City. A number of factors took me to this decision, not the least being a station on the Expo line stopping right there, but the most important was the fact that soon I would have a doctor’s appointment out there and wanted to scope out the place so I wouldn’t be late when it finally arrived.
But of course I had plenty of time to waste, so once I got downtown I sat down at my favorite place on Olvera Street, Juanita’s, for my usual bean and cheese burrito, followed by the requisite vanilla soft serve at Miss Kitty’s. But since it was the weekend the usual guys I know weren’t on duty, so in the end I didn’t spend much time there before heading back to Union Station to catch the subway and then transfer to the Expo line.
Other than having to play undercover amongst a sea of Trojan fans—already heading to the tailgates six hours before the game!—it was a boring long trip to Culver City, with my headphones full of an audiobook, something I’ve recently tried again and liked a lot more than previous attempts, when it would put me to sleep. Remembering that the last time I was on this line was the same day I’d hurt my elbow while shooting beach volleyball at Santa Monica, I forced myself to think of brighter things, but none came to mind as the train arrived and spat me out.
Heading out of the train station, there’s construction going on, so it’s hard to get a sense for the street geography, and indeed I took a wrong turn. In my defense, it’s a very strange crossing of three thoroughfares at weird angles, and when I finally got to check the map on my phone I saw that it didn’t matter all that much, at least as far as my first goal, the doctor’s office. And I actually enjoyed this walk, finding a future place to eat—amongst many—as well as some interesting buildings and places I’d vaguely heard of.
Once I turned onto the street in question and located the building I needed, I kept going onto Venice, where I headed back in the direction I came, having seen a couple of things on the map I wanted to check out. Most importantly was the In ‘N’ Out, but that was for later. The first target was The Ripped Bodice, but before I got there I came across a beautiful curly-haired brunette wearing a floral dress and knee-high black boots. That combination shouldn’t work—I’m a photographer, I’m supposed to know these things—but she rocked it. I even made her dimple when I mentioned boots never go out of style. This was definitely a case of my friend Cheryl’s lyric of “I fall in love at least four times a day.”
But finally I did get to the romance bookstore, which was just as idiosyncratic as the mystery and sci-fi stores of the past. There was some funky though expected décor, quirky merchandise that was only peripherally book-related, and less books than I expected, since the place was pretty small. I had the most fun in the erotica section, of course, though I did find something from one of my fave authors. . . who writes hard sci-fi! And the Millennium Falcon made an appearance too. . . unlike the men’s books.
Made a brief stop at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which was a low-key bucket list-type place, but didn’t get to do much because it was near closing time. Besides, they don’t allow photos. I’ll probably try again when I have that doctor’s appointment, and hopefully I’ll remember to take notes.
Next up, though I still wasn’t that hungry, was In ‘n’ Out. This was the smallest of the chain I’ve ever seen, particularly when you see the line for the drive-thru blocking cars trying to get out of their spaces in the parking lot, so I had to stand around looking awkward while holding up a wall until my special order finally showed up. As I exited I heard music coming from the park across the street, so I figured listening up close would be a fun way to spend the time eating, and boy was I right.
I ended up staying two hours there, listening to the band of congas—well, not so much a band as a weekly jam—before they called it quits, but long enough to catch a couple of videos.
Talked to some of the musicians after—Señor Yum Yum, seriously?—but soon enough it was time to move on. Figuring there was nothing left for me there, I headed for the train station, only to be joined in my walk by a beautiful redhead who engaged me in small talk. Since this kind of thing doesn’t happen to me, I knew she had some ulterior motive, but as long as it didn’t require me reaching for my wallet I figured I’d indulge her, and myself, of course. Have I ever mentioned how much I love redheads? (Check the title of this blog site. . .)
So, after a long enough time for me to fall in love yet again—see above, about the song lyric—she saw we were close to the train station and pointed across the street, informing me brightly that it was a strip club full of girls as beautiful as her. I told her I doubted that, which seemed to make her blush, then patted her on the shoulder and moved on without a goodbye. I hoped I didn’t daydream too obviously on the train. . .