i had two goals yesterday: stay away from the Grove and try to get a good ride out of the UCLA game at the Rose Bowl.
the morning was slow and i was downtown and a super cute girl jumped in and said, the Grove, and if you can, make it fast.
turned out she works at Nordstrom and was running a little late for work.
just goes to show you that theres no way to avoid any part of town from DTLA to Santa Monica. maybe groups stay in certain LA zones, but individuals will bop you around.
the mile radius around the city’s most popular shopping mall was packed, as expected, and so after i dropped her off i turned off my phone because the last thing i wanted was to haul a dozen of some rich lady’s Christmas gifts three blocks to her condo.
but then i thought, screw it, why not. dont be a prick. so i turned it on and drove east back to downtown and got a beep from this health food grocery store restaurant back over at the grove area.
i looked at it and said, oh hell no. thats all i need some kale eating mfers in here spilling their protein shakes.
but i took the deal, turned around and picked up two italian models and a german photographer.
the girls needed to go to west hollywood, the photog wanted to go to santa monica. he asked if that was ok.
i said, how about i stay in west hollywood with the bellas, and you take the car to the beach?
we became fast friends. the photog is 25, travels the world, has a place in NYC, spends time in hawaii, brazil. tells me that 1 in 10 models wink wink nudge nudge.
but he does it for the beautiful pictures.
i now have an idol.
i asked him how long he needs with a model to get 5-6 good shots. he says 20 minutes, but that freaks the girls out, so he usually spends about an hour.
took some girls to the century city mall and suddenly i wasnt so happy any more
on thanksgiving i took an uber to dinner and talked with the driver who said the $4 trips is what kills him, and i said me too.
it’s because you spend time getting there, you wait, they finally get in and you drive them a mile and the fare is $4 but you only get $2.40 out of it.
if you get two of those in a row you’re basically making $5-6 an hour. it can depress you.
so i risked it and drove to LAX to see if i could hover around some of the hotels and see if someone wanted a ride to the grove.
if all signs were pointing to malls, maybe the poor saps who got LAX hotels wanted to do some shopping.
lord knows theres no where to shop around LAX.
so i did a few circles around the joint and got nothing. so i figured ok, it’s noon-ish, let’s drive through the hood and see if some stories come my way. sure some guy got shanked in his uber in south central last week, but this is the day time!
so i drove east down manchester and got to hollywood park when i got a beep near the 405.
i remember there was a motel six there and a best western and feared they just wanted me to drive them to the airport because there probably isnt a motel 6 shuttle.
got there and it was three teenage looking international students
the guy who sat next to me was from mexico city, the girl was from tokyo and her touchy feely maybe boyfriend was from columbia
we want to go downtown to go shopping.
i said, thats a perfect idea.
as we drove i asked them if they’d ever been in Little Tokyo. i told them about Mr. Ramen, the pho shop that plays reggae.
they told me they all met in santa barabara at a language school and did not know the word reggae.
i said, you clearly didnt live in Isla Vista.
boy did they laugh.
i said my car will alert me when Bob Marley comes on the radio and i will play it for you then.
within minutes One Love came on and i said voila, mi amigos.
cutest kids ever. they all had to go back to their countries in a week or two and were sad about it and i said dont worry, obama will let you come back.
got to the rose bowl and sometimes i wonder why i try my luck over there. the cops shut down the roads into the stadium
and the people seem to think that they can just summon an uber from anywhere.
but what was worse was, once i did sneak into the DMZ by following a rich local in a Benz, and after finding the family of 3, they just wanted a ride to a local hotel where they parked their car. $5.
no worries, theres plenty of people around, surely one of them wants to go back to Westwood. ding. same hotel, turn around, this lady wants to go to neighboring eagle rock. has no idea there was even a game. what? $9.
turn back around, head back to pasadena for one more ride. third times a charm i tell myself.
and sure as silk, it’s three chinese girls, heavy accents, ucla shirts, take us to the century city mall.
i say, how do i say i love you in chinese.
they laugh and laugh. we have the best conversations about china and pollution and buddhism.
the quietest one tells me she visited santa barbara once. i said, did you go to Isla Vista?
she said, yes. i said, ok, how many boys did you kiss?
and they giggled and she did not answer.
i said omg so guilty. but it’s ok, love is beautiful. i hope they teach you that at ucla.