Driving in this city can be overwhelming. I've lived here for almost thirteen years, and I still get lost going to certain parts of the city. Los Angeles is spread out over so much land. It's almost impossible to drive every corner and remember every crevice. That's just for the average person.
Then there's me. I could pass right by my home if I were to drive a different route. A new landmark takes me about ten visits before I really get comfortable with the directions.
Being a dogwalker has made driving a lot less intimidating. I'm getting used to the westside, and still discovering many places I've never seen. If it weren't for two obvious signs - the sun and the ocean - I'd still be looking for home.
I ordered a new duvet because the one I use now is borrowed. It arrived in record time. The UPS delivery attempt notice was at the new apartment the other day. Given that I don't live there yet, I chose to pick it up at will-call yesterday. I've been there before. Three or four times. It's downtown. 950 South Blaine Street. See? This I know. Getting there is a whole 'nother issue. I think I've gotten lost each time I've driven there. So my car automatically takes me through that lost route.
Yesterday was a slightly different story - bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway. I wanted an alternate route.
My first call went to Cheryl who may have been able to talk me through it. My second call should have gone to Lori but that didn't dawn on me till just this very second. Instead I called the next best person - Andi. Not because she knows LA so well (um, not at all) but I knew chances were good that she'd be close to a computer with internet access.
After confirming that she was indeed at her desk and available I said, "I'm calling for your assistance. I need an alternate route to Downtown LA." To which she replied, "Good luck with that."
I still laugh thinking about that moment.
I gave her my starting address and destination to pull up a map online. Directions indicated I'd need to get back on the freeway but I insisted on an alternate route. [Mapquest used to offer three different routes for each request. The fastest, easiest or non-freeway route. When did they do away with those options?] I basically told her to ignore the directions and tell me what the map looks like.
There I was, driving through the Fashion District (talk about a fish out of water) trying to make heads or tails out of one way streets and narrow passageways, with Andi on the other end looking at a map of all the streets I'm passing, and the ones I would happen upon.
"Yes, the numbers are getting smaller. You'll hit Pico next. Turn left on Olympic. About six blocks after that is Blaine."
Woohoo! It was like a ticker-tape parade in my car when I saw the UPS Pick Up Center! My new roommate got me to my destination. And she's not even here yet. She's gonna do juuuuuust fine!