The Convertible and the Juice My co-worker James does not own a car, and yes, he can still function in Los Angeles. He can get to his two-part time jobs and college courses as well as various hang-out spots on either his bicycle or bus or metro red line (sorta like the subway---only not). James is not totally against cars. He just doesn't like the hassle and expense of ownership. Besides, if he needs a car, he can just walk to the car rental place two blocks away. Apparently, he's a regular there. I guess everyone needs to be a regular somewhere.
Last week, co-worker John (not to be confused with co-worker James---John is taller) told us about a great juice place over on Vine. They will mix any combination of fruit, protein, honey, nuts, etc, and they're cheap. Always willing to try new beverages, I quickly got excited by the idea of blended juice. Oh yes, the tropical flavors, the anti-oxidants. I'm thinking fruity. I'm thinking rainbows. I'm thinking happiness. I'm in a B-52s mood. It's the juice shack, baby!
Then James came up with an idea. Since he had to pick up his rental car, why don't we drive to the juice place. Not a bad idea, I thought.
Do you remember that scene in the movie, LA STORY, when Steve Martin gets into his car and drives to his friend's house which is a half block away? And remember how we all laughed because that was such a silly LA thing to do? Okay, the juice place is a little farther away---a respectable ten-minute walk in fact.
So off we go to the Car Rental Place. In our juice party was James, Julie (the Intern) and myself. John could not join us. I think he had to do some work or something.
At the rental place, we waited patiently in the only three chairs while Brad the rental guy explained to a Tourist family how to get to Santa Monica. They were a typical nuclear tourist family. They had gotten too much sun. The mother and younger daughter had matching Sea World hats. The other daughter was thirteen and going through a goth thing---all in black and looking unenthusiastic. And the father was baffled by the car pool lane.
"It's okay. You can drive in it. You just need to have at least two people in the car." Brad reassured him. Brad was helpful. Brad was more than just a car rental clerk. Brad was super car rental clerk. After Brad sent the Sea World family on their way, he informed another tourist father that there was no Planet Hollywood in Hollywood---it's actually in Myrtle Beach. Now, that's a useless fact I didn't know.
Even though I appreciated the info on LA tourist traps, time was passing, and I wondered if I would ever get to drink juice that day.
"I'll be with you in a second, James." Brad said before disappearing into the back room. He knew James' name. James was a regular. I was going with the flow. Before you could say Shazam!, Brad was back and typed stuff on his mega travel computer behind the counter.
"Would you like a convertible?" Brad asked. James smiled. Julie (the Intern) smiled. I smiled. You know what the answer has to be. I know what the answer has to be. It's April in Los Angeles.
"Yeahhhhh" said James. Good answer! Good answer!
Brad typed some more into his computer.
"Yeah, I have to rent it out, but only for one day because I have a reservation for tomorrow. You will return it tomorrow."
"Of course" said James.
"Let me just get the mileage off it." And Brad disappeared into the back again while James, Julie (the Intern) and Jen did the happy dance. Every once in awhile, circumstances and universal harmonies come together and something really cool happens.
Brad showed us how to get the top down (keep your finger on the button---so much work---not!), and we all climbed in. Julie rode shot gun, and I got the back seat. Not much leg room in the back---but lots of head room.
James slipped his Portishead CD in the player, and we flew out of the rental parking lot. Okay, we didn't fly. James first stopped and let the mother with two small children pass in front of us; then James had to maneuver around the Lays potato chip truck that blocked half of the driveway. But then. Then! We were cruising down Hollywood Boulevard in a convertible in the sunshine. Sure we stopped at traffic lights and ended up behind a bus. But that was okay cause we were cruisin again---cruisin in a convertible down Hollywood Boulevard. Heavy bass, heavy bass, heavy bass. Uh-huh. We're cool. Uh-huh. We live the good life. Uh-huh. We're movie stars. Uh-huh. We're gonna drink juice.
We found the juice place. It really was a shack with plastic chairs all around it. Because parking was street parking, we had to go around the block a few times. Not a problem. James realized that the sporty blue convertible could accelerate on a dime and had some kick to it. Nice.
After parking, putting the roof back up, and dropping some coin in the meter, we headed into the juice place. Oh yes! As I walked in, I could hear carrots and celery being pulverized in a juicer. On the wall were all the juice combinations you could get. Oh yes. Juice. Even though they also had sandwiches, all I wanted was the juice.
We ordered our juice then sat outside on a patio in the back with plants and flowers all around us. Ahhhhh. It was like being in a tropical rain forest---except that there was a flat concrete parking lot on the other side of the fence.
Our juice arrived in a cup as well as a blender pitcher. My juice was the Hawaiian raspberry and was deep pink in color. James ordered the blackberry which looked very purple. Julie (the Intern) had the pink cloud which was light pink. It was good juice all around, and we were most satisfied.
As we walked back to our sporty blue chariot, I remembered that I had to buy nails. I had to put up some plaques in the office, and there were no nails anywhere (I had looked). So off to the Home Depot went we like the breeze through the trees, swiftly, swiftly on we went, weightless, gateless, without a dent.
When we arrived at the Home Depot, we discovered that it was filled with guys shopping. Not wanting to wait on line for just a pack of nails, we walked out and drove back to the office. This time we cruised down Sunset Boulevard.
When we reached the office, I did what I had been wanting to do for an hour. I stood up in the backseat, threw my legs over the side, and hopped down to the ground. Oh yeah, I grew up with Dukes of Hazzard. Yeeeehah!
Epilogue: James did return the car the next day without a scratch on it. Julie is still "the Intern" but wants to be called "the Apprentice". I found nails at the corner deli.