Friday, November 30, 2007

I forgot to mention that I saw the picketers when we drove by CBS studios on our way to lunch at the Fairfax farmers market yesterday. No surprise to anyone, I'm sure, but I think Carson Daly is a loser, crossing picket lines to work on his show.

I've lost track how many times I've said "Susan? This is Susan," in the past few days. In planning a lunch date and a dinner, I exchanged many phone calls and left many messages, most of which said, "Susan, this is Susan. Call me."

So, coming back to L.A. after fifteen years has been mostly a good experience. My lunch with Susan yesterday was really nice, and really put some of my anxieties about my former life here in perspective. The fact that Susan was willing to have lunch with me even though I must have been the biggest freak show she'd ever encountered when we first met fifteen years ago was reassuring because, really, I was completely and absolutely screwed up back then. The fact that she didn't end up wanting to throw me off a bridge is really quite comforting. Anyway, we had a nice lunch, and she made me laugh, just like old times.

Today, I went to the Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits. Okay, here is one reason I was miserable when I lived in L.A. I was seriously, seriously poor--my T.A. stipend didn't even cover the rent for university housing. It made it very difficult to socialize with the other graduate students, because we'd go out for their version of a cheap dinner, and it would require me to spend three weeks worth of grocery money (not that there were any grocery stores in South Central L.A., but that's another post). Anyway, I used to ride my bike west on Wilshire from downtown to LACMA on Thursday (?) evenings, because the museum was free for the last few hours of the day. And when I'd get there, I'd always spend some time hanging on the fence in front of the Page Museum ( just next door to LACMA), looking at the bubbling, oily water, wishing I could go to the Page Museum instead of the art museum, but never feeling like I could spend the money. I couldn't justify the four buck expenditure when I could go to the Natural History museum at USC for free, or LACMA for free; four bucks--that's a chicken sandwich, after all.

So, yeah, a lot of hours spent hanging on the fence, wishing I could go inside the museum. So, today, I finally got to cough up my four dollars, and go inside. I spent two and a half hours there (small museum), in the museum, and at the pits outside. I guess most people wouldn't think it was ALL THAT, but to me, it was something I've been wanting to do for fifteen years. It's hard to explain to people why I get so angry at the class privilege I run into so often in academia. I'm not sure the average academic would understand how much it hurts to have to stay outside. Just typing this up makes me struggle not to cry--wanting something you know you'll never get, something most people take for granted, that will eat you alive if you let it.

The Page Museum is deliciously 1970s, exactly my favorite kind of building:

Even the birds like the mammoths:

Museum atrium with flowers and animals:

That small spot of bubbling asphalt in the parking lot fifteen years ago? It's grown:

I had dinner tonight with Susan (ha--fooled you, different Susan!) at the Newsroom Cafe. They don't seem to have a website, maybe it's already so famous it doesn't need one. Google describes it as trendy, a place to see and be seen, so maybe I shouldn't have worn a cardigan sweater to dinner? Never going to make a reputation in a cardigan. Just in case someone hits this page doing a search on "Newsroom Cafe Parking": instead of wandering the crowded streets looking for a parking space, go south on Robertson, turn left/east on Alden Drive (toward Cedars-Sinai), and then turn left into the subterranean parking garage. Expensive, but quick.

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