Neighborhood Strolls

I can think of a few better ways to start one’s day than getting rear-ended on the 101N on the way to the Man Plumber. Dozens, actually. But that’s the way yesterday started. Crawling along the right lane of the 101N, about to exit at Van Nuys Blvd., when the traffic just stopped, and we stopped hard, narrowly missing the car in front of us. Not so lucky for the car behind us, which slid into our rear bumper, pushing us into the car in front of us.

Before I knew it, both the driver from the front vehicle and the driver behind me were standing at my window, as I was fumbling with my phone to dial 911. Okay, so I overreacted a tad. We all retired to the side of the road and amidst the automotive effluvia and din of the Valley’s relentless traffic flow, we lined up our insurance cards on the stump of the guardrail and snapped photos of them, after determining everyone except my trunk was okay. After we exchanged phone numbers by typing them into the first driver’s phone, he actually had the chutzpah to ask the rear-ender out for a drink.

Great, I thought, he thinks this is his ‘meet cute’ moment. She demurred, saying she was on her way out of the country soon. This is not, by the way, the thing you want to hear the person who just rear-ended you say. At least all of us had insurance, which is more than I can say for some of the car accidents in my past.

If you live in Los Angeles for any length of time, you have at least a few notches in your car accident belt. There was the time the gardener plowed into our Volkswagen Passat (the car was never the same), and the time the lady broadsided me in the Macy’s parking lot just after I’d picked up my son from school. (No, he didn’t go to school at Macy’s).

So, you’d think I’d be more adept at the body-shop selection process. I spoke with my State Farm Agent (of 30+ years) and was connected with the claims department, someone in Minnesota, I think, because she recommended a body shop in the 4000s of E. Olympic Boulevard. In East LA. So off I went after dropping Jimmie off at home, driving to East LA and depositing my car about 20-40 minutes from where we live depending on the time of day. They then took me to a car rental place in Montebello, and by now I was totally befuddled and slightly hysterical about getting to work.

The day brightened considerably when I went to get one of my crowns re-installed. On the Wedding Trail during the final family dinner, I felt my peerage slipping and ended up holding one of my crowns in my hand above my chicken and salad plate. How many can she have, you ask? Again, dozens, it seems. Must be something in the water in LA. At the Ostrow School of Dentistry, my dentist deftly returned my crown to it’s original site. The day done, I headed home to dinner with my prince and our periodic evening stroll in the neighborhood.

Last Friday, 6/23/17, was the grand opening of the Wilshire Grand Center/Intercontinental Hotel, the tallest building on the West Coast, which celebrated with a spectacular light show of it’s impressive array of LED lights, ending with a repeating phasing of the moon image which was realistic and quite beautiful. And no, the iphone shot doesn’t do it justice.

Last night’s neighborhood stroll was a walk up Figueroa, ending at the base of this amazing structure – $1.35 Billion to construct, over the past three years. We’ve watched this like proud parents, marking the height of the tower as it grew on the wall of the patio, or at least digitally in pictures, and we marched straight into the lobby up the beautiful ramp provided for our access like we owned the place. After the sparkling water staircase just outside the front door, under the huge glass canopy, came the ground floor lobby (which isn’t the actual hotel lobby – that’s on the 70th floor).

To access the lobby, you pass through another gorgeous space to an imposing bank of elevators with inscrutable digital screens. We were not the only neighbors investigating the scene last night. We boarded the elevator with about three other people.

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We rode silently up, my ears popping at about the 49th floor, arriving at the 70th floor in less than a minute, disembarked in a hallway leading to the Sky Lobby and Lounge, which unfolded  with the gorgeous (if incredibly smoggy) panoramic view from the top of the tower. Jimmie was way ahead of me on his scooter, moving across the elegantly appointed lounge to the bank of windows to look out. Who knew there were so many helipads in Los Angeles? And what do the numbers mean on them?

Some rooftop helipads have a mandatory large 2 digit number written over them. 8, 21, 12, etc.. These numbers are the weight limit in thousands of pounds, set for a landing helicopter on that particular helipad.8 is 8,000 lbs, 12 is 12,000 lbs.

Quora.com

Of course we looked for our building.

We checked it all out. Next we went up to the 71st Floor, where we we peeked into the restaurant I’ve already booked for our 33rd wedding anniversary in September. It was closed but looked intriguing from down the hallway…

Back at the bank of elevators, we struggled to get clarity on which lobby we wanted. We pressed Lobby 1 but access was denied, so we pressed Lobby 2 and ended up stuck on a floor with no way out but to exit onto the Wilshire Boulevard side, which we did. This afforded us a nice view of the new landscaping on that side of the building and a corner upshot of the building before we went on to continue our stroll.

Our homeward trek included a stop at Macy’s in The Bloc, which Jimmie hadn’t seen since the renovation that plucked the roof off the galleria and made it like a big outdoor living room. People were stretched out on the furniture inside enjoying the evening. We zipped through Macy’s and ended up in the toddler department, picking up a few summer outfits for our granddaughter.

Home again, the sting of the morning’s fender-bender felt very inconsequential in the scheme of things.

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