This episode is dedicated to my High School Driver’s Ed Teacher, whose name I can’t remember (although my HS friends probably will), who kept his cool in the car when I stopped dead in the middle of Glen Cove Road & Northern Blvd., and turned off the car until he agreed we could stop at Burger King. You were SO underpaid.
I’m falling seriously behind, so I’m going to whip through my first Killian Commercial Class – Foundation, with the very nice not-Mid-Western-But-Canadian-Which-Is-Almost-The-Same-Thing teacher, Jaret.
Just to let you know, I’ve just begun the Adult Class and am now swimming with the sharks in the deep end of the pool, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, call the Coast Guard and then SAG/AFTRA, in that order.
But before I do, I’m going to tell you about the adventure I had on the way there.
When we last left off, and I hope you at least read that episode, I had gotten a two and a half page email from the Workshop telling me exactly how to get to the class, where to park, how to park, how to walk into the building and a few dozen other instructions that threw me into a spin.
Although I recovered somewhat and left my house early enough to defeat all the myriad of events that could befall me so that I was not late to class, would not be locked out of the building and would not have my car towed and/or stolen by the vindictive Valets at the corner restaurant, I have to tell you that almost everything that could have happened on the road from Burbank to the Workshop in Hollywood, did happen, with the exception of an earthquake.
There was a lot of traffic – way more than usual, the car in front of me got a flat, there was road construction not only in Burbank, but at the Freeway on ramp, the Freeway off ramp and several blocks in Hollywood. There wasn’t a high-speed chase, but there was what is called a Traffic Break, where a CHP office, not Eric Estrada, swoops into traffic and starts weaving across all lanes, gradually slowing until everyone behind him, including me, is forced to a crawl until whatever needs to be cleared up ahead, is cleared.
As if the traffic needed to go any slower than it already was going.
Once off the Freeway and on Cahuenga, one cross street was blocked off for an Event and a homeless person decided to put on a show at the stop light at Santa Monica. He was either pontificating some personal philosophy or rehearsing a monologue from Hamlet, I wasn’t really sure. I love Street Theater so it was pretty entertaining but by that point I was freaking out as the luxurious extra minutes I had allowed and the internal praise I had awarded myself for leaving extra early were dissipating at a rate only slightly faster than my heart had begun beating. And since I couldn’t run him over and still make it to class on time, I had to wait until he exited Stage Left.
I had plugged in my phone so it wouldn’t run out of battery and turned on Google Maps to get me there because it had been a long time since I had been to Hollywood, (literally and figuratively, I might add) and I didn’t want to concentrate on how to get there but more how fast I could get there.
I vaguely remembered the Workshop being somewhere, much like Krakatoa, east of Highland, an uncompliant street to drive either North or South. Google Maps, in all her glory, sent me down Cahuenga, a faster street, if it weren’t for the construction and whatever Event had caused part of that street to be closed, and Act Two of Homeless Man Theater.
I knew to turn right onto Melrose, which used to be trendy but now I’m not sure if it is or isn’t, and even if it still is, this stretch of Melrose never was and never will be, anyway.
I was still in such a state, it didn’t occur to me that the Google Map Girl Voice, who I have dubbed Lucinda, hadn’t exactly instructed me to turn one way or the other.
So by the time I had blown by Java, or Highland and had just about gotten to La Brea, an equally aggravating street to drive North or South, I marshaled whatever presence of mind I had left to look down at my phone.
At that point, I almost slammed into the car in front of me, which would have been game over.
My phone was dying.
Instead of the Google Map Guidance System screen I was hoping to see, I saw this.
I was horrified. Much like leaving a dog or a kid in a car, I thought I had killed my phone. My phone that I still owed $345.19 to AT&T, my phone that had all the numbers of anyone I ever wanted to talk to and a few who I hoped to never hear from again. My phone that held the passwords to every single website I ever had been on, including Killian’s Commercial Workshop. And worse, the address of that Workshop.
A Workshop, it now seemed, I would not be attending.
I quickly pulled over and picked up my phone. It burned my hand. This was serious. My phone was dying and I couldn’t even call 911 or ask Google what to do to save it.
I turned it off and starting pulling off all of the outer coverings. I have an OTTERBOX DEFENDER cover, because I have a horse and that horse lives on a ranch where there are many things that could damage a phone, if dropped, or innocently placed on a bale of hay, for instance.
It had a plastic cover with a built-in plastic screen, a rubber outer cover in a pretty turquoise, because I bought it in Florida, where I had thought I would live forever and so had begun to adopt a more Floridian color palette for my accessories, and it had a removable black plastic clip, so I could keep it on my person always, instead of my handbag, in the most eventual, probable circumstance of receiving THE PHONE CALL regarding one or both of my parents. Anyone with parents over 80 knows what that phone call is.
The point is my phone was way over-dressed, but disrobing it was particularly tricky because Otterbox designed the cover to be resistant to many things, my panicky fingers included. I knew I had to get to class, but I knew I had to save my phone.
I thought I had thought of everything that could happen during my trip from Burbank to Hollywood, but not this. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had developed a sneaking suspicion that Scott Sedita had something to do with this, but that thought would have to wait until I could revive my phone, my journey and my now seemingly short-lived career, in that order.
And the clock was ticking.
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