three lessons i didn't learn in school:
lesson number one: always make sure you know where you're going.
after finally getting the air conditioner up in my window (ghetto style), i realized that not only would my window being open bring in sounds from the outside, but smells as well. i LOVE the area where i live right now. in this gigantic city, it's almost like a little nook and this neighborhood seems to be a very tight knit community. however, it's still a city--meaning that the garbage bag i saw moving around in the grass last night was a homeless person sleeping on the lawn of an elementary school and the lovely view out of my bedroom is of a gas station. as every area does, it's got its benefits and downsides. one downside i've realized of living in a city-like area is the fact that people are generally hanging around smoking cigarettes. which brings us back to my window being open and smells traveling into my room. it's not that my room smells like a giant ashtray, but i decided that i needed something to brighten up the smell in here and make it feel more like home. when you walk into my bedroom in raleigh, the smell of lavender fills the air thanks to a bath and body works air-freshener called a wallflower. when i was checking my mail (old school mail, not email) the other day, a bed bath and beyond coupon came tumbling out. something in my brain didn't click and i got so excited thinking i could get twenty percent off of my wallflower. later that night, i made the trek out to the grove in west hollywood (very similar to south point mall in durham but three times as big). i could have SWORN i had seen a bed bath and beyond in the area the other day. i drove around for twenty minutes not finding anything. i searched my GPS for the nearest bed bath and beyond and found one back in the complete opposite direction closer to my apartment. after realizing that the other one didn't exist, it was a beautiful sight to pull onto vine street and see the gigantic sign. i spent another fifteen minutes looking for parking and then finally discovered a nearby parking deck. i pulled in, grabbed a ticket, took the elevator, walked through the automatic doors, and stepped inside with a smile on my face and looked around. i took two steps forward and then stopped cold in my tracks. i had meant to go to a bath and body works the entire time. moral of the story: pay better attention to things.
lesson number two: two words: validated. parking.
every day in los angeles is a struggle for parking. you hear people talk about the ridiculous traffic and the impossible parking, but until you live here and experience it first-hand, you never really get it. in raleigh, i'm used to the very simple concept of parking lots. when you go somewhere, you pull into the area where all the cars are lined up, you find an empty spot, and make sure your car is between the two lines. in LA, it's extremely rare to find a regular parking lot. the general idea of parking out here is summed up in two words: good luck. i wish i was just making a funny joke, but those are two words that have been spoken to me many times when asking a stranger about parking. since i've been here, i've relied on two methods of parking: 1. finding an open gap between cars where the sidewalk is not red, yellow, white, or blue and where traffic is not busy enough so that i can stand beside my car and read through all eleven signs making sure that i'm not violating one of the rules. 2. parking next to a meter that i can either stuff with quarters or slide my debit card into. as i pulled into the parking deck of the bath and body works, i quickly scanned the sign and read "first hour free". on my way out ten minutes later, i handed my ticket to the man in the booth and my mouth dropped open as he asked me for two dollars. i shouted in exaggeration, "TWO DOLLARS?! i was in the store for thirty seconds!" he then asked me if i bought anything and pointed to the sign--which this time, i read more carefully: "first hour free with validation." i then was taught the invaluable lesson about getting your parking validated. over the next few days, i managed to go to kinkos, the farmer's market, the coffee bean, and target ALL for free because--for the first time in my life--i understood what it meant to get your parking validated. another important lesson learned about parking: no matter how many quarters you put down the slot, meters that say "fail" aren't broken, they just don't require you to pay. there goes $2.75. moral of the story: los angeles needs parking lots.
lesson number three: always be prepared to dry your hair in the kitchen.
as i got ready for dinner the other night--my first los angeles outing with a friend--i had gotten out of the shower and decided that it was too quiet in the apartment. i mean, there was the usual honking of cars driving by and the propeller-like sound of my two fans and air conditioner, but i needed something a little more upbeat. i decided to bring the computer into my room and turn on some music. at the time, it didn't occur to me that the few outlets in my bedroom and bathroom were powering the following things: a phone charger, two fans, a portable air conditioner, a TV, a computer, a string of globe lights, and a brand new bath and body works air-freshener. i flipped on my hair dryer and within two minutes, my globe lights went dark, every fan in the room came to a halt, and with a whoosh, the hairdryer buzzed to a stop. as i remembered that in the apartment sara and i lived in together, both of our hairdryers going at the same time would cause a blackout, i frantically searched around for a fusebox. i looked in closets, behind doors, and even stood on kitchen counters searching through the various cabinets. after unsuccessfully reaching the landlord, i decided that my only option was to continue getting ready and deal with my electrical mishap after dinner. luckily, a few lights and outlets in the kitchen were still running. at that moment, i did what any crafty twenty-something, living-on-her own, single young woman would have done. i hopped onto the counter across from the fridge and finished doing my hair. moral of the story: know your way around a kitchen.