No Adventures Here

Moments before we purposely missed our train at the Pico Blvd Metro Station.

As of this morning I’ve been back in Chicago for two weeks. The majority of my time has been spent working on some unfinished design projects, editing photos, polishing up the portfolio, backing up data, and generally eradicating tons of useless junk from my life. I’ve also been making up ten-fold for two months of no bike riding and (almost) no Mexican food.

I also came across an outstanding written record of a particularly derelict adventure from last August. Below is the copied and pasted version direct from text edit. Please excuse the blatant lack of capitalization.

I heart LA: The story of yesterday (August 18, 2008)

after waking up a bit disheveled from the night prior and indulging in a chorizo scramble at potholder, we decided to catch the metro to downtown LA to ride some hills and shoot a few photos. an impulsive decision to jump off the train at pico blvd left us chasing after a train that still contained a bag with my camera as well as the keys to billy’s apartment and car. as the train left, i was able to sign my phone number to a younger lady and her kids who we’d sat next to, hoping they would take the bag and proceed to call me to pick it up later.

half an hours worth of eavesdropping provided us with the knowledge that they would be catching the red line up to hollywood for an afternoon of shopping before eventually catching the gold line back out to pasadena. at this point, we could wait around and hope she called, or we could take off on our bikes and try and beat the redline from downtown to the hollywood and vine street station where we would catch her.

without much debate, we took off up the hill on figuroa and headed west on sunset blvd through echo park and silverlake, splitting lanes and bombing hills and landing ourselves in hollywood about 25 minutes later. billy manned the station while i wandered around the neighborhood looking for them. after about an hour of no luck, we decided that i would hold down the hollywood and vine station and billy would cruise over to hollywood and highland in the chance that the could end up there. just as we’re ready to give up, billy spotted her at the elevator heading back underground. it turns out she gave the bag to a metro employee at the 7th street metro center station back downtown.

the mood was celebratory while riding the red line back downtown to claim our bag. after all, we had chased down a random woman in a city of over four million people. we’d go downtown, acquire the bag, and salvage what was left of the day. suffice to say, the mood shifted when we got downtown to discover that there are no actual employees working at the station. our chase led us to all ends of the station, as well as the surrounding blocks at street level downtown. a maintenance worker went out of his way to help us out, and even called the offices to check on the lost and found. apparently nothing had been reported and lost and found claims take three business days to register.

after another hour or so of wandering around the station looking for figures of authority, we’re ready to give up again. finally, while i was outside being transfered from operator to operator with the mta, billy went back underground and got the attention of a subway conductor. to do this, he had to fight off a crackhead who claimed the front car to be his own. the conductor responded to the commotion, and when billy informed him of our situation, he simply went into a little office and came out with our bag. as i’m outside arguing on my phone with the mta, billy walks up with the bag and brian unexpectedly cruises up 7th street in his pontiac. all is well and then some. we celebrate with sandwiches.

brian took off after dinner in typical unannounced fashion. billy and i found ourselves on top of a parking garage downtown, debating whether to call it a day or to head out to west hollywood to meet some friends for a drink. we decided that the best option would be to do neither, and ride out to silverlake to have a beer at a bar called good, which has a beer list that puts both jerry’s and the yardhouse to shame. at good, thirteen dollars buys you one beer, but when that one beer is a 22 oz triple ipa with the same alcohol content as some wines, it’s more than acceptable. so relatively drunk off of one beer each, we decided to acquire sparks for the metro ride back to long beach.

we rode back to 7th street station downtown before deciding that we’d rather wait above ground for the train at pico blvd and drink our sparks outside. by this time, it’s about 10:45. while drinking in an abandoned lot, the train appeared from nowhere, causing us to drop our beverages and sprint to the station to buy tickets. after we missed the train, we joked about riding the our bikes through south central, watts, south gate, and compton all the way back to long beach. somehow it became less of a joke over the following fifteen minutes. as the next train approached, i told billy it was his call whether we get on the train or get on our bikes. the doors opened, then closed, and we were still on the platform, laughing uncontrollably at the fact that we just purposely missed another train and would now be riding our bikes 25 miles through the hood of south central LA on a sunday night.

the policy on the ride from downtown was no eye contact and no yelling back at cars. we planned to ride washington blvd east to alameda, and alameda into compton where we would cut over to long beach blvd which would get us most of the way home. we rode fast and paced ourselves as to not get caught up at stoplights, and breathed a collective sigh of relief as we crossed under the 105 freeway out of south central proper. as we rode through el segundo blvd, we noticed “city of compton” printed on the street sign, and collectively giggled the type of giggle that could only come from two midwestern kids who grew up with an unhealthy appreciation of west coast rap music. soon our glee was shattered yet again, as billy realized he was rolling on a flat tire down a particularly ominous stretch of alameda in the center of compton.

we found ourselves at a gas station, trying with very little luck to refill billy’s tire. we decided to retire to the inside of the gas station to buy snacks and use the bathroom, but found the attendant locked inside behind a wall of bulletproof glass. instants after we realized we weren’t getting inside, we caught the attention of a middle aged couple, and the guy proceeded to utter what may go down in the books as the greatest sentence ever directed towards me- “it’s awfully late for you guys to be all bright white riding your bikes up in the hood.” he went on to elaborate about how we were in the “real” ghetto and we needed to get on the train and get ourselves back to LA before we get dead. we soon realized that trains were still running to long beach, and got ourselves to the station as the train was rolling in.

three stops from compton and we’re at willow street where we started our adventure earlier that day. four more stops and we’re at first street in downtown long beach. after a short jaunt down broadway on a flat tire and we made it back home in time to celebrate with beer and animal crackers.

When I wrote that I figured I’d be living back out in LA by now. I’m still telling myself I would given the right conditions (good job and living situation), but who knows.

Nonetheless, I’m driving back to New York this Friday for the ADC Review of graduating student work on the following Monday. Columbia is sending four of us from the graphic design program, as well as four from advertising art direction, and putting us up for the week at the Four Points in Chelsea. I’ll be spending the weekend before the review at my home-away-from-home-away-from-home at the Salon of Abundance in the always festive Williamsburg, where things will be even more festive than usual due to a pending Saturday night house party.

The ADC Review will be followed ten days later by Industry Night in Chicago. I’ll be spending the rest of this week finishing the fine tuning of my portfolio, updating my website, and preparing myself to act like a professional. I should probably get an oil change too, but you know how that goes.

This entry was written by brett, posted on April 27, 2009 at 9:21 pm, filed under Chicago, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


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