My wonderful S phoned me yesterday and started the conversation with "Lou, I can't find my keys anywhere" I was on skype with my beautiful A so she was also party to the usual - have you emptied your bag, checked coat pockets...etc etc. Apparently he had checked everywhere - even OUT of his hotel room. He said his first thought was back at the hotel, but he called and apparently there were no keys in the room!
My daughter will tell you, I was all "yep sure, no problem, stop worrying" in my head I thought "Oh f*ck!"
S went on to tell me that the last place he actually remembers having his keys was at LAX when he flew out to San Antonio on Sunday evening.
"Don't worry" I said "I'll call the airport and the airline and see if you left them at the gate of at security"
Of course trying to speak to a human being when I rang LAX was out of the question "At the tone, please leave your name,contact number, flight date, flight number, gate and inside leg measurement, along with a brief description of the item lost......we will get back to you"
Even getting a number to call at Continential, sorry now part of United was impossible....their website said "please use the link below and complete the online missing item form - we will get back to you". This time along with all the other info, they wanted to know what seat S sat in, but they did give a big space to write my description of the missing item which was unusual.
Forms completed, I turned my attention to my route. I am pretty good at driving over here now and in the 4.5 months I have been here I have only tried to get into the wrong side of the car once, and thankfully that has been the only driving incident I have had. I amazed myself with how quickly I adapted to driving on the wrong side, sitting on the wrong side, 4-way stops, 2-way stops, Stop actually meaning 'stop' instead of rolling stop, and motorway driving where the road is 5 lanes wide and it is legal to over or undertake, thereby completely negating the use of the lane system as I know it - then of course there is the carpool lane which you may only use if there are 2 or more people in your car, and can only get into and out of if the road lines are dashed and not solid or double........Yep got all of that!! Unfortunately, I have not had to drive more than about 12 miles to get anywhere so far - and LAX is 35 miles from my home.
Yes, I can hear you saying it now - 35 miles isn't very far, and yes I agree. 35 miles is actually nothing, and, as my sister pointed out to me 'it's all freeway' - and that to be honest was the problem. It wasn't just one freeway, I needed to take 4 freeways according to googlemaps - the 210, 134,110 & 105....The 210 is about a mile away (surprised we can't hear it more actually) and the 105 would take me right into LAX - it should be easy......
|Google Maps Route|
I should digress here for a moment and explain the time traffic thing here in LA. People seem to start work early - 5.30 to 6am early. Consequently, they finish work early - any time after around 2.30. Traffic gets horrendous during rush hour - even out where we live in Sierra Madre. I usually try not to have to drive anywhere between 3 and 6pm because the traffic is SO bad.
So at 2.30pm traffic was showing signs of building up, but it was OK for me because I was going south. Or so I thought. Suddenly there seemed to be traffic everywhere and even southbound we were crawling along. It was weird! We had moved away from the open plain of freeway and actually looking around myself properly I realised that I was actually now caught up in LA's very own spaghetti junction (Spaghetti Junction is in the UK in Birmingham, and is a mass of converging often grid-locked English motorways). There was another freeway above me and something else off to the right, and all of it seemed to be choka bloc full of traffic. Looking at google maps, I can't for the life of me see what or whereabouts exactly this pasta bowl was - perhaps I imagined it, but anyway, once past it traffic thinned out and we were moving freely once more. The sat nav was telling me to take junction 14 for the 105W. I was in the 2nd lane from the outside and starting to worry because it was now getting towards 3pm and S's flight would be landing. All of a sudden I saw a sign to me left saying 105W "B*stards" I shouted - the junction was on the left side not the right as I had expected! (This is another thing I have discovered they do over here, they put what they call a junction on the inside of the road - actually most times the road to the right veers away and actually splits). Ahead of me, on the inside of the road, the inside lane was actually rising up and coming over the top of the main 110S and then sweeping across to the left! Holy moly, I was going to miss the junction! I put my indicators on and swerved like a maniac across 3 lanes and just about make the junction. Phew!!! Only it wasn't really phew at all. As the road took me up high over the 110, I realised that what I actually done was swerved across and taken the carpool junction, not the main junction. I could now see the main junction below me - Oooops I had swerved like a crazy person to take the Carpool lane, which legally I could not be in because there was only me in the car! I was driving at a crazily ridiculous height above the world on a one lane road, that would be so easy to drive off, because I had panicked!!!! What a stupid muppet I was! Thankfully the road came down again and rejoined the rest of what was now the 105W, but I was stuck in the Carpool lane and a glance in my mirror told me that the CHP were coming up behind me. Oh God, they were going to pull me over, Oh God! Oh God! - Talk to an imaginary child Louise - pretend there is someone else with you - These were the thoughts running through my head - as the highway patrol car came past me and didn't blink! PHEW!. I had made it to the airport, now I just had to find the right terminal (there are 8), park the car and find S.
S's flight was a little early and I did eventually find him, give him the spare car key and drop him at the long term car park. when he got to the car he found a note stuck to the windscreen, asking him to go to the security office as they had found his keys!!!!!!!!!!
A word to my family and friends - you can come and stay whenever you like, but please please, please, please try and either fly into Burbank (much closer) or plan a flight that arrives at the weekend or after 10am and before 2pm or after 7pm at night - that way I can reduce the trauma of the drive to a minimum!!
Have a great day!