Monday, March 22, 2010

Marathon Gal

Five minutes into Sunday's L.A. Marathon, my feet started to hurt.  Turns out, black ankle boots aren't the best choice for long-distance treks.  I looked around at my competitors and noticed I was out of step in more ways than one.  Not only were my shoes a bad call, but so were my jeans, my long sleeve blouse with the cute swirly embroidery, and my oversized handbag.  The other folks wore lightweight shorts and sweat-resistant tanks and proper running shoes.  I did my best to keep pace with them, but gave up in the second block.  After all, I didn't want to trip and do a header into the curb.  On top of which, I could sense their resentment.  "Cheater!" someone hissed as I clip-clopped down Doheny.  "Do you think we didn't see you park your car up the street?" 

I promise you, people, I had no choice.  I hadn't even planned to participate in the damn marathon. I was headed to the Ivy for Kyle and Elena's b'day lunch. I was far too sleep-deprived to take the Marathon into consideration, thanks to the party boys next door.  I'd barely recovered from their St. Patty's Day fest Wednesday night.  Did they really have to leave their German shepherd home alone on Saturday night?  Doggy howled till 2 a.m., robbing my household of desperately-needed Z's. Sunday morning, I burnt out my few remaining brain cells on a note to those a-holes.  When I climbed into my car, I had but one simple thought in my head:  Get to the restaurant without dozing off on the way.  Marathon?  What Marathon?

Man, that street closure on Beverly took me by surprise. "Holy @#$%!" said I, turning this way and that way.  How screwed was I?  Very.  Dumb luck landed me on Doheny above Santa Monica Boulevard.  I pulled over and called Elena's cell.  Kyle answered.  She thought I might not recognize her voice, even though I've known her since 7th grade.  "Hi, honey, it's Kyle."  She sounded not the least bit frazzled.  Clearly, their journey to the Ivy had gone much smoother than mine.  Elena had hired a personal navigator for the occasion, a sweet guy named Phil. 

"Kyle," I said, "I am so f'---d!  I can't get to you.  Have a nice lunch without me."  Kyle put Elena on, and we reviewed all the various routes I might have taken, had I been awake and paying attention.  "Here's what you do," said Elena. "Get on the freeway, get off at La Cienega and ... hold on, it's Val calling."  Val was up on Sunset, more f'd up than me.  Elena started giving her directions.  "I'm walking," I said.  Kyle got back on the phone.  "What?  I can't hear you."  "I'm walking."  "It's too --" I met them mid-way.

And soon the three of us were sitting at our table, worrying about Val.  Would we ever see her again?  Would it be rude to order without her?  We were hungry.  But then, in she walked and our lunch kicked into high gear.  There were salads and celebrating and much laughter.  There were no more misteps of any kind, unless you count the moment, right after lunch, when I got into the back seat of a Mercedes, thinking it was Elena's car.  I shut my eyes and had the nicest nap.  Until a valet tapped me on the shoulder.  "Wrong car, ma'am," he informed me.  "Oh," I said, "whoops," and wandered off down Robertson, in search of my friends.

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