A friend from New York is visiting the L.A. area this week to see her daughter, grandson, ex hubby, and some friends. She comes from the same small town in the Philippines as I do and I hung out briefly with her close friend while we were in high school. We haven’t seen each other since 1973 when we were seniors in high school, and with the troubles that were going on in our town (my brother's account of what happened then: http://larrydlp.blogspot.com/2009/08/last-days-in-jolo.html and http://larrydlp.blogspot.com/2009/08/last-days-in-jolo-2.html), a lot of us never returned after moving on to other cities for college. We just reconnected in the past year in, what else – Facebook, as I have with a bunch of others from Jolo. My friend messaged me last week saying she will be in the neighborhood and invited me to meet with her. When she arrived in L.A. she called me and we arranged to meet at her hotel. I tried looking for interesting places to take her in the vicinity and the nearest one I could find was Playa Del Rey. I was thinking we would have lunch there then take a walk near the beach. When I was looking this up on the internet, the sun was shining brightly. The next day when I was supposed to meet my friend, the weather had suddenly turned gloomy. No matter, as long as it didn’t rain, we could still do what I planned.
First I checked out Google maps to find a route from my home to her hotel. Eighteen miles away, not bad. Then I remembered that I had a rarely used GPS device in my car (I’ve used it a couple of times and in one of them I was given a circuitous route to my destination). Before I left home, I entered the hotel’s address on the device then set off for my destination. Listening to the prompts from the GPS, it was giving me a different route from the one Google maps gave me. I decided to follow Google and see the difference between the two. I had to take a couple of detours due to a fire and some kind of police activity and this is when the GPS device became useful because of its recalculations. I eventually made it safely to my destination.
So I went up to my friend’s room and knocked on the door. When she opened it, we gave each other a hug, then I saw a little boy with her. It was her 2 year old grandson. The first thing I noticed about him was his hair – short on the top and sides and about an 8 inch tail on the back! Funny parents! Anyway, my friend and I were excited to see each other after so long and couldn’t wait to catch up. There was a hitch to my plan of going to Playa Del Rey. We couldn’t drive anywhere because we didn’t have a child safety restraint seat for the boy to use in the car, so we had to improvise. I asked the boy if I could hide him in the trunk while we were driving. Just kidding! Ok, slight change of plans. I looked out the window and saw a strip mall with a couple of small eateries - a burger joint with outside seating and a Mexican restaurant. So we went downstairs and walked across a couple of intersections to get to the Mexican place. It was small but it looked clean and decent so we decided to have lunch there. My friend ordered a burrito and I ordered the chicken plate. The kid? Well, all he wanted were some balls from the vending machine, a Spongebob Squarepants sticker, and a small pack of M&M’s, most of which he spilled on the floor. What do you expect? He’s 2!
Lacking alternatives, with nothing to see or do in the immediate area after lunch, we headed back to the hotel for more catching up on what has been happening in our lives for the past 30 some years. It turns out we went to college in different cities, then she moved to the U.S. to be with her husband in 1987 (I came earlier in 1980 to run a marathon). There were more stories about other friends, relationships, chismis, and what the future may hold. I shall not go into details because most were personal topics and not for public consumption. In any case it was a catch up conversation which lasted about 6 hours before we parted company. Her daughter picked her up with the grandson to meet another town mate for dinner in another city. But first we had a requisite picture taken which we couldn’t do earlier because we lacked a photographer. Do you think the two year old would have been able to do it? Nah… On my way home, I decided to follow the GPS instructions instead of reversing course with the Google maps route. It turns out the GPS gave me a more direct route to and from my destination.
Hard for me to believe that I had a very enjoyable long conversation with my friend. I hadn’t had that kind of tete-a-tete with anybody in a long time, me being so private and isolative. Thanks, Leonie, for a wonderful talk and thanks to GPS for making it possible for me to meet with you again after so many decades. Apologies that I couldn’t take you to a classier establishment to have lunch. Perhaps next time. Oh, it was interesting to become a substitute daddy for a few hours too! For some reason the kid gravitated towards me and even fell asleep in my arms. Will this daddy thing rub off on me? Heck NO!
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