To UCLA and Back
A Good Idea at the Time
It all started when my husband, David, got an e-mail announcing Jesús Treviño is to be at UCLA for a book talk on his new book Return to Arroyo Grande. I immediately told David I would take time off from work to go see Jesús and Bobbi, his wife, and David should ask Wayne Healy, his collaborator of more than 35 years and his wife, Bibi, would like to go with us. Wayne said “Yes.” It would be a great outing for Bibi since her Mom had just recently passed away and she was a little down, so this would be a nice distraction.
And so on Thursday, January 14th I left work early 12:00, went home to pick up David, drove to Wayne and Bibi”s. All of us agreed that we wouldn’t eat till we got there, but the traffic on the 10 Freeway was heavy as usual and we didn’t get to UCLA till 1:30. No problem. We still had time to find the parking lot, park and proceed to the Chicano Studies Research Center. Whoa! We made it on time, with time to spare, 1:50. We walked in, looked around but where was Jesús? Where was the crowd/students? Jesús was on the 10 Freeway we were later to find out. 2:10 and, finally, Jesus arrived with no Bobbi?! He was introduced and said that this book was a little dark compared to his others, Oh, I do need to say that he mentioned that if by chance we saw blood coming out of his nose not to be frighten because (I think) he said he was taking some medication and that could bring on an unexpected bloody nose.
Now bear in mind I’m from a small mining town in Arizona and a bit “Scandalosa” but when he starts to read the part when at 1:00 am Officer Hernandez sees a child on a tricycle and follows him home only to witness the entire Ramirez family floating in the air with streams of blood and mucus oozing from their mouth, eyes and nose, goose bumps did go up my back. As it turns out, Jesús did get a bloody nose (was it just a ploy to scare us a little more?) If so, it worked.
Great writing, we did buy a book. It was wonderful to recap on videos- footage of Jesús’ accomplishments. He has made our Raza very proud but really I expected more of an audience when I was telling people at work and at my Curves class about Jesús, they/many were surprised that an entire Chicano Studies Class wasn’t present. I mean they could have earned extra class credit (right)? But none the less it was great to see him. So at approximately 4:20 we leave, go back to the parking lot and approaching my car I said “No”? “Yes”! to the dreaded ($60) parking ticket on the car window. How can this be? We followed all the instructions from the sweet parking attendant that looked all of 15 to us, on where and how to park! All of us were so surprised and being the generation we are we said “No, show me where I went wrong and I’ll tell you how you can change it to make it better understood”.
Getting Back Home
So we return to the parking station where another very sweet young lady kindly methodically directed us to the proper station/office where we could park in a courtesy area, go to an office and possibly get the ticket waived (after all we are Senior Citizens). So David and Wayne are sitting in the back navigating, Bibi is shot gun, I’m driving and guess what? We find the blasted building. David wants me to park, I say “No Way, you and Wayne go take are of this because I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for parking again.“ So Yep! The Guys go into the Building and Bibi and I drive slowly in and out of the lanes and finally we do find the courtesy parking the young lady mentioned but it was the Visitors goal line of the entire length of 2 football fields (I think). Can you imagine walking all that distance? Oh! Did I mention that the young lady said if you go NOW they’ll take are of you since they close at 5:00.
Then, Yipee, we see David and Wayne, way in the distance, to which I tell Bibi that it was too fast, it can’t be good news. Yup! Guess What? With all our technology the parking stats were not in the system for the day and they said we had to wait for the next day for the ticket to show in the system, only then could we follow up on it. We said the heck with it (but it was $60) and so we proceed to leave UCLA at 5:00. (Now you must know at this point in telling Fulana and Tacho my ordeal, everyone says “No, you don’t leave the Westside at that hour, you stay put, you have dinner, you go the movies and WAIT for the traffic to DIE DOWN.” )
But hey were Senior Citizens and L.A. natives we know the city like the back of our hands and we’ve been around before GPS. So we proceed (the sun is still up) and Wayne’s Iphone reads the freeway is red possibly purple (bad anyway) so no way for the “10”. So we proceed to trek across the city to the Best Chinese Fried Squid in China Town that Bibi says we must have. OMG! I’m still driving because if I let David drive, his mouth and foot are connected to the gas peddle and the more he talks, the slower he drives. So, I drive and drive, don’t know how long it took us to get out of Westwood but is was light when we were in the parking lot, we saw dusk and now suddenly total darkness and now we’re driving and driving passing all these restaurants advertising their terrific Ribs, Sushi, Chicken and sometimes when we were long enough at a signal the aroma permeated the car.
And so there we are driving, driving and at one point I didn’t know if I was going east, north or south (I know it wasn’t west cuz we were coming form the west). And in all my years of driving I’ve never gone through a red light, much less two at one time, but suddenly, we were in the middle of what seemed like Cinco Puntos but on a much larger scale intersection and I can only remember Bibi yelling saying “Go! Go! Just Go because in my state of shock I had come to a stop! OMG! If it wasn’t that Wayne and Bibi were with us I would have been yelling at David, and Wayne said if he was only with Bibi in this situation his shoulder would have been bruised from Bibi slugging him.
All in all, we were having a good time but the clock was still ticking (and I refused to look at it til we got to our destination) and there was no stopping, after all we were beyond the point of no return, we were going to Chinatown. At one point Wayne wanted me to make a left on Alvarado, Bibi said “no, bad choice” as I was about to get on the left lane my inner voice told me “Don’t do It” and I stayed on my right lane, only to discover that many, many, many cars were making a left turn which turned out to be Alvarado to get to the 2 Freeway and to which I then realized that I don’t know where in the heck I am. Where am I? Was I on 3rd, 6th or 7th ? I don’t know but finally, finally we see the bright skyline of our beautiful city. Now I know where I’m at. So I continue to Beaudry, go north to Sunset , go east to Broadway, go north to Alpine and West (West, no not West?!) and there we landed and parked. Yes, parked at the Ying Yang great to be there restaurant (Hop Li Seafood) , to finally eat delicious fried squid. Did I mention that we walked slowly to the restaurant because our bodies were cramped from sitting for nearly 2½ hours, it was 7:30. Heck in that time we could have gone to the border!
We enjoyed our meal which only took 45 minutes (fast cooks) then we were off again to take Wayne and Bibi home (later we found out that they could hardly walk up their stairs from sitting for so long), continued up the 110 to gas up, then home by 9:00. What an ordeal! And it wasn’t over!
That night I had a dreadful dream that after we came out of the restaurant David and Wayne saw a fellow artist and they got to talking and David said to me “Lupe, you girls stay here (on the street) we’ll be right back” and I/we said “okay”. We waited and waited but David and Wayne didn’t come right back. Bibi said “Lupe, I need to get some sleep, I go into work at 4:00 AM.” I looked around and we were now on Broadway in front of a closed store with a bed in it. In my dream, we somehow got inside the store and I told Bibi that I would keep a look out while she slept. She proceed to sleep but then I see that there’s some stairs going down, down, to where? I start to go see where they lead. OMG! I then see a baby floating just floating! Then I woke up. Could it be that Jesus’ book followed me to bed? I eventually fall back to sleep, only to wake up to my alarm clock, to which I promptly get up, but oooh my feet are swollen and tingling, and I start to laugh, remembering all the sitting, traffic and driving we endured. Thank God for hot showers!
Copyright 2016 by Lupe Botello. Downtown Los Angeles photo copyrighted by Angela Ortiz and use with permission.