Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

L.A. For a Day

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Total Black: $21.86
Total Red: $243,763.00

After the long day referenced in Miami Is Not Nice, I was not looking forward to a long night on the airport floor.  But I had another offer.  Wasn’t sure whether I should take it though.  But I did.

And that was a mistake.

First, I was tired.  And a bed—any bed—would be better than none.  Or so I thought.  My Suitor, an American Airlines customer service agent, came on fairly discretely.  And seductively.  He was cute too.  And, after midnight rolled past, I walked with him out of the airport.  He had to travel to some other section of the Miami terminal to finish up his shift and then catch the employee shuttle to the parking lot and drive back into the airport to pick me up.  It was nearly 1am when Suitor came back around to get me.  I nearly fell asleep waiting.

Once I stepped into the car, he changed.  He started indicating that I should be quiet if he received any calls and alerted me that he might receive a few phone calls from home.  Home being Puerto Rico.  He explained that he lives both in Florida and Puerto Rico but his family is back in Puerto Rico.  By “family” I took that to mean a wife.  Turned out that he meant a boyfriend.  Either way, I was not excited about being saddled with a cheater.  And while driving down the Miami freeways, it’s not like I could just get out of the car and head back to the airport.  Especially without access to cash or credit, as noted in Miami Is Not Nice.  And as we drove, his phone rang.  And he hushed me and pleaded that I remain silent.  Once he pulled in to his apartment parking lot, he got off the telephone call, explaining that his boyfriend would notice if he had heard two car doors slam.  That’s when I started to worry.  And the rest of the night confirmed it.

He kept the phone by the shower in case his man called.  He continuously advised me to keep quiet.  After we . . . got a little closer . . . he worried that I’d snore in the night, while he was on the telephone—because he man could call at any time.  He worried that I’d leave a scent of my cologne or shampoo or something behind on the bed—in case his man decided to visit him, one day—unannounced.  He was a real freak.  And once I realized that, before we began anything, I hurried us along—both because I could predict the conclusion to the night: his guilt—and I was apprehensive about a cheater.  Who knows who he brings home.  I wish monogamy were valued more in gay communities.  And I wish I could wash the blood off my hands.  But what options had I at that point?

I got about two hours of sleep.  I laid petrified in bed, worried that I’d fall asleep and snore, or that I’d disrupt his bed.  He was a slime ball in retrospect.  He saw a vulnerable person, stuck at the airport, and he pounced.  And I fell for it.  Initially I had thought that perhaps he would have offered me a cheap hotel ticket or some unused complimentary version.  Obviously, after he put his hand on my leg, in the airport, I knew what he was after.  And had he been a normal guy, it might have been a good night.

Suitor drove me back to the airport at 5:00am.  I cleared security again, grabbed breakfast at an airport spot, and eventually boarded the flight.  Some five hours later I landed in Los Angeles.

I brought only a carry-on, so I exited the airport and sought out some form of transport.  The hotel I stayed at didn’t have a shuttle.  Or so I thought.  I learned later that they, in fact, did.  But I spotted Super Shuttle and hopped a ride with them, asking a supervisor and the driver a few times whether I could pay with a credit card.  I was told I could.  But as the story goes, when the van dropped me off, the driver said the machines were “down.”  I informed him that I didn’t have cash so he ordered me in to the hotel’s ATM.   I tried to explain that my ATM card was deactivated and that I didn’t know the pin on the only credit card I had.  My African driver scoffed and looked at me incredulously that I couldn’t obtain cash from any of my cards.  The irony that he may have come from a locale without even electricity—and his unwillingness to understand my situation—didn’t escape me.  So he begrudgingly said he’d see if the system was back up.  And, of course, voila—he came back with a hand-run credit card receipt: the old-fashioned type that takes an imprint of the card.  And done.  Effortlessly.  Why the hassle upfront?

I checked into the hotel.  I had been worried all night and day that the hotel wouldn’t let me check in if they couldn’t block off some unknown amount on my credit card.  That was wasted energy.  I unpacked, showered, and ironed my suit and clothes.  About 45 minutes later I was in a taxi on the way to Santa Monica for the wedding.

And along the way, I spotted a Bank of America.  And ran in and withdrew two hundred dollars in cash.  Hence the drop in total black.  And, my god, was I happy to chance upon that occasion.  Otherwise, I wasn’t sure how I’d get back to the hotel or back to my car from the airport in St. Croix.  Now I was set.  And relaxed and decided to enjoy my trip.

I walked in to the church just at the moment when I would have had to walk up to the lectern and give the reading.  But I had warned my friend about a week prior that he should have a back-up for my task—just in case as I now lived in the Caribbean and it’s hurricane season.  And that’s just what happened, leaving me stuck in Miami.

The wedding was great.  I had a great time.  After the reception, two friends of my friend, whom I hadn’t met before today, and I walked over to the beach.  The couple and I walked along the sand.  Watched the sun set into the Pacific Ocean.  The husband and I did a few push-ups on Muscle Beach while the wife watched.  We wandered back to the streets, and started a long trek up Pico Boulevard, intending to walk to Air Conditioned, a wine bar in Santa Monica where my friend was meeting up with his friends and wedding party in the evening.  Eventually, however, we realized that we’d have about a two-mile hike—in suits and dresses, respectively—so we hopped on the Big Blue Bus and rode up to the wine bar.

The bar was cool and clearly a spot I’d frequent had I lived there.  But I was exhausted!  And so were the couple.  We stayed an hour past the meeting time and then left.  The newlyweds were running late.  I hopped into a taxi and headed back to the hotel near the Los Angeles airport.  My flight leaves at 6am tomorrow.

All in all it was a good day.  And despite my bitching in Miami Is Not Nice I’m happy I did make the trip.  Even if it means I’ll be in LA for less than twenty-four hours!  And despite my financial worries and woes, it was possible to travel over three thousand miles without cash and just a little credit.

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