36 hours ago, I woke up from a 1.5 hour nap-sleep, did an awesome job on my make-up (haha) and took the Lady Liberty to the Philadelphia International Airport (a 12:32 ride when the streets are quiet and empty, who knew??). I met the source I’m interviewing for my writing project (more details to be revealed when I’m done!) who was there on a layover and he mentioned a conference in LA that he was on his way to and that he thought would help my project.
“Why don’t you come along?” he said.
“Haha,” said I.
“I’m serious, be spontaneous!” he replied.
“Oh. Uh…” I emitted (haha couldn’t think of a better verb brain dying lack of sleep).
A couple of hours later, I find myself pacing in the room, biting on my non-existent nails (eh forgive the tense change too wait is this kosher IDK MY BRAIN IS DYING). Do I go? It’s so far away. I have a midterm on Monday! It’s expensive! etc etc etc. I ask Tim, one of the Super Coolest Guys in my book, if he would go if he were in my place.
“Even for me, it’s quite bohua (not worth it) la,” comes the gChat reply.
Alan was even more skeptical.
“What’s the point?”
And then I call my prof to freak out a little bit. He tells me many useful things but my brain is on overdrive and the two takeaways I get are:
“If you can go, go. If you can’t, it’s fine. I’m not going to tell my students what to do or not do based on how much money they have.”
“If you go, you’ll get awesome scenes. If you don’t, you have slightly less cool scenes.”
And so I was like, GAH ARGH SFDKFJ:KLDFDF in my brain. I don’t want to be slightly less cool! So I start freaking out to my ex-journalist friend/mentor and he’s like,
“If you can even ask me whether or not you should go, you know what the answer is.”
There are two bao dians here:
- I am very long-winded when it comes to telling a story
- I freak out a lot, way more than necessary
By this time it’s 1.34pm. I start googling all the flights to LA. Most average around $400 one-way. I don’t have that sort of money. But! A-ha! I have miles! Which surprisingly I can use – no restrictions, nothing. They only have it for the trip there, but guess what, there’s a Southwest flight for $120.60! God, I’m a shopping genius! Lol.
3 hours later, I have tickets in hand.
At 8pm, I am crying. I am literally sobbing because I am freaking out. It dawns upon me that I have never ever traveled alone to a completely foreign place with absolutely nobody I know there. I’ve done combinations of those but never all three before. Not to mention that I have so little time to plan and research my topic. Not to mention I’ve never made such big decisions so spontaneously before. Alan tells me that by tomorrow morning I’ll laugh at myself (which I do). At this time I am still panicking out and don’t believe him.
Fast-forward to Nov 30 4.05pm and my plane is taking off! Throughout the entire duration of my flight I see a lady reading and highlighting legalese where the words “Columbia Entertainment” and “screenwriter” and “artist” appear several times. I mean, obviously she’s a lawyer but for some strange reason I think she was a screenwriter super-analyzing her contract or something. I also notice that she opens her blue notebook like every 15 minutes and writes like a variety of numbered lists.
1 hour to touch-down and I figure I have to ask her about the contract. Turns out that Janine is an entertainment lawyer based in LA and she obsessively makes lists, like Anastasia Krupnik! It also turns out that I wasn’t the only one spying on the neighbor: when I tell her I’m a Politics, Philosophy and Economics major, she responds, “Oh! So that’s why you were typing something about Kant!”
US 1407 arrives in LAX 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I am starving so I get Pinkberry (!!!) and California Pizza Kitchen cos I’m a pig like that. By the time I check into my hotel the event has finished but I still see a whole bunch of people milling and chatting and drinking beers. I get about 10 contacts for my story and then get invited to go to a bar to drink but again I am freaking out because one of said contacts asks, “So are we all gonna to your suite and party?” and I’m like, okay that’s awkward I DON’T WANNA GET RAPED. I am not proud of my lack of (1) witty responses, (2) courage and (3) advancement for feminism, and I’m kicking myself for potentially missing out on an awesome scene. But I also cannot drive, and have zero clue what hypothetical bar we’re heading to, so there’s that. (How do female foreign correspondents in war-torn countries do it? And why am I doing my gender such a disservice by even thinking that??)
Anyway I just wanted to pen down my adventures so far cos I didn’t bring my diary and my heart’s still beating from the adrenaline of it all. I mean, I know it doesn’t sound exciting yet cos not everyone knows the topic but man… These people are crazy. And also I wanted to record the moment of feeling like I’ve done something totally new! Which it is. I mean, others must hate it when people praise themselves but you know what? I’m incredibly proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone for the most part. I could have done better with the bar invitation, I suppose. BUT I AM IN MOTHERFUCKING LA PEOPLE. WHICH I DECIDED TO GO TO IN THE SPAN OF 4 HOURS. AND LEAVE ANOTHER 12 HOURS LATER. #senioritis #yolo
(And not to dampen my mini-achievement, but it turns out I do know somebody in LA after all!!!! We’re meeting for dinner but you know, at time zero, I did not have this information at hand, so.)