Amy and Jamie Take California

I want to share with you all a story of a magical week which was surrounded by glorious events that still make me jealous I can’t go back in time and live it again. There is adventure, travel, donuts, rum and peacocks…what more could you want?

Let me give you a little background on me and my friend, Jamie. We went to high school together and were friends, but never hung out outside of school much. I lost touch with her after graduation as I did a lot of people when I moved to California. I moved back after a year and a half though. Skip ahead to the night of my 21st birthday back in NY. I was of course two hours late and already delightfully drunk. I pulled up with my boyfriend in his jeep and I looked to my right and saw Jamie. I looked like a crazed mime, pounding on the window of the car freaking out in shock. Amy and Jamie were reunited, and I had to make a drunken confession to her: Jamie was my girl crush. We recalled stories from high school and admitted we were indeed girlfriend soul mates. It was pretty special. Our boyfriends didn’t seem to mind. She remains in my phone as ‘Jamie My Girlfriend’. Well, that’s a lie. On her birthday a couple years ago I changed it to ‘Jamie My Girlfriend The Birthday Girl’ and never changed it back. So congratulations Jamie, it is your birthday every day in my phone.

Onto our adventure: We planned a last minute trip to California for about a week. I got to Los Angeles a couple days before Jamie. I went to pick up the rental car and did my usual: You book the cheapest car, but you search for anything possible that could be wrong with it after leaving the lot. If anything doesn’t work or even is just slightly inconvenient for you, take it back about an hour later. Complain saying you will never use their company again and boom: free upgrade. Or you can just flirt with the guy at the desk, either way works. So anyways, I picked her up at LAX with my brand new Mustang and we were ready for the week. By the way, one of the first things she saw in California was a “men working in trees” sign. Seeing such a ridiculous road work sign is in itself a sign; a sign of very ridiculous things to come.

We were heading down to San Diego to stay with my aunt for the majority of the trip and then we would head back up to LA for the last couple days to catch a show at The Groundlings before heading home. Before heading to San Diego, we decided to take a drive through Malibu and just enjoy the day. We drove up into the mountains on some roads with some amazing views. A little too amazing, seeing as how I almost drove us off of a cliff one or six times. After almost killing Jamie I figured I should pay her back by taking her to lunch. Its common courtesy; when you almost cause death, you buy lunch. So we went to this great Mexican place at the end of Santa Monica pier. They were shooting a commercial at the pier which we kept walking through accidentally. They didn’t seem to appreciate it. Jamie and I apparently cannot take direction from anyone. A deaf / blind 3 year old would have understood better than we did. They seemed to just give up on us after a while and allowed us to walk through eventually. So if you see a commercial at the Santa Monica pier and two confused girls wandering around aimlessly in the background; yes I will be signing autographs. As we ate, the birds decided to begin kamikaze bombing Jamie as she attempted eating. She hovered over her food holding her knife like a serial killer looking like a paranoid crack head who had just sat down to her first meal in 8 years. She was not about to let one of those birds get at her Chimichanga. We escaped from dinner with no food having been eaten by the birds, and no birds having been slain by Jamie. I would say it was a success. Then we headed to San Diego, where somehow within 20 minutes of getting there I already had 2 parking tickets. San Diego must have little parking ticket nymphs that float around ruining people’s day. Either that or I just have a severe lack of an ability to read street signs. My money is on the nymphs.

Over the next few days we laid in the sun, we drank, we ate, we drank, we napped, we swam…we drank. One of the nights after some drinks was where we discovered Jamie’s Russian Rodney Dangerfield impression which I will hereon refer to as R.R.D. After a few too many cocktails I decided I would enjoy some outdoor play time, being the 5 year old that I am. I found a short brick wall in the yard where I would walk across like a balance beam which took some insanely intense concentration. I started to get cocky here and there and try little tricks like I was one of those crazy talented Chinese midget gymnasts. But I was quickly reminded that I am instead, just a crazy clumsy Italian average height idiot. Jamie was sitting in a tent outside in the yard and after each round on the beam I would walk back to the tent to peak in on her. She would be eagerly awaiting my return and every time I looked in the tent she seemed more and more excited to see me. We were both obviously having a blast with this little ritual because it went on for a good 30 minutes I would say. (It’s the little things) And then it happened; In her newly discovered R.R.D voice Jamie said “wool”. Yes, wool. I do not know why she said it, where it came from, or where she intended on going with it, but she just said it. And she said it just like a Russian Rodney Dangerfield would. I can’t explain how much I love to this day that I got to hear what Rodney Dangerfield would sound like if he came from Russia and was a sheep shearer.

The next day we went out for groceries for a bon fire we were going to have that night and we wanted to find donuts, headlights to be specific. Apparently they did not exist in San Diego though. We looked forever and it became one of those battles that is no longer even about the task at hand. I don’t know that we even wanted the donuts anymore; we just couldn’t let the donut gods win. But after two hours we had succumbed to defeat. We got a variety box of donuts and headed back for the fire. That nights’ honorable mention goes to Jamie yelling at our neighboring fire pit friends because they had used our donuts to put them on the end of sticks and put them in the fire. Who does that? She let them have it, and rightfully so. They’re not marsh mellows people, get your snack foods straight.

(Parking ticket update: 1 more, totaling 3 so far. Damn parking ticket nymphs)

The next day we headed to the zoo. There is always a peacock wandering around the zoo and I always try to pet him, but he is tricky! Also, I’m about as graceful as Shaquille O Neal would be attempting Swan Lake in figure skates so it never goes well. Aside from the visual of me chasing a peacock around the zoo knocking shit over the whole time; add in the audio of me yelling, “Jamie! I’m gonna get him! I almost got him! Jamie! Look! I almost got him! Jamie! Loooooook!” You would have thought I was that 5 year old kid with ADHD trying to get my mom’s attention and that Jamie was the neglective mom who was off somewhere smoking cigarettes flirting with the zoo maintenance guy. Needless to say, it was a great day and we took a ton of pictures. Now that I think of it I still haven’t sent her the pictures she asked for from that day. (Keep in mind this trip happened roughly 2 years ago. My bad Jamie. I promise I will send them…soonish.)

After an excellent few days in San Diego it was time to head back up to LA. The hotel was amazing that we were staying at. It was a huge room, a couple of TV’s, big kitchen, mini bar; it was great. We did some power drinking as we were running late, called a cab and headed to the show at The Groundlings. The show was amazing as it always is there. (Now that I’m a student there I will suck up a bit) After it was over we decided we were close enough to the hotel to walk. We were not. Well, maybe we were, but we got so lost who knows where we were. We made the logical decision to find a liquor store before we go any further and buy a bottle of rum. (Rule to live by: When lost and in despair, locate nearest liquor store and the world will once again be ok) So we brown bagged it until we finally called a cab. The cab asked where to and when we told him he laughed at us and literally drove us around the corner and we were there. See, rum will always lead you home. Jamie tipped the cabbie which infuriated me that she would tip for such a short ride. Sorry for yelling, Jamie, I have some rage issues when it comes to tipping cab drivers apparently.

(Parking ticket update: I lost count after 3.)

The next morning I woke up to the sound of the blow dryer coming from the bathroom. Jamie was in the process of trying to dry off her phone which she had dropped in the toilet. It was a sad morning. She had killed her phone, and we were packing up to leave this beautiful hotel room and also leave California. We spent the day around LA and then headed to the airport for a red eye. We were exhausted from a crazy trip and just wanted to get on that plane and sleep. But of course, we had one last obstacle. This obstacle happened to come in the form of a giant Mexican lady who was in one of our seats on the plane. She spoke no English (or so she said…I’m on to you!) and when I told her it was my seat she just kept shaking her head saying “Nooooo”, acting confused. Finally a flight attendant came over after my attempt at translation didn’t work. She didn’t seem to respond to me saying “You in my seat-o. Move before I have you kicked off the plane-o.” She reluctantly moved to her seat and Jamie and I took the window and middle seats. I took the middle one; I had pissed off the old Mexican mule so I might as well have to deal with sitting next to it. None the less, off we went, back to New York. (Although Jamie and I were convinced for a solid 15 minutes they were going the wrong way and we would be in Japan when we woke up.) Thankfully when we woke we were still in America. The pilots apparently knew better than we did. Weird…I know.

I can honestly say this was the best trip I have ever been on. Now, as I leave you, I will ask that you play me out with a theme song. Imagine in your heads ‘Paper Planes’ by MIA, as it was our theme song for the trip which we listened to roughly 13,006 times. (I also just really like the idea of exiting or entering things with a theme song.) Jamie was a specialist at the chorus doing the gun shots perfectly and always spitting clear across the car while doing so. So hit that beat and do the gun shots in the chorus with me while you practice your very own R.R.D.