Good god, life just changed in an instant! I'm still taking it all in, but it's so very good!
I got a new job that has led me on an adventure that I could not have foreseen. It was just like, one day, I was at my old job, and the next, I was at my new one.
It's been a nonstop whirlwind of a week, driving around LA to new places that I have never been before. When it's all struck me the most is when I've been on the freeway. I've realized that I have just always tried to keep my little life pretty local and at least contained to surface streets no matter how far I've had to venture out of my neighborhood. There's just no reason for me to be on a commuter's freeway when I'm just going to dinner or the beach or something.
But this past week, there was kind of no way around it. And I was a commuter for four days! Thank god I only had to do that for four days. Though, on one level, I enjoyed it and was quite amused all the while.
Me on a freeway going to get educated for a job. That's a sight. Because mostly I'm just playing "commuter" the whole time. And so I was perusing the radio stations, stopping at each for a while, pretending that I was someone who would listen to that particular station. And so sometimes I was dancing with the steering wheel as my partner to remixed rap music, or responding aloud to political debates…"Oh, yes, the budget must be confronted, and soon. And what about that fiscal cliff?", or singing out loud in broken, or rather, in all honesty, shattered spanish to the mexican stations, or talking back to the country songs…"She really was a keeper, what'll you do now?"
Or, I was having secret conversations in my head, well, sometimes aloud, though they did not hear me, with the drivers around me. Usually, when we'd all come to a slow crawl, and I found myself sandwiched between two cars, I'd say, "Hey, guys, here we are, side by side, cozy as bugs in a rug, shall we make introductions? Can I offer you anything?" And when all of the cars were just sort of sitting there, I pretended we were about to start a race and I would just look over to either side of me and say, "You're toast." Or, I'd pretend we were kids sitting in bumper cars.
I mean, no one around me was aware of all of this, but I amused myself during rush hour for sure. Which made me not quite understand why everyone hates freeway traffic so much, because there is so much to do, but I guess it's because they do it so often and regularly that they really just want to get home. Whereas, I am never on the freeways in rush hour traffic and so I'm actually experiencing it, in the moment, as it is, and observing it, and making it enjoyable, because it's new to me and it feels so goofy to be out there with the masses trying to get home, all separate, all in our cars, not talking, even though we're within talking proximity at a full stop. To me, it's the funniest damned experience ever!
So, I got to do that this week. Who knew rush hour traffic could be so entertaining?
Also, I had to visit a mall four days in a row. Now, I am just not a mall person and never have been. Those, I prefer to avoid. It just feels so normal. Or at least, I feel surrounded by normalcy. And I think that's sort of my worst. I did, however, stumble upon the best mall lunch ever! Gross that it had to happen at all, but at least I discovered something palatable, nay, delicious, actually! In my embarrassment and shame I braved the food court. Oh, I am so not a food court person! This is too normal! I am a foodie! I wanted to exclaim it from a megaphone.
Instead, I opted to take a deep breath and mentally assume the traveling position. Meaning that I had to make like I was a visitor in an unfamiliar place. When I travel, I enjoy trying to assimilate, and discovering the ways of every new place, and getting all when in Rome and such. You're in a foreign land now, dear! Drop your comforts and discover something new. Whereas, some people who travel just want to find the nearest Starbucks. I want to find what I don't know.
So, I took myself up on the offer of a small vacation to Food Court and decided to make it an exploration and check out the local offerings and try something I'd never tried before. Well, that wasn't difficult! I ended up at a Pho restaurant (stand? counter?) because they marketed the place as healthy and I saw that they had a few specifically vegetarian options, which I always think is cool, and could not say the same for the rest of the restaurants in Food Court Land.
I asked at the counter what the best veggie option was and the guy pointed to the vermicelli bowl. And so I got it.
Recommendations are key when traveling.
That was one of the best little mall lunches ever! That would have been good anywhere. Rice noodles and tofu and shitake mushrooms and lettuce, basil, peanuts, carrots and some very delicious sauce on the side. And of course I added sriracha all up in that business. So good! Which I was happy about, even though I felt all awkward sitting in a weird mall food court booth all by myself slurping noodles and lettuce off of chopsticks. I managed. Mostly because of my mindset.
I settled into my traveling mode quite well. That really helps me when experiencing uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations. Because I know that I love to travel for that very reason. It's not what I'm used to. And you do have to try new things. And you end up discovering things you never would have had you not been open to the ways of others, a different city, new customs.
That fish out of water feeling is fun for me, ultimately. I find that that is when I explore my thoughts and the world the most. When I just go with things as they are and try and find a way to enjoy them. So to the freeways and malls this week, I thank you.