Monday, September 27, 2010

Car-Lite: A New Frontier

So my mother called me last night while I was en route to a night of karaoke in Burbank. I wasn't expecting the call, but it's always welcome when my phone buzzes on account of her. We talked late last week regarding her leaving for Denver, Colorado, for business this upcoming week. Naturally, as a partial joke I told her I'd totally drive her in and 'look after' the car for her so she doesn't have to pay for parking at the airport. But seriously, I've done it for friends and family before and they appreciate the saving of the dollars. No shuttle, no taxi, just a willing friend/family member who will take responsibility of what they request while they're gone - in exchange for wheels.

So yeah, it was a joke-slash-sidepoint-slash-realistic-offer. Imagine my surprise when she took me up on it.

When I got her call, I had missed the connecting bus down Hollywood Way in part due to pride and in part due to a slow driver (details I will not go into at this time for fear of irrelevance). Let's just say that the prospect of a vehicle at my disposal for the next eight days sounded wonderful. Personally, I also found it interesting that the opportunity came quicker than anticipated, considering how much I've been toting around my intentions so recently.

That said, when applicable I'll be documenting my experiences with the car because it'll be an experiment of sorts... how acclimated will I get to the vehicle in a week's time? Will I slide into it smoothly? Will I feel "lost" without it once it's gone? Just how badly do I want a car and what comes with it?

Not that I'm going to sway myself in another direction. You'd better believe I'm going to invest in a car; there's no question. I just find it interesting that life sometimes offers situations to occur suddenly - to either cement an idea or deter from it. That's been happening a lot, actually, in other areas of life... another post for an entirely different blog, of course.

So yeah. That's where I am. Expect many a detail.

Happy Monday, all.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dating in Los Angeles, Part Two

The last few months have involved my actively dating again. Not one person in particular, mind, but many people. I'm still not sure how I like it, but it's not the worst thing in the world. There have been a number of mediocre instances and so far only one bad date, but the rest of it has been rather peachy. Entertaining. I've made a new friend. And in all that I haven't screwed anyone over, that I know of. Bonus points for me.

The other night I met up with a guy in West LA. I took the Orange Line to the Red Line to a Rapid bus and walked the rest of the way to his place. The route was a little out of the way but wasn't impossible to bear, mainly because I had a thick book for school to tear apart on the way. But I did compare the route to the time of day involved in getting there (he lives alongside the 405), and without a vehicle I went very much out of the way in order to get there. I'll have to check again because we met up later in the evening, but I believe that I could have taken the 761 - which goes on the 405 - a fair share of the way there.

This is just me pondering and wondering about better planning. One of the many reasons I'm glad I'm looking around for a car is because I am making these comparisons. These comparisons lead me to wonder why anyone in any place of authority thinks it beneficial to have such indirect ways of service in a city that is so spread out to begin with. The time of day shouldn't matter. In fact, I had a conversation with someone just yesterday about who thought it was a good idea to have some lines stop service at an obscure time, like 7:23 in the evening or something.

Metro, you've raised your fares and have cut your lines. I'm tired of asking, but I'll ask again without the million details: where is the benefit in this maneuver? Who really is benefiting? You have greatly emphasized the issue of class, and perhaps race, and tax bracket in the way that you have chosen to operate... a statement that is best for another post for another time, but still needs saying. Someone must think it's funny. But it's not.

Anyway, on a more positive note and to tie in the overall theme, I need to enter a little math into the love-connection equation---

All of my 'interesting' (loosely-termed) dates have been from online dating site OkCupid. The ones where I could see the end from the beginning. The ones I'll be writing a book about.

However, the ones where I actually got somewhere, I met the guy in real life. This most recent one I met at a party. Now, granted I found out about the party through friends online, but still. I'm more at a position where I can see the second date from the next block, and not a mile away. Perhaps. Maybe. Who dares know? (Rhetorical question.)

I really don't think I'm cut for online dating, but I won't rule it out entirely. There are some kinks to work out - such as, first of all, how willing am I to date so actively in general. I've got great people in my life and I'm okay with being single. That and I don't like the idea of going through a million people, but I guess that's where the whole needle-in-a-haystack imagery comes from. Pearl in an oyster, maybe?

I've made a few other good connections via OkCupid - including but not limited to a guy who wants to make a bikini for me to wear to the beach this weekend (long story, but kind of cute) - that, perhaps, having a car in due time will make easier to jolt, at least on my end.

Perhaps. It's just a thought.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sayonara, Metro

So it's not exactly news, but I'm going to soon be purchasing a car. Anyone who knows me knows that I've been saying so for a few years, but I've been seriously shopping in the last week or so. Most of this is year/price-comparison and insurance-quote-comparison, but I'm thinking in the next month or two to have a set of four wheels at my disposal.

Friends have joked that at that time I should change my Twitter account from CarlessValGirl to something more fitting.

I've been taking public transportation on and off for about five years. Within that five-year period it has been workable. However, the last six to eight months have definitely been far from pleasant. From buses that don't arrive on time to buses that don't arrive at all, to having to deal with wonky Sunday schedules and even weekday schedules that aren't conducive to having much of a life, it's gotten to be a bit of a thorn in my side having to fight with Metro day-to-day. Predictable commutes are one thing, and taking the Orange, Red, and Blue (etc.) lines are fine in and of themselves. The Rapid buses aren't a problem, either. Rather, it is the local bus system that is making it an inconvenience to get around in LA. Since I live in the relative suburbs of Los Angeles and not over the hill... well let's just say I'm in the market for something a bit more practical in making spontaneous jaunts as well as fixed.

Now, monetarily, going Metro is probably a good idea right now. Even more so, riding my bicycle is probably a lot easier on the wallet. I don't intend on giving either mode of transportation up, at least not my bicycle. Don't believe me? I don't think I ever shared the story of the few times I've house-sat for my folks for a couple of weeks. They let me borrow one of their vehicles so I could get to their house, my house, work, school and wherever else. It was great. But after about three days I kinda went stir-crazy. I felt like I was zooming in a capsule without feeling the air on my face. I actually panicked. It actually sunk my mood to such a low degree that I rode my bicycle into work the next few days, came home, and drove the car to their house. I have a feeling that when it comes to some local things I will make full use of my bicycle. For recreation, for here-and-there things. But if I have to run around town? It would be nice to have a car. Trends in the availability of the local bus arrivals, etc., have driven this point home more than ever expected.

Bicycling is as much a part of who I am as anything else, so I won't be giving that up. But as far as most other things go, it has been my view that it is only practical to go without a car in Los Angeles if you're at a place in your life where everything is centered and you're not looking to expand upon it. I'm twenty-five years old. Single. I'm not at that point and time yet.

Maybe I'm frustrated. Maybe I haven't explored all the options. But in this case, the car would be the option, not the sole everyday go-to. Tell me how many people in Los Angeles will tell you that.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Only Girl

Last night, New Guy, his friend and I went on a Midnight Ridazz ride around Lake Balboa, and once again I was the only girl in the group. I didn't mind, not really, but it's just funny that it happens to be that way more often than not. I really don't mind being surrounded by men.

I'm having fun with New Guy. He's cute, gentlemanly, and has the makings of a decent person. He actually checked out this ride because I'd mentioned it to him on our first date. But if anything right now, things are being taken slowly - and, similarly, I don't mind. Not really. It's nice to not be pressured into being ooey-gooey sticky sweet right away, or to break out the lingerie because we're at the three "non-date" mark. But it's also nice to be able to message back and forth/bitch about online dating with someone. Did I mention that he's cute? And my age?

Let me tell you, though, it's really nice when a guy takes an interest with something that you like. He's been all over this for the last couple of weeks. Take notes, guys - that's really, really cool.

Whatever happens, though, it's a little 'comforting' to know that if ever things go south I can hop on a bicycle ride like this and literally be surrounded by guys. Turn on the laugh and the smile, arch the back, and there you go; it's almost natural. I met four guys last night that fit the friend role really well (sans benefits, mind you), if not the romantic partnership I'm kindasorta looking for. Which I believe if I'm looking for won't happen, but that's a wholly different entry for a completely different blog.

Everyone was biking to a nearby bar by the time the ride was over... it had been a long day, otherwise I would have joined the rest of them; besides, New Guy and his friend were headed home because they had to be up early the next day. Depending on how things go by next week will determine if I join them or not, though.

Happy hunting cycling~