It was Fathers day in the UK, they were with each other as I lollopped around my luxury 12th floor bedroom. Didn’t want breakfast, didn’t want to get dressed, but it was our one and only day off and Sybil was collecting me at 10.30.
Haven’t watched any American telly at all, haven’t wanted to. My head has been so full of research notes and the packing and unpacking of suitcases. Thought about putting the telly it on but couldn’t face the news of shootings in Charleston.
I lay in bed thinking about the rest rooms/bathrooms/toilets and lavatories, and varied selection of loos that have made this trip so special. The airport seats, press a button and the seat moves round to the right. A new soft plastic sanitary cover is on the seat so that sitting down is extra dry. The lavatory seat in one hotel that was warm. I sat down and flew up in the air like a spring. Realised that the red hot seat was part of the luxury lavatalia. The Loo paper that now has the added benefit of a little sticker on the end of the roll. Unpeel it and you know that no human hand has been there before you. The myriad handles and buttons that you either pull or push, or the fancy ones that you have to wave your hand over. And then there are the fake vintage taps that are really sensory ones. I stood a full three minutes trying to turn a tap on, in the end had to call for help. In came the hotel manager and waved her hand under the tap. Whoosh went the water. I know that ‘man’ needs to develop and invent, I know that ‘man’ likes to conquer science, I also know that when you’ve got to go you’ve got to go and then when you’ve gone you want to get out as soon as possible. Is that too much to ask?
I crawled out of bed and slipped on my polkadot dress that required neither item of underwear. Went downstairs to wait for Sybil, my friend of over thirty years. Sybil is a soothsayer, mystic, healer and dyed in the wool progressive from Blackpool. Sybil has lived in ‘Hollywierd’ since 1993, Sybil still speaks full Rochdale.
I was being collected at 10.30. Figured since Sybil could see into the future Sybil would know that I was going to be ten minutes late.
A little green car with Lady Gaga sitting in the back was parked out front of the hotel. I heard the voice of Gracie Fields…
I climbed in, and had a tiny little weep since we hadn’t seen each other since 2007 when Sybil drove me to the ”Optimum Health Institute in San Diego where I self medicated by ingesting wheatgrass up my colon.
Lady Gaga, a rescued bitch, licked me all over. Then off we drove to Hermosa Beach. An affluent seaside town that was about 12miles way.
As we drove out of LA you could see the areas shift and change. Finally we arrived. I felt so ill I could barely put one foot in front of the other, but I didn’t tell Sybil.
Parked the car then went and sat inside Sybil’s bijou lodgings and talked. Maggie arrived sporting five hats slung over her arm. Neither Maggie nor Sybil would let me out in the fierce heat unless I protected my head. ‘Utter nonsense. I need the vitamin ‘D’.’ I screamed. ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen….’ they screamed back..
Out of Sybil’s, turn right and before you could say ‘Rickets’ we were on the beach. Hermosa is famous for serfing, shark watching and volley ball. The strand is covered in nets where Olympic volley ball players practice. If you are 1 or 2 pounds over weight, if you can pinch an inch, or if like me you can bemoan a stone, do not, I repeat, DO NOT go to Hermosa beach. Everybody, including the dogs, look Giselle Budchen.
We got a table in a restaurant that had won the ‘best of’ four years ago. They couldn’t have changed that much.
The menu was, as the menu always is, full of fried shrimp, hamburgers, french fries and pizza. I opted for Cajun chicken Ceasar Salad. it was delicious. The lettuce was crispy and fresh.
Sybil went home, Maggie and I sauntered to an ice cream parlour. I had cherries and vanilla. Totally exquisite. Now to say I was feeling wretched was an understatement, my eyes kept closing. It was like narcolepsy. Falling asleep mid sentence, and that’s when I was talking. Sybil took one look at me and decided to drive me back to the hotel.
I got back at 5.30, started packing my case in preparation for Santa Monica and called Eddie. They were out in Silver Lake. I felt like everybody’s grass was a perfect shade of Emerald. As it happened we all had frustrating days. One day off and the scaffolding that holds youu together when you are working, crumbles.
I ordered room service, which I couldn’t eat so I shuffled it out onto the corridor. Collapsed into my bed, looked out at the LA skyline – fell asleep. I dreamt of Lady Gaga, bronchitis and dogs playing volley ball. I think I needed a doctor.