Hell no, I won’t go

I packed my bag and headed off to the airport with my driver yesterday. Halfway there I told my driver I didn’t feel like getting on a plane and that a weekend break would be nice as I headed into the final stretch of level 4 and the pending pressure cooker of level 5. We arrived at the airport, exchanged pleasantries and I opened the door to exit when all of the sudden my blackberry buzzes. On a whim, I decide to check it before getting out of the car. It was Craig Cackowski, my SC teacher, with the following blurb from the City of LA website:

The Full Rights for Immigrants march and rally will take place on Sunday, June 24th. Traffic impacts in the Hollywood area may be felt on any street within the area bounded by Franklin Avenue to the north, Gower Street to the east, Fountain Avenue to the south and La Brea Avenue to the west. Any street within the specified boundaries may be closed as warranted by the size of the protest. Since detour routes may be complex and congestion may be severe, motorists are encouraged to avoid this entire area if possible.

Protesters will assemble at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Avenue. Assembly area street closures will consist of Hollywood Boulevard between Cahuenga Boulevard and Vine Street and will be in place by 7:00am. Hollywood Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive will also be closed at 7:00am for the disbanding area. The remaining portion of the march route may be closed as early as 11:00am with the march scheduled to begin at approximately 12:00pm. From the assembly area, the march will proceed west on Hollywood Boulevard to Cahuenga Boulevard, south on Cahuenga Boulevard to Sunset Boulevard, west on Sunset Boulevard to Schrader Boulevard, north on Schrader Boulevard to Hollywood Boulevard, and west on Hollywood Boulevard to Orange Drive where the demonstrations and speeches will take place. Streets along the route will be reopened as soon as possible. The event is scheduled to disband starting at 7:00pm.

While the organizers have indicated that approximately 5,000 to 10,000 participants will begin to assemble for the march at 7:00am, and will disperse at 7:00pm, many roadways in the Hollywood area will be impacted into the evening hours. The detour routes are Franklin Avenue to the north, Fountain Avenue to the south, La Brea Avenue to the west and Gower Street to the east.

Well before the march starts, roadways surrounding the assembly and demonstration areas must be secured and all vehicles parked on the route in violation of the temporary parking prohibitions, must be towed for public safety. Parking will also be prohibited on detour routes to reduce congestion. LADOT will aggressively enforce all temporary parking signs, beginning at 6:00am on Sunday. It costs $70 for the citation and $150 to $185 to recover a towed vehicle.

LADOT is committed to reopening streets along the route as quickly as it is safe to do so. We regret that we do not have sufficient staff resources available to provide individualized travel and parking information to concerned citizens.

Let me explain what this means in English, and yes I see the irony there. Basically, Second City is in the heart of the demonstration route and getting into and out of the immediate demonstration area is not only going to be difficult, but more than likely on foot. Craig said a similar demonstration was held last year and it attracted HALF A MILLION PEOPLE. So Craig gave us three options:

1. Leave extra early for class and budget extra time to get home (that screws me getting back for a 4:55 flight)
2. Have class at someone’s house or apartment
3. Cancel class and make it up July 22 (We have a winner).

I called him immediately, told him he caught me as I was about to check in at DFW and my vote was to cancel class. Craig asked if I could still cancel my flight sans penalties and, after I assured him I could, he said “then that’s the call. I’ll email everyone now that class is cancelled and we’ll see you next week.”

I reacted so immediately that I didn’t explain to my driver what I had just read beyond the “what the hell?”s and “holy crap!”s. She heard me say “cancel class” and “see you next week” and then began cheering and clapping. She was scheduled to go to a friend’s housewarming party that night, and now she could show up with a date. I think she had another date lined up, but me staying in town gummed up the works. (For those of you new to these travelogues, please take the majority of my comments with a heavy dose of sarcasm. Also, I use parentheses a lot for my own inner monologue sidebar comments.)

I got to spend Saturday night at the party with my driver (her boyfriend totally understood, thanks Doug). She even made waffles this morning and we spent the afternoon at NorthPark Mall, even went to see “Shrek 3” (just as good as the other 2). I got to workout and then took the pups for a nice, long walk. Tonight was chipotle and an “Entourage”, “Flight of the Conchords” double feature. 2 things: I want someone to punch Vincent Chase in the neck and see how everyone else in his posse handles the situation for him, and my new favorite show is “Conchords.” It’s silly, stupid, random, and my type of show. I think I may have just indicted myself in some weird way there. Anyway, check out this show Sunday nights right after “Entourage”.

So I got my wish, to stay home and relax for a weekend. My driver and I seem to think returning the $200 in cash I found in a parking lot Tuesday may have had something to do with the little “My Name Is Earl” karmic pat on the rear in the form of a weekend off. Here’s how that went down. I had a meeting on Tuesday and upon arrival at the building, I noticed something giving the appearance of money in the middle of the parking lot. I pulled in and walked over to inspect the pile noticing it actually was money. Now normally, when I’ve found money it’s been a penny, the occasional quarter or maybe even the rare dollar, but never $180 in $20 bills complete with ATM receipt. As I walked into the building, I read the ATM receipt to see that the withdrawal had just taken place at a nearby Compass Bank and the amount was $200, not $180. So I headed back out to the parking lot for, possibly, the remaining $20 and sure enough, only a couple feet from the initial discovery I located the last $20 bill.

I don’t tend to keep any money I find since it’s not mine. Any spare change I find is dropped in a nearby collection bin, but this wasn’t 37 cents, it was $200 and somebody was probably going to be mighty angry to know they lost it. I once lost $40 coming back from lunch and it still haunts me to this day. I’m getting ticked just remembering it. Moving on….I went to the reception area of the building and asked the receptionist to send out an email to all the building asking that anyone that had pulled out money from Compass Bank in the last 20 minutes call the front desk. I showed her the ATM receipt so she had the info to verify when the rightful owner got the email, barring it was an employee of the company. I left her my cell phone number and stashed the money and receipt in my pocket and headed to my meeting. Later that afternoon on my way out I asked her if anyone called to claim the money and she said plenty of people replied to the email claiming it but couldn’t provide the amount and/or correct bank location. With that, I headed on with my way and decided to give it 24 hours before deciding what to do with the money.

Fast forward to Friday when I went to the Compass Bank listed on the ATM receipt with the money and receipt in hand, determined to have the ATM transaction tracked down and the money deposited back in it’s owner’s account. When I explained to the teller that I was not a Compass Bank customer and what led me to this point, she stared at me with a blank, non-believing, “do you hear what you’re saying” look on her face. Now, I realize it’s not everyday somebody walks in with $200 cash of someone else’s money they’ve found and asks for it to be traced back to, and deposited into, the owner’s account. She took the money and receipt and disappeared into the back. For some reason I got the fleeting feeling she had gone straight out the backdoor into a waiting ’78 Trans Am and the arms of her wheelman/on-the-lamb boyfriend and taken off for the border of her choosing with “my money”. I realized the absurdity of this thought since it wasn’t my money, but I couldn’t for the life of me get “Eastbound and Down” out of my head. (That’s a “Smokey and the Bandit” reference. It might have been a long way to go for one, but I don’t hassle you when you write on your blog do I? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that. I know you work hard and you take the time out to read my stuff. How about a foot massage?) I was snapped back to reality by the friendly-faced and law abiding teller letting me know the transaction could be traced by corporate and the money would be deposited back into the right account.

I didn’t think too much about any sort of “karmic windfall” until I was about to leave the gym tonight. One of the gentlemen that works there came over and started a conversation with me and in the course of the conversation I told him I was normally in LA on weekends and he revealed his son was an actor/Navyman in Hawaii and was about to finish his tenure in the Navy then moving to LA. Before I know it, I’ve given him my card and he’s promised to put me in contact with his son, who is swimming in contacts, most notably the casting director for “Lost” which shoots in Hawaii, and was in Footloose with Kevin Bacon. (I’m not explaining that one.) Now, if anything ever comes of it is one thing, but the fact that the conversation took place is another thing in my favor.

But boy am I going to be pissed if I find out that teller took my money and did her best Sally Field impression…

Miles Traveled: 0

One comment

  1. Jeez. I’d just like the following noted:

    In one blog entry we’ve had all of the following:

    1 – English/Spanish language jokes.
    2 – An “Entourage” reference combined with a “punch in the neck” reference.
    3 – A “My Name is Earl” reference.
    4 – A “Smokey and the Bandit” reference. (multiple actually)
    And last but not least…
    5 – Another entry in the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

    I for one… now need a nap!

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