Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My drive to Los Angeles was a long one that included an angry man in a huge blue pick up truck with road rage, a trailer that caught fire on I-15 in Nevada, a car that smashed into the guardrail, news of the shootings in Santa Monica, a rush to get to West Hollywood in time to meet my friends for Pride, and an attempt at navigating, in the dark, the twisted, fucked up highway system that runs through the greater Los Angeles area. I was shaking angry when I arrived at Truck Stop in WeHo after spending 30 minutes looking for parking and eventually giving up and paying 20 bucks to valet, but my girls quickly fixed everything. Let's just say about the evening that it involved some much needed tranquilizing beverage choices, dancing, the best kinds of acquaintances, women dancing on the bar, my rainbow dress, pizza at 2am, an overnight at Lo's beautiful apartment nearby, the moment in which I "straight conjured that Daft Punk song" at the club [Lo's words], some hilarious suggestions, and "no regrets." 

I particularly loved walking all over WeHo at 9am the next morning in the warm ocean fog looking for the valet lot that had my car in it. I'm not being sarcastic. I enjoyed that little adventure a lot. So many people doing the walk of shame. So much hangover mixed with so much joy in peoples' faces. Crosswalks painted like rainbows.

I finally returned to Bungalungaloo at 11am the next morning to a Notice of Filming on my apartment complex gate, my front yard in full bloom, and my friends L & C at the cafe next to the juice bar I decided to walk to for purposes of re-hydration. 

Because even though I spent Friday night at Pride, I did the 15 mile World Naked Bike Ride Saturday afternoon. 
I've only ever done the WNBR once before this, and it was when I was visiting LA in the summer of 2010. That year, I had an owl painted on my body and I went with friends. This year, I went alone and I figured I'd stick with the bird theme, so I opted for a flamingo. Obvious I can't really share photos here without feeling like "that girl"/without sacrificing a potential future job or academic opportunity. But I can share some cropped photos, some blurred photos, and, as always, photos I took of the city itself. 
PH: Char/LAist
PH: Alex L
PH: Alex L
PH: N. Gonzales
New friends!
New friend!
New friends!
New friends!
Naked cycling shoes!
I painted the Dinocycle on M. It's pretty legit if you ask me.
We had the best police escort. He was kind and encouraging and he kept
us safe throughout the entire ride. 
It may seem silly that I'm sharing all of this, but the WNBR message is an important one to me. It's a community. I know most people think that those who like to get naked in public must either be self-obsessed or have something wrong with them, but that's just not true. Everyone was so happy at the bike ride. Everyone kept saying how they felt so free and so comfortable and like such a part of something. Do you know what it's like to speed down a city street on your bicycle, wind wrapping around nothing but your bare skin? It's incredible. It's the closest I ever come to feeling like a kid again. I support public nudity because I think it's important to send a message of body image acceptance and I think it's equally important to demonstrate to others that nudity doesn't have to be sexual. My favorite people along the route were the mothers and grandmothers who not only did NOT shield their children's eyes from "all the naked people," but who applauded the cyclists in front of their children, sending a message of acceptance to everyone.

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After the bike ride, I spent hours scrubbing paint and 100 SPF sunscreen off of myself before eventually getting all dressed up to go to a USC people dinner party with L & C, which was just the calming kind of end I needed to my 24 hours of just-being-back-in-Los-Angeles-insanity.

The following morning, L and I rode our bikes to brunch, enjoyed many spicy bloody mary's, then rode home so I could collect myself before finally returning to M's yoga classes. I practically cried when I saw her again. Some people just make you feel so comfortable and strong. M is that person for me. Her yoga playlists are what home sounds like to me now.

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Today I got to go visit my retired couple from airplane in Agoura. Robo and I drove to Zuma Beach for a beach walk. Afterward, I spent the entire rest of the day at their house [kind of] helping cook dinner, [definitely] eating dinner, and talking with UB and Robo about all sorts of things. Who would have ever imagined that two strangers from an airplane would turn out to be some of my closest friends in Los Angeles? They are constantly giving me all sorts of things they no longer need: spare pots and pans, hummingbird feeders, cuts of succulents, left over food, tea. They buy me little gifts. We spend hours in the kitchen talking. UB makes fun of me all the time. Robo and I exchange every little story from our travels. They help me think through the issues in my life. They basically rescued me when everything changed back in April. Spent all night with me while I paced and panicked. Supported me. Distracted me. I can't believe my luck in sitting next to them on that plane back in October.
UB's tortoise!

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