The New Year Again

It’s that time again, for the new year to be acknowledged. 

I don’t really want to, because I feel like I still have so much incomplete about the previous year. Like still not having a job. Shouldn’t that have happened in the months I have been looking for one?

But alas, time moves on, whether I am ready for it or not. 

And I always try to do something unique for the new year, to start it off running in new, untried directions. So this year, I did that. 

I started by actually having something to do that I couldn’t flake out of. (Last NYE I had a ticket to a show that I didn’t go to. I decided the couch and DVDs were more inviting. Silly me!) I had a job. Coat check girl. From answering an ad on Craigslist, and interviewing back in late September for the gig. I figured regardless of what job I obtained in the intervening months, chances were good that working New Year’s Eve would not be part of it. At least most of the jobs I was applying for. 

The view from the coat check room, NYE 2009

The view from the coat check room, NYE 2009




This was the view. All the action was out there, through that door. I got to help set up the bars, the VIP area, and the coat checking. I kept fiddling with the lights in my room, to make it less contrasting. But strangely enough, my room was the place all the staff ducked into to get away. I was the calm oasis away from the storm. And also the place to check one’s texts, emails and lipstick. 



It was pretty much what I thought being a coat check girl would be like. At $15 an hour, I was happy to walk out with cash in pocket. And a few tips. At 2:45 am, I went home, after all the guests had been kicked out. 

At home, I could still hear the BOOM * BOOM * BOOM of Giant Maximus taking place in downtown LA, three covered tents for three different djs doing their thing to ring in the New Year. Kinda wanted to go look at it, but also really wanted to take a nap. Nap won. 

Because at 4:30 am, I was catching a Metro train to meet up with my friend at Union Station to go to the Rose Parade in Pasadena. The floats are there to be viewed before the parade begins. No tickets required. 

The floats were awesome. This was one of my favorites, for the vibrant contrasting colors, and exotic subject of Bollywood. Turns out someone I know worked on it, just got her email today about disassembling it, do I want to help in a few weeks?

Sierra Madre Float

Sierra Madre Float

Yes, those are flowers, all flowers. Amazing, and also a little sad. Again, back to tree torture: plant torture. Couldn’t these millions of flowers had fuller lives, not been forced to bloom out of season, not plucked in the prime of their lives? As long as you don’t think about the sheer wastefulness (again, don’t think about the pointlessness of Christmas trees cut down every year….), it really is beautiful. And there were dancing Indian women in blue/purple saris, when the float really started down the parade route. 

I didn’t realize it, but when the parade started, I was at the back of the line of all the floats, and the bands and winner banners, horses and baton twirlers and dancers and all that sort of stuff gets added two blocks up from where I was, so I only got to see the floats and their people on them. Now I know better for next year. Del Mar and Orange Grove is the corner the parade really starts at. 

I had always wanted to go see the Rose Parade, so I was so happy my friend called and asked me to accompany her. I’ve lived here in LA for 9 years, and still hadn’t been to the parade. Kinda like living in Manhattan and not going to Times Square for NYE. Not like you have to go EVERY year, just once to at least say you’ve done it. That way when your friends come to visit to be a tourist, you can sound jaded but at least you have some local pointers for them. 

After the parade was finished, we caught Metro again back to downtown. We were both famished and starting to get in that snippy mood when each other’s suggestions are inadequate. Definitely time to eat something. My friend was amazed at my getting on Metro technique, despite it looking like there would be no room. (There was no room where everyone crowded, plenty of room where people weren’t, further down the platform.) This is one of the amazing things I have learned from dealing with large public performance events and public transportation. Most are tourists when it comes to using public transportation, and most are locals who just don’t use it themselves! LA is definitely not an exception on that score. 

As we left Pasadena and entered downtown, increasing numbers of people were coming in as we were leaving the Metro stations. A lot were dressed in USC colors, not unusual for downtown LA, which is close to the campus. Oh, we realized, they are going to the game! Having no shame and no allegience, we started saying loud things like “Go Penn!” for no particular reason other than to annoy people.  My friend actually is a UCLA fan, so any opponent of SC is a friend to her. Whatever. I just don’t care, having no fondness for football anyway. And not having attended a large University, I don’t pay any attention to collegiate sports. Then again, I mostly don’t pay any attention to any sports. Except maybe the Olympics. Sometimes.

There we were, in downtown LA, hungry and looking for someplace convenient to eat. The Pantry! My friend had never been there for breakfast. I had never been, though I pass it every time I walk into downtown. The line was enormous. But if you walk right in through the clearly marked exit door, you can stand in the shorter line for counter space. Which my friend did. And I stood in line outside for table space. She won and we got two counter spaces together. And a very kind gentleman who lived south of USC proceeded to tell us his life story, and future plans. He was fascinating and says he comes every Sunday and holiday, that coming to the Pantry for breakfast on those days were his social interaction for the week. 

Fed, we realized we were sleepy and our feet tired. Despite an attempt to come back to my place and work on cleaning it up, my friend decided going home was the best plan. I went with her back to her car at Universal City, to make sure she managed to make it to her car. She was definitely dragging at that point. The last lifting of the foot into the car was a struggle. I closed her door. She was thinking of calling her son once she got home to have him help her out of her car and into her house. She didn’t, but it was worth a laugh contemplating being that lazy. She gave me her day pass for my efforts. 

One hour naptime for me. And off to Long Beach.

In recent years, I have tried to do a tour of Southern California on New Year’s Day to remind myself of why I live here, and all that is so easily available. One year I sat on a berm at Venice Beach as fireworks announced the New Year, then drove up the coast to Oxnard up Highway 1 along the ocean and then into the mountains of Big Bear and Blue Jay for a glimpse of snow, and then out to the desert of Palm Springs by lunchtime.  That was one year. 

This year, to make up for all the summer cross country driving I did, the car was staying put. That and lack of renewable funds. Besides, I had a day pass burning a hole in my pocket. Long Beach it was. 

Long Beach Marina

Long Beach Marina


The sun was just setting by the time I got there. In fact, I never actually saw it, so perhaps it was already twilight. There was a slight haze in the air, adding to the feeling of other-worldliness, or other-timeliness. 



Of course, the cruiseliner Queen Mary looming out of reach and the pirate ship also added to the feeling of unreality.



Queen Mary looming

Queen Mary looming










It was nice. Here is where a ferris wheel turns. And a variety of restaurants and shops. Across a busy street, and here is where the Long Beach Aquarium is, shaped like a gently rolling surf, another place I have never visited. And walking along the boardwalk of Shoreline Village (more restaurants and stores and knick-knacks a-plenty), it slowly leads one to the lighthouse atop the hill. People were strolling, skateboarding, staring at the descending darkness, saying good-bye to the first day of the year. 

Lingering Remains of the Day

Lingering Remains of the Day

And so ended my day. My first day of 2009, my last night of 2008. May the New Year bring continued delights. May we never forget how beautiful the world is, how special, fragile and unique.

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2 Responses to “The New Year Again”

  1. gary Says:

    No snow? NO ICE???? Doesn’t look like upstate NY on New Yer’s at all!

  2. redroomsalon Says:

    Uh, no. Welcome to LA, baby! It was still chilly to the natives, if that makes you feel any better. Well, until the sun rose….

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