Valentine's Day New Normal
So we drive over, park, get our red line ticket and head to the train platform. It is about 4, we talk that maybe Leigh will get a drink at a cocktail lounge before the 5:10 PM movie...
...But the train platform is a little TOO crowded. There are three sheriffs and a German Shepherd among the throng of people. Then another sheriff pushing a cart appears. It is loaded with a folding table, traffic cones and reflective signs that say something about a checkpoint and the right to search your car. he is followed by a custodian with an empty trashcan on wheels. They go thru the platform and take the elevator up to another part of Union Station. An announcement comes over the PA apologizing for the delay and includes some indecipherable verbiage that includes the line "other means of transportation" ...groans from the crowd are released like a collective, odorless fart as people stream to the stairs back up to the station. Many stay, though.
"Baby, we gotta get the fuck out of here and find a different way to Hollywood," I tell her and she is not in an arguing mood. We make our way up and pas a digital screen. It is 4:19 PM. We're downtown and we got to get to Hollywood. Knowing there could be some scary bizarre terror problem illustrating the new normal in American society, I take a side exit out of Union Station and walk to Sunset. It is three blocks to the 2 Bus line, Sunset Boulevard. We walk up and a bus is just departing. Leigh doesn't mind, there are open bus benches. We sit and wait. One girl says there was a fire in the tunnel at the Civic Center Stop and the whole red line is shut down. Who knows. What good would it do to know? The bus finally comes. We get seats. It slugs through traffic faster than a snail, slower than a bicycle.
Leigh recalls that THE ARTIST is playing at The Vista Theater. We will be by there soon. I check. Nope, we missed the screening. If it had started at the same time as the ARC-LIGHT we would have made it as we pass the Vista at 5:08 PM. We finally make it Sunset and Vine at 5:25. We walk into the lobby to see if anything is playing. It is kind of a dead-zone of a time. Everyone is home getting ready for the big date or already on the second cocktail of a wild one. The next show is a 5:40 screening of SafeHouse. This is a film I would never voluntarily go see, but one I can happily sit thru. It is a "guy's film" with Denzel in it to draw in the ladies. There are seven couples in the whole theater. The film is way better than I imagined and Denzel is the best part, just as Leigh predicted. Our Valentine's Day streak of seeing a movie continues. It stretches back a few years. Last year we saw The King's Speech, one year we saw the Julian Schnabel Diving Bell film.
Leigh loves to stay for the credits but this time we are both out of there, fast, and we run back to the bus stop - no art show tonight, we gotta eat! Ten people are waiting for the 2 headed downtown. I ask out loud to anyone listening, "Does anyone know if the Red Line is running, it was shut down earlier tonight?!?!" and one guy answers "Yeah it is running again." The only way we are going to get to Traxx on time was the subway, but we had to run up Vine two blocks to Hollywood Boulevard. We did this, a fast walk not anywhere near a jog but no one would have said we were dawdling.
The train platform there was crowded but people were sure the train was going to be running. Finally it came, slowly, while the clock ticked at the same fast pace. On the train the guy sitting across from me had a freemason's ring and I asked him about it. He was shocked I could spot the "G" logo from my distance but it was not a tiny ring. He explained to us that the Freemasons are the Jedi Knights of the world. We could have seen Star Wars Episode One in 3-D but took Denzel instead. We made it to the station and to TRAXX, the 5-Star gourmet paradise at the train station at 8:35 PM and had a wonderful, romantic Valentine's Day dinner, no terror attack, no police search, no masonic conspiracy. That we were able to enjoy the entire thing and laugh the whole way through (well except for the five minutes when leigh's feet started hurting walking to the bus bench) is a testament to loving every moment we spend together even when a tactical alert spills us out into the streets.