So I finished work at 5 p.m. PDT, and there was nothing left to do at the hotel but drink. Since I wasn’t huge on the idea of getting on a plane all sloshed up, I decided to come over to the airport early. Five hours early. I thought I could manage to people-watch for that long, and I was nearly right – three hours of people-watching is quite a bit. L.A. is full of nuts. But now it’s 8:15, and my flight doesn’t board for another hour and 15 minutes. I’m bored. So here’s a recap of my time in the lovely land of California:

Sunday, May 4: Arrive 1 p.m. Find hotel. Am awed by the small water fountains in the lobby. Check in, find room on Preferred Guest floor. Flop in chair, wait for evening meeting. During evening meeting, realize that the week ahead is more than I bargained for: corralling eight interviewers from my company is going to be tough. Realize that I will also be responsible for 10 District Managers from the client company. Shit pants a little. Order delicious and convenient room service. Have glass of wine. Zonk out around 10.

Monday, May 5: Wake at 5 a.m. Realize body is still on East Coast time (ugh). Work like nuts from 6:30 a.m. till 8:30 p.m. Forget to eat lunch. Fall asleep after stuffing face with delicious room service around 10.

Tuesday, May 6: Same as Monday.

Wednesday, May 7: Same as Tuesday. Slightly less impressed with room service.

Thursday, May 8: Ugh. Nearly oversleep. Have apparently adjusted to West Coast time. Get asked by client to stay in Los Angeles for week 2 instead of moving on to Chicago. Decide that after trying nearly everything on the restaurant / room service menu, it is time to venture outside for the first time in four days. Accost coworker who happened to mention a word that sounded something like sushi. Take him for sushi at restaurant in nearby Manhattan Beach, teach him how to use chopsticks and eat raw fish. Consume three large Ichibans. Join post-sushi, non-HR-approved poker game with interviewers and District Managers. Lose fifteen bucks to executives making three times my salary. Laugh about it, possibly because of the Ichiban and the Guiness.

Friday, May 9: Whew. Week’s end. Confirm arrangements to stay in Los Angeles, rent car, drive four-and-a-half hours to cover 200 miles to see my brother. Worth every second.

Sunday, May 11: Return to Los Angeles (trip is shortened by 1.5 hours, due to less traffic). Repeat week 1, substituting Italian food for sushi.

Highlights of the week:

  • The non-HR-approved poker game, which allowed for some good non-work bonding with the client-folk.
  • The 2 pounds of Dungeness that appeared in my hand before walking out the door on Friday, Week 1.
  • The meeting planners, John and Renee, who were incredibly considerate and good humored, even in the worst of moments.
  • Telling John, “I’m a dyke. I don’t get manicures.”
  • Scooter. Really, enough said there, right?
  • The waitress at the sushi restaurant who sat down to have a beer with us.
  • Singing “That’s Amore” with the cumulative staff and patrons at C&O Trattoria.
  • Heidy, the totally adorable Manager of Some Fancy Department or Service at the hotel who brought me a) fuzzy slippers and b) a special ice-cream-and-apples-and-oatmeal dessert this afternoon, “just because.” :Swoon.:
  • Daniela, the suave and somewhat butch-looking Sales Manager at the hotel who was the cause of a bit of unintentional drooling all week (Donna, just pretend you didn’t read that part).
  • All the dudes named Trini who work at the hotel.
  • Cy the Bartender’s lemon drops. That’s a mean drink, folks.
  • The look on Elliot’s face today when I told him I am a “hardcore, super liberal Democrat.”
  • The fact that I am now going home to Jacob and Donna. Finally.

It’s kind of cheesy, but this trip was a little like summer camp: one hotel, two weeks, mostly the same faces. I got to know some very cool people, and they were foolish enough to give me their cell phone numbers. Text-stalking is a good way to pass the time…

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