Today is the first day of my second week in Los Angeles. I woke up with a premonition that something bad might happen to my dog, so I spent 15 extra minutes in bed snuggling with Jack before taking him to the dog park. We usually have the park all to ourselves in the mornings, but today we were promptly attacked by a pack of five (5!!) large dogs (think Boxers and Rottweilers). I dove into the sea of barred teeth and pulled my 15-pound terrier out from under the dog pile, dumped my cafe latte all over my clothes, bumped my head against a tree, and found myself yelling profanities at the two women--something like "Get your F-ing dogs off of me"--as their five dogs continued to attack. To which they replied like whiny grade school girls, "Your dog started it." Nah nah nah nah nahhh nah. I went back to my parents and announced to my dad, "I could never live here again."
But things improved after breakfast when I found that my Absentee Ballot had arrived. I promptly colored in the oval for Barak Obama and ran to the post office to mail my vote. I parked but hadn't made it to the post office before spotting a postal truck. The mail carrier was in it, loading her bags. "Can I give this to you?" I asked. "It's a very important piece of mail. It's my vote for Obama." Then I paused, because, well, you never know... "Wait, you're not voting for McCain are you?"
"I'm not sure yet," she answered. "I just don't know after the last two elections."
"You mean because they were rigged?"
"I know. I've been discouraged too. But we can't give up." She listened to my spiel about why Obama is the right person, about how he's charging Americans to get off their entitled asses and be part of the solution, to DO THEIR PART, and how I felt so strongly that this was key.
"Yes," she replied, "even my 15-year-old daughter is making me bring my own grocery bags to the store and not letting me buy juice in those little plastic bottles but getting Kool-Aid in the pouches and mix it up at home instead."
"Good for her. I love hearing that," I said. It was clear she needed to get on with her mail delivery.
"You can take your ballot over to the post office if you feel better about that," she said before I left.
I just looked at her and smiled. "No, I trust you."
I looked up as I was walking back to the car and saw this sticker placed on the road sign. Why was the word PIE stuck to a No Truck Zone sign? I didn't see any pie shops around. Was it some kind of message from the universe that I'm supposed to finally open my own pie shop here? God knows, L.A. could use more pie!!! No matter the message, it made me smile--and think about making an apple pie for my parents.
Later, my dad and I met my brother Michael for lunch in the little town of El Segundo. While El Segundo's borders include LAX airport, an oil refinery, and L.A.'s main sewage treatment plant--just the mention of this town makes people wrinkle their noses in disgust--it is a DARLING little town that feels like a throw-back to Iowa. There are old-fashioned diners, hip cafes, a real town square with a grassy park, and FREE parking. I immediately wanted to start looking for a cottage to rent.
After lunch (at the fabulous Blue Butterfly Coffee Company), we walked around the block. And there was indeed a cottage for rent. A retail space. A perfect PIE SHOP location. I could just picture the pies on display in the windows. I peeked inside and could even more so imagine myself rolling dough under the vaulted ceiling, all painted in the freshest shade of white.
I called the number. The man (the current lease holder) said he would talk to the owner about me renting it as a pie shop and have them get back to me.
I said I could never live in L.A. again. But El Segundo is not L.A. Or maybe it's how L.A. used to be before snotty women started showing up with packs of mean dogs at the dog park. I don't have to decide today. Maybe I'll just have to wait for another sign.