I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. An L.A. girl I am not. Oregon? Yes. Hawaii? On occasion. (My grandpa beams with pride when I’m assumed to be a local.) Los Angeles? Not so much. But like a chameleon I am able to blend into my environment, look as though I belong. However, when I roll up to any location, one thing is clear: I’m not Girl Hollywood.
You see, my car is a 1992.
That used to belong to my parents.
I’m fairly confident I am the only person in Los Angeles under 40 with no children who drives a minivan, much less an 18-year-old one. A friend once suggested I put in a car seat just so it “makes sense” to a passerby. When I pull up to any valet stand, it’s obvious I’m not part of the rich elite. No one is that practical. And not surprising, the thing about owning an old car is this: over time things stop working properly, a lesson I learned the hard way one sweltering summer day.
On my way to the Hotel Bel-Air for high tea, I stepped into my car looking the part: cork wedge sandals, cute dress and even cuter purse. By the time I got to the end of my block I realized my a/c wasn’t “on the fritz” as I had previously led myself to believe. Damn thing wasn’t working. At all. Once on the freeway, I could feel beads of sweat dripping down my torso. Instinctively, I used the front of my dress to sop it up. Then I remembered my dress was light grey. And yes, when wet, light grey turns to dark grey. I glanced down at the growing sweat mark on my stomach. Taking a quick mental assessment of all the other places I felt sweat dripping I knew this had the potential to be very bad. Acting quickly, I found a towel and laid it down on my seat so I could hike up my dress as close to my waist as possible without letting passing cars know the color of my underwear. I may be a sweaty pig, but I’m still a lady.
While driving at a snail’s pace on the freeway I shoved wads of Kleenex anywhere I could reach; against my stomach, between my knees and up around my bra. Once on Stone Canyon Road, I pulled out each piece of Kleenex, which now had the consistency of tissue paper. By the time I reached the valet stand, I was tissue-free save for the errant piece I found four hours later. I hopped out of my car, apologized that the a/c wasn’t working and, head held high, hoped for the best. And by “the best,” I mean I prayed my ass didn’t have giant sweat marks.