The Raw Vegan: Part LXXIV, California, Here I Come!

I took my new matched luggage and packed it well. The limits on how many pieces or how much they weighed wasn’t as restricted as it is now and I didn’t pack lightly. I had a huge suitcase, a smaller one and an overnight case. I’ve learned since then.

Per the arrangements with my travel companion, I was to drive my car to a police station between my town and where we were to catch our flight. As planned, she drove from her home and met me there. I went into the police station and asked for permission to leave my car there and it was fine with them. As far as I was concerned, it was the safest place to park it for the next few days. We’d be gone less than a week. I wanted to make sure I got back before Sabbath.

Our flight out was on Southwest and we found two seats together. It was unlike any experience I’d ever had flying. The pilot got on the intercom and sang to the passengers and told jokes. It was most enjoyable. We had a layover in Phoenix and I had the best vegetarian airport food there I’d ever eaten. Next on the agenda was a little shopping and I bought a mug to add to my already extensive collection.

Phoenix Airport Mug

After having to sit on the floor to wait for our connecting flight, we boarded the plane for the next leg. It was a lighthearted time, too, though the pilot wasn’t quite as talented as the first.

We landed at LAX on time and got our luggage, then headed for the rental car counter. It was decided I would be the navigator since I knew how to read a map and TC (Travel Companion) would be the driver. Her contribution was she lived in a large city and was used to heavy traffic.

Our destination was Pasadena and the Doubletree Hotel. The only problem was, something had gotten lost and it was our reservations. I hadn’t made any of the arrangements for the trip or accomodations so I learned, once again, to do it myself. The hotel we ended up in wasn’t a hotel at all but a Holiday Inn. It was an older one but it was probably a better choice, anyway. There were a couple of restaurants to choose from in the building and both of them served excellent vegetarian food along with the usual suspects.

Neither one of us was anxious to bunk together so we had our own rooms. We got along fine but we needed our privacy. The corporation was paying, too, so why not?

After a good night’s sleep, we were ready to roll. Another plus as far as the motel was concerned was that we were closer to the corporate offices. That was where we were to spend the next four days being educated on a system we both already knew. We weren’t pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes. It was policy and I wasn’t about to argue.

The classroom we were shown to had windows all across one side and they were facing the mountains. It was a gorgeous view and very distracting. I would rather look at it than concentrate on the computer. If it were a computer computer, that would have been one thing but it was a dumb terminal and all it would do was run the financial system all the hospitals in the group used. That afternoon, we found out there would be no more distraction. The smog moved in and if we hadn’t known the mountains were there…

My favorite IT person was the one who was appointed to instruct us. He made it more fun than drudgery. He also had the opinion that school should be out early enough that we would be able to see some sights.

We went to City Walk where we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, Grauman’s Chinese Theater (where we stood in famous footprints), took in the Hollywood Walk of Fame and were recruited to go to a taping of Caryl and Marilyn. I would never look at another TV show in the same way. It took several hours to tape an hour long show. They’d be rolling along and the resident lawyer would say, “You can’t do that. You’ll have to do this.” They’d roll their eyes and start over. In spite of that, it was interesting. Prizes were handed out but we didn’t win anything.

Rodeo Drive was another draw. TC drove while I snapped pictures. We had to wait to get them developed. Digital cameras were still in the future.

Back at headquarters, we visited the offices of all the IT people we’d gotten to know quite well. One of the men had a Windows 3.1 computer on his desk and we were amazed and impressed with what it would do. The Wave of the Future.

The days slipped by and we had to turn in the car and board the plane going back to Tennessee. The return flight wasn’t on Southwest. It was Eastern and everything was proper, stiff and stuffy. It was no fun. I was hooked on Southwest. The company had the best safety record, too.

TC got her car and we loaded up for the trip back to the police station. My car was unharmed and we transferred the luggage from hers to mine. I went in to let the woman at the desk know I was back and claiming my ride.

I was tired but still fresh enough to drive the 100+ miles home. It was a relief that Sabbath was coming on and I’d be able to rest. After the weekend, Monday would be my first official day as the Business Office Manager. What had I gotten myself into?

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