When someone mentions the word “visit,” I typically am assigned the role of guest. This is the case for two reasons. One, I love to travel. You know those people who get kind of freaked out by flying on a plane? I am not one of those people. Even weirder, I love hanging out at airports. I dunno, it’s relaxing to me. But I digress…
Reason number two why I’m always the guest – having carted all my crap multiple times from apartment to apartment and from city to city, I have learned an invaluable lesson – it’s much easier to do when you have less crap. By the time I made it out to California, I could fit all that I owned into the trunk of my car. Then I learned a second invaluable lesson upon my move to SoCal – it’s freaking expensive as hell to live out here. Therefore, Anna slept on an air mattress her entire first year in California. That doesn’t exactly win you brownie points in the hospitality department. “You have your choice of sleeping accommodations tonight – either the comfy air mattress that somehow deflates completely by morning, or if you would just like to skip that song and dance, we have this lovely floor. It’s carpeted!” Somehow I have found myself nearly guestless during these past five years of living in California. Go figure.
Which brings me to the annual family reunion I have with two of my most favorite people in the entire world – my cousins. To protect their anonymity, I shall call them Jakayla and Haruko. Jakayla, Haruko and I spent countless hours together as kids – playing, laughing, singing, locking each other in closets. Sorry, Haruko. Yet now that we have all grown up, we’re spread out across the country. Our mini family reunion tradition thus began a few years back, but I have always left town to see my rad cousins. Not this year, though. This year we were gathering in LA.
Let the panic attacks begin.
Mind you, I knew this was going to happen since last year when we were saying our goodbyes. And let me throw out this little disclaimer for good measure – I was overjoyed as the prospect of finally earning the title of hostess. That said, I had been living like your stereotypical bachelor for the past few years; I had maybe two towels, a fork and a spoon, a few plates. However, I have always risen to the occasion like a rockstar when it comes to shopping of any kind, and I was up to this challenge as well. Yet it’s amazing how by making one small improvement to your home ten new projects suddenly demand your attention, time and money. A new couch? Then obviously you need new matching pillows and a few cozy throws to make it just right.
And it’s not even like Jakayla and Haruko would care. Those two would be perfectly happy sitting on the floor, eating ramen noodles while watching me reenact episodes of Sex and the City from inside a cardboard box. I knew this. It didn’t matter. I wanted everything to be just perfect for them.
Then there are the activities to plan… I’ve been living in LA for a few years now, but am ridiculously ignorant when it comes to knowing what’s going on around town. I am very much creature of habit (i.e. six nights out of seven, I’m chillaxing at home). Also, the more popular places around town – The Standard, Sidebar, Whiskey Blue – are just not my scene. (This is not me attempting to slam those joints; rather this is me freely admitting how uncool I am. Shocker.) Hanging out at Target is my idea of a rocking Friday night.
Lastly, there’s the constant driving when you have guests in town… It can kill you if you don’t kill first. I’ve already ranted about the LA peeps that can make your driving life a living hell, but aside from those lovely folks, the lay of the land is also an issue. I can’t even count how many times I have taken a wrong turn and am suddenly in completely unfamiliar territory. “Where in the hell am I?” has come out of my mouth more than once since moving to Los Angeles. Just the idea of being responsible for others while driving around this bloody mess of a city was enough to make me break out in the cold sweats.
So what is my longwinded point you ask? My point is that everything went… perfectly. My cousins were awesome, our days were awesome, the weather was awesome, even the driving was awesome. Well, except for Hollywood – you bastard. And now that my beloved cousins have departed and flown back home, I’m feeling a bit antsy for someone else to partake in the awesomeness that is Anna’s hosting abilities… Have I just referred to myself in the third person for the second time during this post? I have a feeling no one’s going to be visiting me again for a long, long time.