A few days before I left New York, Tom had asked me via e-mail what I wanted to do in Los Angeles, if I had any special requests, if there were any sights I NEEDED to see, things I needed to do.
“Uh, I want to run those steps in Santa Monica.”
“OH! I HAVE HEARD ABOUT THOSE!” Tom said eagerly. “LET’S DO IT!”
And so began “Laura Is The Worst House Guest You Ever Had 2008 Extravaganza: West Coast Edition”. Every day with the exception of Wednesday when it POURED DOWN INEXPLICABLE RAIN, Tom and I embarked on a Super Fun Physical Activity!!
“YOU ARE A DORK,” exclaimed another with affection. “A TOTAL DORK! WHO DOES THAT?!”
I do. And you know what? Y’all can suck it because Tom was totally up for it.
The steps in Santa Monica met my every expectation. Carved into a mountain, every day, eager exercisers stay to the right and run all the way down to the highway at the bottom, turn around and climb all the way back to the top. We went on Thanksgiving morning and the stairs were pretty packed. A black man with the biggest thighs I’ve ever seen was chatting with other regulars. “How many you doin’ today?” “Eh, I’m only on fourteen.”
I’m sorry, I just hallucinated. Fourteen? You went up and down those stairs fourteen times?
DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND.
Tom and I did four. FOUR. Two laps up and down on the wooden stairs, two laps up and down on the concrete set. It’s also worthy to note that in between each lap, we jogged around the neighborhood and attempted to get our hearts to SLOW THE HELL DOWN before we died. But that still doesn’t mean we were anywhere near FOURTEEN LAPS. I was jealous. SO JEALOUS. If I lived in LA, I’d be on that staircase every day because I am what you call Batshit Crazy.
Friday morning, after telling Tom that I wanted to go running, we drove to Hancock Park and went for an hourlong jog. You would think Hancock Park is a park but you’d be wrong. Perhaps there is such a park or grassy area with that name, I have no idea. In this case, Hancock Park refers to a neighborhood, a BEAUTIFUL tree-lined gorgeous neighborhood with some of the most amazing houses I’ve ever seen. Tom and I wanted to select our favorite pieces of real estate so off we went.
We would chat a little bit as we ran, which was very new for me. I almost always run by myself, just an eclectic RUNNING playlist on my iPod, clearing my head, keeping me company. I didn’t mind running with Tom at all, the way I would mind running with someone else. There was no pressure to keep up conversation, no obligations at all and I found that we’d go through waves of speaking and then being silent, concentrating on our breathing, nothing to be heard except the sound of our sneakers slapping the sidewalk.
I will say that the aforementioned bliss was temporarily disrupted every time Tom said something funny which, if you know him, occurs approximately once every three minutes. I definitely learned my lesson: Tom can be a pain in the ass to work out with because you cannot run and laugh at the same time. I tried to ignore him, but I just couldn’t and so our jog was punctuated with pauses as I bent over to catch my breath, giggling hysterically.
This was also a good time for Tom to breath heavily and remark, “I need to walk now. Cannot…run…anymore.”
“OKAY!!!!” I would shout cheerily and we would walk a few blocks before picking up speed again.
On Saturday, our exercise routine culminated in a 90 minute hike through Runyon Canyon.
Sweating profusely, Tom and I huffed and puffed as we made our way up and down some really difficult trails. It was the warmest day yet, a balmy 72 degrees and I never wanted it to end. The hike itself was pretty challenging at times because Tom chose the harder path to walk on, which he later regretted.
“You picked it! YOU TOTALLY DID THIS TO ME.”
“Tom, I did not! You chose it!”
“Do you think it’s acceptable hiking behavior to just sit down and slide to the bottom of the mountain on our asses?”
I was very sincere with this last suggestion but luckily, it never came to that. I gripped rocks with my bare hands, maneuvered my sneakers in just the right way and made it up and down some TREACHEROUS TERRAIN all by myself without dying or breaking a limb or scraping my knees. APPLAUSE, IF YOU PLEASE.
“If I lived here,” I told Tom on our walk back to the car, “I would do this every day.”
“You’d hike 90 minutes every day?”
“No. I would run the Santa Monica steps, jog through Hancock park AND go for a 90 minute hike EVERY SINGLE DAY.”
“You realize that would take up the entire day? And also, that you would probably die?”
“So? What else would I be doing? I’m just going to move here and sleep on your couch. It’s not like I’m going to need an ACTUAL JOB.”
“Can you go back to the east coast now? I can’t feel my thighs.”
“SUCK IT UP, PANSY.”
If you too would like a house guest who beats your muscles to a pulp, please call me. Inquiries are now being accepted. I take Visa, Mastercard and cold, hard cash.