I have many pretentious arguments as to why smartphones are the end of social progression, but I’m going to exempt you from my rant, and go straight into my small anecdotes, those of which would probably not have happened if I owned a smart phone.
Side Note: I don’t understand why “smartphone” is one word, so to embrace my obstinate side, I am going to refer to them as “smart phones.”
I often find myself needing to stop to ask for directions, since I don’t have a GPS in my phone or car. We all know that I just let loose, take the ride, and find myself in some unexpected places. Due to this, I have woken up to the, where-the-fuck-am-I, thought on more than one occasion. Because I don’t sleep, it’s usually at an absurdly early hour, between 6:00am and 8:00am, depending on how late it was that I passed out (generally between the hours of three and five). With all of that being said…
Girl’s night out with my friend, Maia. Long story short, I woke up the next morning on her couch, in my tiny little dress, and had no idea how to get home. I splashed my face with water, flung my heels into the car and drove to the closest place that would be able to provide me with answers as to my location. McDonald’s. Brilliant. French fries and milkshakes are the perfect hang-over cure so I was killing two birds with one stone. I walk in looking fucking beat. I asked the cashier for directions, but he was young, and clearly had grown up with a smart phone, so was equally as clueless as myself. I sighed and dived** into my milkshake and french fries.
A sixty-something-year-old man who had apparently heard my unsuccessful exchange with the cashier, approached me and asked where I was trying to go. I explained, then so did he… giving me flawless directions. Here is where it gets fun. He said, “You look like you had a hell of a time last night.” Yup, yes sir, I did. I said something about how I was feeling the consequences of it, and he went on to say that the best hang-over treatment is another drink. He brought me out to his truck, where he retrieved a flask from the glove-box, and poured a healthy amount of bourbon into my vanilla milkshake. Fuck yes.
To paint a small picture, it was literally 7:05 in the morning, and I was in this dress…
high heels, smeared make-up, sweating alcohol, obnoxiously large sunglasses to hide my blood-shot eyes, and not giving a FUCK about any of it. To see me in a McDonald’s parking lot, accepting a shot of bourbon into a milkshake at 7am, from an overweight man with a mustache… all I’ve got to say is, I hope someone driving by appreciated it. We ended up talking for a good ten minutes about how billboards have destroyed road-trips, and then I went on my way, feeling 100% better and laughing out loud about what just happened, as The Smashing Pumpkins played on my car stereo.
Got lost driving back from a person’s house who I should definitely not have spent the night at to begin with. Again, I was wearing some absurd outfit at seven in the morning, and pulled over at a Denny’s because I figured I’d grab a coffee to remedy my pain and then ask for directions. Before I was able to walk in, I met TJ. TJ was an old mother fucker. He looked like he was eighty, but from what I learned about him during our conversation, he couldn’t have been quite that old.
He was crouched down in front of the door smoking a cigarette and said, “where you tryin’ to get to young lady?” How did he know?! I explained in the best way that I could, considering that I was absolutely still drunk from the night before. He told me how to get back, and then we just started talking….
The conversation led into how he came to be in California. He had literally jumped on a moving train from somewhere in the Mid-West (I forget where exactly) and ended up in California where he has been working for the train yard ever since. The mentioned train yard was directly behind the Denny’s we were at, and he went on to say that he’s there almost every morning during his early break because he’s “sweet on” one of the waitresses. I told him he should ask her out and jokingly offered to be his wing girl, completely forgetting the generational gap, and that he would have no idea what the hell a “wing girl” is.
It didn’t matter. We bonded over shit coffee, and the unspoken recognition that both of us were willing to befriend an unsuspecting stranger. Something that seems to be a dying practice.
I have an odd fascination with barges, and also find giant industrial style landscapes to be beautiful. So, I was driving down I-110 some late night, and noticed the colossal port of Los Angeles.
I turned in and drove through it for AT LEAST an hour. The place is huge, (7,500 acres) and I would stop every half a mile or so to stand up on the roof of my car and look out onto the vast landscape of man-made beauty to remind myself that I am happy and free. During these moments of middle class white girl introspection, I decided it was my calling to somehow work at the docks, but I had no idea how I was going to make that happen.
My first challenge however, was going to be finding my way out of the deep maze that I had just drove myself into. I just started driving and hoped I’d eventually find a sign pointing me to some recognizable highway. Instead, I saw a bar. I figured that almost every patron inside would be a port worker, so I shrugged my shoulders, thought what the heck, went in, and walked up to the first man I saw.
“Hi! Do you by chance work at the port?”
From there, Greg, a late thirties Mexican American man told me all about dock life and how to get into the Union, which is very interesting but I won’t get into that now. We had a couple of drinks, I learned about his family and truly enjoyed his company. He didn’t get creepy at all, and actually checked a couple of his friends who interrupted a few times with inappropriate innuendos regarding the two of us. Why can’t two people of the opposite sex have a conversation without it appearing romantic?
Greg then gave me directions out of there, and left me with his work number in case I ever wanted him to show me around the docks. The following week I gave him a call, and he happily showed me around the areas he works, and it was amazing. I loved every second of the visit. Mark my words, I am destined to one day, somehow be involved with a city port.
Final point: None of these wonderful encounters would have happened if I owned a smart phone.
**Did you know that “dove” is not a real word? To be grammatically correct, the past tense of dive is, “dived.” Fun fact.