I drove from Philly to LA in 1990 with my sister, my brother and a friend in two cars. I drove the little black pick-up truck that I still have now and my sister drove her car. We communicated during the cross-country drive with walkie-talkies. This was before cell phones people. The first night we were in LA, we stayed at Jamie Kennedy’s apartment in North Hollywood, not far from where I live now. (FYI: Jamie, most well known for the movie “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” and my brother were friends from grade school and we grew up in the same neighborhood. Jamie had moved to LA the year before.) We parked our cars on the street and woke up to street cleaning tickets. That’s how Los Angeles welcomes people. You get screwed by the parking authority the minute you arrive.
Maybe you thought I was going to tell you some cool story about how I arrived on the corner of Hollywood and Vine with stars in my eyes and envisioned my name permanently embedded on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Wrong. Instead we got the first fisting of many from the city of LA. So many people I know have had their cars booted, towed and impounded because of bullshit parking tickets. People will go to jail for parking tickets in LA. In fact, my brother spent the night in county jail because we never bothered to register the truck in California the first few months we were here. What did we know? Why would that be important? Now we know. One night, he did an illegal u-turn or something, got pulled over by the fuzz and somehow wound up in jail for the night. Another guy I know, who’s fairly new to LA, didn’t pay his parking tickets and they towed it, impounded it and it cost almost $2,000 to get it back! Someone needs to explain to me why California is bankrupt. But it almost seems like a rite of passage in this city. Everyone has a horror story having to do with their car, the parking authority and/or the DMV. But life in LA sucks without a car, so you gotta suck it up and follow their stinkin’ rules, which I didn’t for years. Of course I eventually got caught, but that story is later and it involves getting searched for crystal meth.
My car got repoed once in Hollywood. I got it back, but it’s scary to wake up, look out your window and see your car gone. If you’ve ever had your car towed, stolen or repoed, then you know how much it sucks because you don’t know where it is, you don’t know how to get it back and you don’t know what you have to do to get it back. What you do know is that it’s probably gonna cost money to get it back, and chances are, it’s money that you don’t have.
When I saw my car missing I reported it stolen, of course, because being one lousy payment behind shouldn’t have these creeps stealing your car in the middle of the night. But they do, and when you find out where it is, you have to pay them whatever you owe on the car, in my case about $3,000, and you feel like you’re paying a thief for robbing you. The same way you feel when you pay for health insurance.
Thankfully, I had a cool friend who lent me the money to get it back. I would have been so sad if I lost my hot rod. That truck and I have been through a lot together. We drove cross country together and it got me home many drunken Hollywood nights. I have to give credit to the truck because I have no idea how I made it home a few times, so I’m assuming it has some built-in mechanism that detects a drunk driver is behind the wheel and safely gets them home. I don’t drink and drive anymore because I’m older and wiser and decided my luck would eventually run out if I kept taking drunken chances, and luckily it didn’t. I’ve never had a DUI and I’ve never hurt anyone driving drunk, but my black ass finally wised up and I don’t do it now.
The guy who repoed my car hit on me too. But he was stupid because he hit on me after he took my money. Maybe if he hit on me before he took my money, we could’ve worked something out. I think getting my car back was worth a blow job, don’t you? Then, he thought he was being funny, and nothing is more irritating to me than someone who isn’t funny but thinks they are. Trying to make me laugh, he points out the window of the repo place, shows me his car and points out his license plate. It read: “I MK U WLK” (I MAKE YOU WALK for those who can’t figure it out). That really is something you would see in a movie, isn’t it? The cocky repo man with the cocky license plate. Emilio Estevez would have been proud. (for those of you who don’t recognize the reference, he did a movie called “Repo Man” in 1984.)
Welcome to Hollywood!
*The second picture is a view from one of my old apartments in Hollywood. I always thought it was cool that I could wake up and see the Hollywood sign. Now I don’t give a shit.