LA, I might be bitter but there are things I like about you

1. Masa of Echo Park. Oh my word. If you are in Los Angeles and you aren't headed towards Masa right now, what is your deal?

1800 W. Sunset Blvd, corner of Lemoyne. I didn't know about it until now, mainly because I'd never figured out exactly where Echo Park is, but as soon as I knew I went back four times that week: for coffee, pints of beer, and two separate dinners with people involving avocado melts on veggie burgers, which you can get anywhere in LA but NOT USUALLY accompanied by coziness and unflaggingly nice people devoid of any pretension whatsoever.

This may be because two of the owners are from Chicago and Tennessee. Ooh, look how that bitterness sneaks in even when I'm trying to be nice.

2. LA Metro AKA the bus. This is a shout out to the 92, the 704, and the 780. You got me where I needed to go much quicker than people would have me believe and I didn't need to repeat in monotone, 'Go, asshole,' the way I do when I'm driving.

Nope, I just plunked five quarters in the meter, sat back, and watched the sites outside - palm trees, losers in cars - and in - women plucking their eyebrows and one dude in the back who took off half of his clothes and changed them deftly, yet super slow and casual-like, which made me smile.

3. There is a blizzard in Ohio right now. There wasn't a blizzard in LA.

4. The guy at the Griffith Station post office in Atwater Village. He was five people in front of me and I noticed that he wore army pants and a wallet chain but don't remember his face. By the time I got to the window, he was gone but came back in from the parking lot to gave me a CD, 'This is for you.' I said thanks, surprised, and he left. Nice.

5. Ricardo, my favorite valet at my favorite hotel. I stopped by to say hi and give him a hug. I asked if his dog had fallen in the pool lately and he said no, but that dog did just have a cast taken off. He said to please say hi to my mom for him.

6. Everyone at Zulu Tattoo but especially Lantz because he made something that was alright into something great, which is fantastic since I'll be looking at it for the next 30ish years.

The whole Zulu vibe is m-e-l-l-o-w, like going to a salon where everyone just wants you to feel better when you leave than when you came in and not like some you-WISH-you-were-as-hardcore-as-me joint. During the less painful part of the tattoo, when I could converse and not just curl my toes and bear down, Lantz and I realized that he'd done work on the arms of someone I know, someone whose arms I'd checked out before.

When he was finished with my stomach, a mixture of daze and euphoria set in. We stepped outside to take a photo and I registered that my jeans were unbuttoned, unzipped, and partly pulled down for the cars on Crescent Heights that were stopping at the light. 'Hello,' I said and yanked them up. It may be Hollywood but I'm not quite as into front-flashing as some of the chicks around here.

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