It’s a long story but somehow I ended up homeless in LA the other night at about 1 a.m. I had just finished breakfast at the Original Pantry, the legendary LA eatery that claims that it has not closed since 1924! I nearly face-planted a couple of times in my eggs. I was really tired. I was operating on about three hours of sleep and a meeting with a new friend had really put me through my paces.
So there I was. Five hundred dollars in my pocket, seventy miles from home and no place to lay me head. I had been accosted by a couple of pan-handling homeless guys on my way to the restaurant and was already $40.00 lighter for the experience. I wasn’t unhappy, just homeless. I didn’t relish spending the next few hours in my car in an open parking lot.
So here is where it got crazy. I started walking. My idea? There will be a room at the Westin Bonaventure, surely! About half an hour later I found out how wrong I was. The E3 gaming convention was in town and there was no room at the Inn. By this time lobby couches were looking enticing. However I had been given some online hope that a couple of other downtown hotels might have a room. So off I went. The denizens of the night were beginning to pull out their refrigerator boxes and arrange there sleeping bags and shopping carts.
It was a mild evening, about 69 degrees, pleasant enough for a homeless guy in shorts walking the streets of downtown LA desperate for a place to lay my head for a few hours. On I trudged. I began to fall asleep as I was walking. Quiet places on the sidewalk began to seem enticing. Two more hotel clerks, two more turn downs (I even asked to use a lobby couch, “That area is closed now, sir”) and I was back at my starting point.
“Your back again,” the security guy said as I walked to the front of the Original Pantry. “I just need a place to lay buy head for a couple of hours,” I replied. He pointed me to a nice bench, “But you don’t have a blanket.” For a minute I actually considered lying down on a bench in downtown LA with $500 cash in my pocket, just to get a couple of hours of sleep.
There was nothing to it. I had to soldier on. I got in my car, started the engine and staring through the tunnel of my sleep-deprived vision, I hit the freeway.