When I arrived in Santa Monica in June of 2019 with my grandfather, I did not expect to be hitting him up for another road trip just over a year later. But, as I said, COVID-19 has really changed people’s lives, and the reflection it allowed me ended up changing mine.
Pop Pop arrived at my Sherman Oaks apartment at around 1:30 in the afternoon on Monday, Sept. 21 after a one stop flight from Newark to Burbank airport. I was working because it was the day after the Emmys, which is extremely important in the entertainment world, and a day I could not take off unless someone in my family, or I, were dying. I greeted Pop Pop with a giant hug — yes this was during the pandemic, but we were about to spend a week in the car together and I had been cooped up in my apartment all week getting ready for the big move. It was so nice to be able to hug him again. Although I had seen him in NJ, I had not hugged him since he and my grandma visited me in LA in December of 2019.
I did have one task for Pop Pop while he waited for me to get off work: to secure the life saver of a roof bag he had sent to my apartment. I had worked late the previous night, and then packed until about 3 in the morning, so there was no way I was going to sit there and struggle with a roof bag in the middle of the night.
Luckily I worked an earlier shift because of the Emmys and got off at 3:30 p.m., so we were able to make some driving progress the night he flew into LA. Once I signed off of work, I packed up the few miscellaneous bags I had left, including our carry-ons for the week. When I tell you my car was packed, I mean we could not possible shove any more into it. We could not see out the back window, but I was just lucky I was able to fit as much as I could. I had items shoved under the front seats, I had kitchen items put in my center storage consul, I had my new shell fossil in a cup holder in my back seat. I used every inch of my humble Ford Focus.
I had Pop Pop take a photo of my super helpful roommate and I, we said our goodbyes, and just like that, my days in Los Angeles were numbered. I honestly thought I would cry, but I think I got all that out during the week. Plus, I was too tired to worry about my feelings after the long night I had.
Pop Pop and I drove to Las Vegas that night and only stopped to grab Chipotle for dinner, for gas and to switch off on driving. I was definitely nervous to be staying at a Vegas resort (M Resort Spa & Casino) during the coronavirus pandemic, and even more nervous to leave my roof bag on the roof. We ultimately removed my roof bag and shoved its contents in the front seat for the night for security purpose. We wheeled our small suitcases up to our super modern room and called it a night.
As I fell asleep, I could not stop thinking about how crazy the situation was. Here I was in Vegas with my grandfather who just landed in California a few hours prior to take me back home. Lucky is an understatement.
Next up: A day full of driving.