Discovering Yourself…with Good Wine and Food
Tomorrow is my first day at my new gig with the Los Angeles Zoo. It also marks one week that I’ve been in Los Angeles. This week has been overloaded with exciting times, stressful times and moments of self-discovery along with self-doubt. One experience I’ve had this week perfectly symbolizes my full transition to independence in a new state and new life.
On Thursday, I had a stressful day of cleaning, unpacking and sorting. Along with many trips to and from the store to stock up on odds and ends that I didn’t pack, I had the frustration of losing my parking space time and time again. It had become a game by this point: when will Carl find a parking spot? I was feeling tired and defeated from the day. I was craving comfort food and wanted to go somewhere familiar that could offer me something nostalgic and put some meat on my bones.
I absolutely love Jerry’s Famous Deli in Marina Del Rey; it’s been a pit stop and hangout for me and my family for years. I was craving their corned beef sandwich. I drove for 90 minutes (I say that loosely. I sat in traffic on the 405 for 90 minutes. I knew the payoff would be worth the wait.)
I drive up to Jerry’s, and the restaurant is dark. I’ve driven all this way to realize that the restaurant is closed for renovations. I was, again, feeling a sense of let-down. I turn on Yelp, and pick the first restaurant near me to eat. I’m starving by this point and want something quick and easy. I should also note that I’m in basketball shorts and a T-shirt since I had spent the day cleaning and wasn’t expecting a fancy night out on the town. The location I chose was called 26 Beach; it was just up the street. Yelp described it as a beachy burger joint. Perfect.
I park my car, walk up to the restaurant door with an odd feeling. I open the front door and realize everyone is dressed to the nines. The wait staff was also formally dressed. I walked up and told the hostess I needed a table for one and wanted a large glass of cabernet sauvignon.
Embarrassed by my appearance, I cower in the corner of the restaurant and sip on my wine. It was on my second sip, I find this sense of empowerment. This empowerment was larger than this single moment of wardrobe faux pas. I’m on my own. I found an experience on my own. I’m okay. I am surviving day to day and will be okay. I sip my wine again and order the organic burger (because LA). I have to comment that 26 Beach’s menu is AMAZING and has a wide variety of burgers and entrees to choose from.
In the end, I had a wonderful experience. Enjoyed two great glasses of wine, a tender juicy burger and made friends with this couple next to me on their first date. They were both from France! I obviously had no problem imposing myself on their evening by this point.
Let the adventure begin. I’m excited for what’s coming my way. In the wise words of singing phenomenon Natasha Bedingfield, “live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.”