Thursday, May 13, 2010

"There's a bus that's broken down on the 405" -- hey, wait, that's OURS!

The Hollywood Bowl has a nice offer. You can take buses to the bowl on concert nights. Mrs. L. and I had tickets for the James Taylor/Carole King concert last night. And before you say anything, we were still the youngest couple there. Hopped on a 5:00 bus in Westwood for a 7:30 show. Plenty of time to get there, leisurely buy dinner, enjoy a picnic under the stars.

Things were going fine until our bus broke down on the 405 Freeway during the height of rush hour. The driver managed to get us to the side of the road. Meanwhile, the Bowl buses behind us just roared by and the passengers waved. We wondered why our driver wasn't calling anybody. She forgot her phone. Forty people offered her theirs.

Since it was 100 degrees in the bus we all got out and waited on the freeway. Turns out it's really loud and smoggy on the 405 Freeway at 6:00. I passed the time by Tweeting. One lovely follower, EduHJencareli, said he'd pick us up if he wasn't 9000 miles away.

The irony of course is this was my one night off from Dodger baseball. And as part of the pre-game show on KABC I normally do two traffic reports.

Standing by the road, all I could think was this was LOST on a bus.

First a tow truck arrived and snapped into action. The driver put little plastic caution triangles behind the bus. The California Highway Patrol was Johnny-on-the-spot, pulling up a half hour after we were stranded. This would have made such a great episode of CHiPS.

Finally after an hour a replacement bus arrived and the Oceanic 40 continued its journey in stop-and-go traffic. We didn't get to the Bowl until 7:25 and 100 yards before the entrance the bus driver stopped. Someone was using the bathroom on the bus and apparently that's not allowed. (Why is it there then?) So we had to wait until the person came out. By now the passengers were mutinous. And the driver started screaming back at them.
Ten more minutes to get in the Bowl, negotiating through a crush of people, five minutes to buy dinner and the mandatory bottle of wine ($28 bucks and it comes in a big plastic cup), and five more minutes to find our seats. But we were there at last. And happily the concert didn't start yet. James Taylor must've read my Tweet.

It was a total nightmare but the concert itself turned out to be fabulous, and as you can see, we had front row seats.

When Carole King sang "So Far Away" I thought she was going to dedicate it to us.

The bus ride home was without incident... except our turnoff was closed for construction and we had to go three miles out of our way. But thanks to that second bottle/plastic cup of wine we didn't give a shit... about that or anything.

14 comments:

l.a.guy said...

Maybe next time you should call Teri Hatcher, she lives just around the corner and I'm sure she'd be happy to pick you up. I kid...

I'm just jealous you got to see the show and I didn't. By the way if you're a James Taylor fan you should check out One Man Band. Very entertaining and much more convenient than waiting on a scolding hot freeway choking on exhaust next to a broken down bus for a couple of hours.

normadesmond said...

hope you bought a lottery ticket on your way home.

Erin D. said...

Ugh, I took a similar hellacious trip on one of the Bowl buses for Paul McCartney... it took ONE HOUR to get from the Metro Red Line bus gate to the bowl... then got to this enormous backed-up crowd of people at the gate... to find that my tickets were bogus.

Either way, I still love the Bowl and will continue to go to shows there!! I wanted tix to Taylor/King, but thought the show was NEXT month, so we would've been the youngest had I remembered. ;)

Greg said...

Now THAT is what a blog post should be!

Personal, and interesting writing about a rather inconsequential thing.

Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I rode the bus from the LA Zoo parking lot to the Bowl last year. It so happens that that was the evening a flour truck tipped over on 101 just north of the Bowl. We were able to make it just in time, as you were, but there were some buses that didn't arrive until almost 9, including one with a few musicians.
I just love LA traffic on Friday evenings!

Gary said...

...and you still weren't allowed to use the bathroom?

The Ump said...

If the concert was as much fun as the one King/Taylor gave in Seattle Sunday night, it was worth the wait. Another plus -- we readers get the benefit of reading Ken's funny version of the story.

bettyd said...

Last summer I went to see JT, Yo-Yo Ma (not that guy from your post a few days back), and Sheryl Crow at Tanglewood in the Berkshires in MA. It was a drizzly day, and we had lawn tickets. After the intermission, it just POURED, but we stayed and got soaked. The music was so fine that it took away the badness of the environment. So, like you, the good music overcame the awful environment.

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Ken...You're the only guy I know who can write about their bus breaking down, and it's STILL entertaining. You have a gift.

angel said...

You take the FREEWAY to get to the Bowl, which means you end up going through 2 passes. What's the matter with Sunset Blvd? Or Wilshire Blvd. Oh, that's right, no mass transit over on the West Side, so everyone is on the roads. Thank goodness I live in Santa Clarita. :-)

Glad you made it to the concert and enjoyed it. I LOVE the Bowl. One of the BEST things about living in LA.

Simon H. said...

You took the words right out of my mouth Ibrahim.

gih said...

I experienced that too. Waiting for other to ride again. :-)

J S Swanson said...

Ken .. sorry/yet amused to hear about your trip to The Bowl. I've got tickets for Sat & I'll be taking the shuttle to/from Chatsworth. Perhaps, before boarding,it would be wise for me to intone:: Kinehora __ puh .. puh .. puh ....

Simon H. said...

And with the previous spam post deleted before it my other post makes no sense.