Spontaneous Weekend Trips: Los Angeles, Part One

My spontaneous, solo trip to L.A. two weekends from now, Sept. 28-30 ,started with an e-mail. A friend who works for the City of West Hollywood sent out a mass invite about an event he is in charge of organizing. The Algonquin West Hollywood Literary Award Soiree is the first ever. “Great!” I thought, “looks interesting.” Then, when I saw Mark Salzman is the author who will receive the award, I thought. “Damn, I’d like to go.” He is one of my all time favorite writers–one whose book, The Laughing Sutra, I have taught and someone who has a humorous, interested eye on the world.

Next thought was, hmmm, I wonder how much the flights cost? After a visit to Travelocity, the wheels started to turn. Can you believe this? A round-trip ticket on Delta to L.A. from Columbus is $218.80, taxes included. Seriously. I was astounded. Skybus is now at $285 and that flight is to Burbank. After heading to Delta’s Web site, I saw a detail I also couldn’t believe. The ticket is fully refundable if it’s canceled within 24 hours of the flight. What?!!!

Even though the price was right, what about timing? The timing couldn’t be more perfect. It leaves in the evening on Friday, well after a conference I’m going to–and after the kids and husband get home. The flight back is a red eye that leaves L.A. at night. It will get me back to Columbus on at 6:30 AM or thereabouts, plenty of time to make it to my Monday commitments. This also gives me all day Sunday in L.A.

What about getting from the airport and where to stay? A good friend of mine who lives in Santa Monica was at a Dodger’s baseball game when I called him. “Sure, I’ll come get you and you can stay with me,” he said. That problem solved.

From the time I got the email to the time I got my ticket was about an hour. When I sat down to read my e-mails I had no idea that this trip to L.A. was in my future. Some details are still being worked out–but man, am I glad I didn’t try to figure out all the angles before I said yes. The West Hollywood event is open to the public. Anyone can get a ticket. Go the event Web site for details.

Still feeling skeptical though, I called Delta and talked to a person–a real person, to find out if the refundable ticket information is correct and to find out how often that flight to Columbus gets canceled or is late. Either she’s lying through her teeth, or she’s honest. She said she’d check.