by Alex Kugelman
It is nearly impossible to fly directly from Albany to Los Angeles, so I made a pit stop in Chicago and then Dallas. In one day I saw more of America then I had in seventeen years. California was Narnia to me; it might as well have been Australia, because it felt impossibly far from home.
“Complimentary drinks!” I thought as Fawn, my redheaded flight attendant, served me a free ginger ale. Your first time on an airplane is always an odd experience. A feeling of elitism crept up in the back of my head and for once I felt entitled. I didn’t feel like a child, taking instructions from their parents, for the first time I felt like an adult interacting with other adults in an adult world. People called me “mister” and didn’t ask what grade I was going into.
The Albany international Airport seemed like a bus station compared to LAX. Thousands of pretty people strolled to their sweethearts in convertibles as I tried to hail a cab. “1264 Coldwater Canyon Road, please,” was all it took.
At first glance Los Angeles does not seem like a city, but a big town. No one was rushing anywhere, it seemed like everyone was on a permanent lunch break. When Tanuj finally arrived at Coldwater Canyon Road we were greeted by a security guard at an iron cast gate. He didn’t say anything, he waited for us to speak.
“Um, hi, I’m here to stay with my cousins.” The security guard stared blankly at me as if what I said wasn’t even English.
“…Who are your cousins?” The security guard, Richard, finally retorted after what seemed like ten minutes.
“Um, the Geigers, they live on 1264 Coldwater-”
“Are you Jeremy?”
“Ye-” Richard hit a button and the iron cast gate opened to an oasis of palaces. Ultra modern mansions that looked more like spaceships than houses, piled on top of each other. My jaw dropped and my eyes bulged out of my head like one of those old cartoons. After passing dozens of the nicest homes in America Tanuj finally pulled up to 1264 Coldwater Canyon Road. A beautiful metallic structure with triangle shaped windows and an oak deck, it was immense. I thanked Tanuj and gave him a seven-dollar tip because I made him drive so far away from the airport.
The house intimidated me, not to mention the two sports cars in the driveway that I couldn’t even identify. Even the doorbell was made of platinum steel and wasn’t even a doorbell at all, it was a camera. I pushed the doorbell/record button and was instantly greeted by a Hispanic woman in her 50s. She looked nothing like Leslie Geiger, from what I remember and saw in magazines, but the woman took my bags anyway and invited me in the house. “Eli es in the back” was the first thing she said to me. Who was Eli? And where’s the back?
After roaming through my cousin’s modern castle, unnoticed, for 25 minutes I finally found my way to the backyard, which wasn’t really a backyard at all but a pool deck at the nicest resort you have ever been to. An infinity pool, which I initially thought was structurally unsound, was filled with beautiful, floating bodies. Blondes in bikinis and big sunglasses sipping drinks and listened to loud rap music. I stood before the gathering of gorgeous twenty somethings and sweated in my cords and flannel for ten minutes before anyone even noticed me. A lean, dark guy with an Afro and aviator sunglasses finally approached me and gave me a high five. “Derek right?”
The dark guy looked back to the party and proudly announced that the blow was here, to which the party goers responded with a faint woo.
“…No I’m Jeremy, do you like… live here or know someone who does?”
The dark dude laughed and put his hand on my shoulder. “No dude, I don’t live here. That guy does though.” The dude pointed to another twenty something asleep on a raft in the pool with a blonde sleeping on each of his sides. “That’s Eli.” I nodded and tried to grasp the entire situation. “Are you the pot guy?”
I took a seat on one of the long lounges facing the pool and sat and watched the water as the houseguests began to leave. After about two hours of sitting in solitude, I was the only house guest left. It was now dark and Eli was still asleep on his raft with his two friends at his sides. I got up to go inside and heard a large splash and then two girlish screams. I looked back and Eli was now awake in the water with his two friends, splashing and laughing. The trio got out of the pool and Eli wrapped all three of them in one big towel and whispered something into one of the blonde girls’ ears that made her burst into laughter. Eli glanced my way for a second and continued on inside the house with his two buddies, leaving me outside by the now lit up pool, alone.
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