Los Angeles, tar pits, and old friends.

Posted on
Jan 6, 2010

A long, long time ago, when god was a boy, I went to school with a girl named Katie Cohen. We made interesting style choices, in line with the fashion of the mid-90s. Here is evidence of that:

Were the ones front and center.

We're the ones front and center.

I would apologize for putting this up, but Katie put them on Facebook first.

I believe I am wearing a Cheshire Cat soccer shirt, as was the style at the time.


And while I feel I should apologize to Katie for putting these photos up, she uploaded them to Facebook first. Besides, all’s fair in love and blogging.

The point is, I’ve known Katie for a long, long while. I moved from Florida to Seattle at the start of high school, and a few years later she moved to California. And while we more or less lost touch, I knew where she was. It’s like when you can’t find your keys, put you know they’re in your purse. Or you’ve lost your child, but they’ve got to be somewhere in the state of Washington. That’s how it was with Katie. I knew that if I really needed to find her, I could.

Besides, she’s good about not leaving me be. So when she found out I was going to be in San Diego over the holiday, she politely demanded that we hang out. And we did.

Somewhere, there’s a poignant blog post about how things change over time, even with good friends. That you can’t simply pick up where you left off. That you’ve both changed so much from who you were, that it’s impossible for you to be friends again. You’ll have fond memories of a childhood spent together, but that’s it.

This is not that post.

Because we did pick up exactly where we left off. And hanging out with Katie was just as awesome as it was all those years ago. Even if we were just goofing off on a slide in some random park, or, in this case, hanging out at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.

We, thankfully, also started dressing better.

Note that we're in the exact same position as we are in that first photo.

A few interesting tidbits about our visit to the pits:

  1. “La Brea” is Spanish for “the tar”. Which takes the loaves from the eponymous bakery down a notch, if you ask me.
  2. Tar smells like ass.
  3. Katie takes nearly as many photos as I do of totally random stuff. It’s awesome.
  4. It was made infinitely more fun by the company I was fortunate enough to keep, including a ready-and-willing model in the form of my husband:
Rand love Sloth.

Rand love Sloth.

Cousins, identical cousins!

Cousins, identical cousins!

Back off, ladies. Hes mine.

Back off, ladies. He's mine.

Katie noted that for a science geek like herself, the tar pits are pretty neat. But honestly, I don’t know if I’d have bothered going unless I was either an 11-year-old science enthusiast, or in the company of someone I was friends with when I was an 11-year-old science enthusiast. Still, admission is fairly inexpensive, and the museum and exhibits are interesting, if a little strange, being that they’re in the middle of Los Angeles.

Deciding that scene was too grim, Katie and I invented an alternate story wherein the dying mammoth was an asshole, and the baby was mocking him in his moment of death.

Deciding that scene was too grim, Katie and I invented an alternate story wherein the dying mammoth was an asshole, and the baby was mocking him in his moment of death.

And up from the ground came a-bubbling crude ...

And up from the ground came a-bubbling crude ...


Inside the museum, you can see some of the fossils they’ve escavated from the tar pits, including some that are partially complete.

Mmm ... steak.

Mmm ... steak.

Mammoth (assembly required).

Mammoth (assembly required).

Just around the corner from the La Brea Tar Pits is the LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which I highly recommend. As a bonus, we found out that the museum was open late on the Monday we were there, and free after 5pm. Since neither I nor Katie can turn away free admission to anything, much less a museum, we wandered around aimlessly, got caught up middle school gossip, and snacked until 5pm rolled around.

In other words, it was just like old times.

The museum is fantastic, though it is strange that everyone who works there wants to check your ticket. Repeatedly. On each floor. As though you snuck in … when admission is FREE. I was wondering what would happen if we said we didn’t have our tickets, but I have a sneaking suspicion they’d send us to the front entrance again.

Throughout the museum, I had to make sure Katie didn’t touch any of the exhibits, because she is, in her words, “a very tactile museum-goer”. Fortunately, some of the installations were hands on:

BUT THIS ONE WASNT! Just kidding. It totally was.

BUT THIS ONE WASN'T! Just kidding. It totally was.

This sort of sanctioned touching (insert joke here) wasn’t enough for Katie, though. “Admit it,” she said, as we stood in front of a mixed-media metal and glass installation, “you totally want to touch it.”

Well, of COURSE I did. BUT I DIDN’T. Because that would be wrong, kids. So very, very wrong. Never succumb to peer pressure.

And you know what else is wrong? Taking photos in museums. But I realized that between Katie and Rand (who feel that if the flash is off, it’s okay to click-away) I was not going to win that battle. Fortunately, they have some random installations outside which you can not only photograph to your heart’s content, but you can play on, as well.

This is why you have brown-outs, morons.

This is why you have brown-outs, morons.

Have I mentioned how much I love my husband? /sappy

Have I mentioned how much I love my husband? </sappy>

But the best part? When I was reviewing my photos, I found this:

The dork in your heart never goes away.

The dork in your heart never goes away.

The best part is, this photo wasn’t planned. At the exact same moment in a series of photos, Katie and I both decided to geek out in the exact same way.

And I just in case you’re thinking that this sort lasting friendship bullshit is a fluke (and if it hadn’t happened to me, I’d have thought so as well) … well, take a gander at the first photo in this post. And then look closely at this one …

So while my taste in clothes wasn’t always stellar, I maintain my taste in friends remains consistently awesome.

Leave a Comment

  • In which I totally miss the point of your post:

    Wait, so it’s The Tar Tar Pits? Hmm. I guess if baseball can have The The Angels Angels of Anaheim, The Tar Tar Pits gets a pass.

    I haven’t been to the Tar Pits since before you were born (fuck, how old am I?), but it’s nice to see that it hasn’t changed much since the last millennium. Do they still have the big metal rods stuck in tar that you have to try to pull out? I loved that part.

    Calling attention to the Cheshire Cat shirt, however, doesn not excuse you from explaining your hair in that same photo.

    • Geraldine

      Actually, it’s “The ‘The Tar’ Tar Pits”.

      Also, having seen photos of your hair in the 80s, I’d just pipe down there, Philip. But in my case, my hair was crazy long, and in that first photo, is being blow upward. I didn’t actually have insane winged hair. That was before my time, thankfully.

  • “This is why you have brown-outs, morons.” The Everywhereist wins the internet, hands down.

  • What Noemi said. But what kind of upward blowing wind would give hair such lift? An aquanet simoom, perhaps?

  • “Mammoth (assembly required).” Bahahaha.

    I don’t know how you did it, but you took an insanely dull (IMO) attraction and make it super wicked cool. Yay!

  • Giselle

    I wholeheartedly approve of this post and now miss you more than ever. *sniff*

    • Geraldine

      Giselle – That was my intention. Mwah ha ha ha. (Also, miss you too! :))

  • @Candice – that is my wife’s prevailing super power: to take the ordinary (or sub-ordinary) experiences in life and make them amazing.

  • Jen

    “Rand love Sloth”

    Best line ever.

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