Pulling Minutes Out of Thin Air or How I Made It to the Los Angeles Reading

By Jen Huszcza

I know I am not the first woman on the planet to complain about being overbooked and having a lack of time. Back when we all lived in caves, I’m sure the women were busy keeping the fires going in a time before lighter fluid or even matches.

Still, in the last few months, my life has become a caffeinated schedule. I try not to be too booked, but there are jobs to do and boats to sail (someone has to do it).

On the Sunday that the Planting the Seed LA reading was happening in downtown LA, I had to go into a job in Marina del Rey that morning.

The week before the reading, I was emailing Tiffany.

Where is my play in the order? I asked.

Fourth. She emailed back; then I promised to do my darndest to get there. The reading was scheduled to start at noon.

But theatre never starts on time in LA. 12:10. Three ten minute plays would take thirty minutes. 12:40. Please theatre gods, let one of those plays not be a two minute monologue. 12:32.

On the Sunday of the reading, I pulled out of the parking lot in Marina del Rey at 11:44. There was no traffic on Lincoln.

I might actually make it.

These thoughts whispered in my head as I settled in behind a Range Rover doing 65 on the 10 as we cruised toward downtown. It was a miracle. There was no traffic on the 10 on a sunny Los Angeles afternoon. I might actually see my short play read by actors.

There was no traffic on the 10, no traffic on the 110, no traffic on surface streets, nothing was happening at the Staples Center. I parked in a park-n-lock lot on 6th.

Then I realized.

I didn’t know where I was going.

I knew the reading was happening at LA Theatre Center on Spring. Do I walk right or left on Spring? My car’s clock said 12:10 as I turned off the car. If I go the wrong way, I’m done.

I asked the parking lot guy for directions to LA Theatre Center. He took a full minute to tell me he didn’t know. Oh LA Theatre Center, you elitist conclave you.

I was about to start running when the parking lot guy called over to a local lady who was pulling groceries out of her parked car. She didn’t know, but she asked Siri on her phone. LA Theatre Center (an extremely common phrase) baffled Siri, but the local lady and I had a nice chat about what a beautiful day it was.

As we walked down the sidewalk, I looked up and noticed a sign with LA Theatre Center and an arrow. I thanked the nice lady, cut right, and sprinted down the block. Realizing that I need more cardio in my gym workout, I huffed as I ran across the lobby and got on an elevator with two guys asking me if I believed in the Lord. I told them I was a female playwright. They said they’ve been seeing a lot of them that morning.

Off the elevator, I was no longer puffing. As I walked the last few steps, I felt myself grow taller and transform into a tall super heroic female playwright. I went into the room and immediately saw one of my favorite actresses, June Carryl, reading up onstage. Then I saw Tiffany and some other writers I knew. I was where I needed to be. I had walked in during the second play, but I had made it. I was as on time as I could hope to be.

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