During my last two semesters at grad school a fellow student and I became really cool friends through our involvement in a guest speaker series that a group of us were a part of organizing. My friend Lucia Zepeda (Lucy) and I jumped head first into an effort to have a handful of creative writers visit out our campus and speak, in order to help the school’s creative writing program grow. We were sizeable group of students eager to see what could be accomplished and we all volunteered to take on different tasks. One of the responsibilities that my friend Lucy and I took on was buying flowers to decorate the days that the speakers would visit.
Since we were both on a tight budget and had work everyday from 8 a.m. until only God knew what time, we decided to wake up early and buy what we needed in Downtown L.A.’s Flower District. We figured we had a better chance of eventually sleeping-in than coming across extra spending money. On our first mission I dragged myself out of bed on a Thursday at 5 a.m. and drove to Lucy’s house, which is sandwiched between Culver City and Santa Monica, to pick her up and head to L.A. While we weren’t too happy to be up so early, conversation soon took off and we quickly ignored how tired we both felt.
We drove through skid row, which is incredibly depressing in general but feels worse when it’s still dark out, and finally found parking near the flower warehouses. We walked around, trying to figure out what to buy and how we would arrange the flowers. So many vendors making you different offers kind of makes your head spin that early in the morning but we survived. If memory serves me right, we walked away with red roses and some white filler to make them more decorative.
On our drive home, we stopped for coffee and donuts, even though she is more of a tea drinker. The stop ended up being a great idea since we hit morning rush hour and sat in traffic for an hour and some change. However, much like on our way to L.A., we chattered away until the mission was partially completed. We still had to get the flowers to school that evening for the speaking event itself. When it was all said and done, we were both standing in the parking lot at school at around 10:30 p.m. with more of a desire to sleep than drive home.
As the semester carried on, our morning outings became less of a chore and more something we looked forward to every couple of weeks. It became our thing; it was a time we used to share and to complain and to plan around whatever randomness was going on in our chaotic studentworker lives. Even though I wasn’t focused on graduating with an emphasis in creative writing, I enjoyed helping and going on those early-bird missions with Lucy.
Eventually the guest speaker series would end but Lucy and I would on occasion make the morning trek for flowers and great conversation at the most random time of the day. It’s been a while since I have connected with my friend Lucy, mainly because our scheduled rarely coincide. Driving to work today I saw a man selling flowers on a street corner and it reminded me of my friend. That’s a sign that it’s time I give her call and catch up.