Living like a local

While our place in Venice is a bit further away from the beach, we’ve discovered that we’re basically in the heart of the Venice nightlife.  Last night, we got our first glimpse into what a Friday night in Venice can be like, and it can be pretty goofy.

Our Friday night was pretty tame — Hong Kong chow mein and long-life beans from Mao’s Kitchen, half an hour in the hot tub, and a DVD screener of Up in the Air, courtesy of one of our neighbors who is “in the industry.” We were asleep by 11:30.

It was a little hot, so we left the window by our bed open as we slept. All the good Venice bars — or at least the popular ones — are within a half a mile of our house, so I was understandably woken up several times by passers-by enjoying their evening.  Around 3:30, though, I was woken up by a voice that was very, very close. Just outside the window, in the alley next to our house, I could hear a gentleman talking with a couple of girls he had picked up about the hot tub on our porch. “See it? It’s over there, in the ground. Yeah, with the cover on it.”

That was the extent of the conversation, as they stumbled their way back toward the apartment in the back half of our building.  Another hour — and most likely more alcohol — emboldened them to come back for another look. “I’ve been in it, it’s really warm!” said the upstanding young gentleman. “You know, this place isn’t even being used right now.” I could see where this was going. “They rent this place out, and it’s winter. I mean, who wants to come to Venice in the winter?” After another ten minutes of this sort of logic, he finally convinced the girls that they should absolutely climb over the wall and get in that hot tub. This is the point in which I had to make a decision: I could either nip this in the bud right now by turning on the porch lights, or let it play out a little longer and have a little fun. I obviously opted for the later.

Now, to be fair, I’m only making the assumption that these guys were drunk. I would make the initial assertion that anybody awake at 4:30 on a Saturday morning in Venice can’t be too sober. Add to that the fact that they convinced themselves that the house must be empty because “it’s winter.” Yeah. Who would want to go to southern California in the winter? Finally, there’s the state of our porch. It’s far from a mess, but it definitely gives the distinct impression that someone is staying here; One chair has January’s swimsuit draped over it, another has my sweat shirt on it, and the table has Gus’ leash sitting right there. But we’re clearly not talking about the brightest group of people that southern California has to offer.

Once this fine young gentleman convinced the ladies to at least stick their feet in the tub, he began the arduous task of trying to convince them to strip down and get in completely. This did not take long at all for the first girl; I think she had her shirt off before he was even able to finish the sentence. The second girl took was a lot more steadfast in her resolve to not take off her clothes in a strangers hot tub with a guy she just met. What a prude, right?

It was about this time that our brave protagonist decided to call some other friends and tell them to bring wine, and I decided that I had let it play out long enough.  To be honest, I was hoping that by flipping on the porch light I would be initiate a frenzy of activity as people scurried to cover themselves and get the hell out as quickly as they could. What I got, however, was the only other possibility: the “deer in the headlights” reaction. As soon as the lights snapped on, three heads snapped immediately toward the door, mouths agape and eyes as big as saucers. Nobody moved for a full ten seconds. I finally had to stick my head out the door and inform them that it was time for them to go home. The gentleman — such a class act — could not get off the porch fast enough as he left the girls to take care of themselves.

This morning I woke up and went for a really good run on the boardwalk. On my way back up to the house, I passed these two lucky ladies on their walk of shame. We made brief eye contact as I offered a nod and an acknowledgement of “ladies.” They quickly turned their eyes down to the ground and continued on their way.