I got up from my disco nap at 12:30 A.M. and made my way to Michelle's house in Hancock Park. Women were passed out on couches, sleeping off a few of bottles of Merlot consumed back when the night was young. They groggily roused themselves, slipped into pointy, high-heeled shoes, swiped on lipstick and we all rolled out into the night together.
We joined droves of people heading east on Wilshire, all going to meet the big boulder bound for LACMA where it would be elevated into art.
It was a convivial crowd, full of hipsters on bikes, kids in pajamas, couples on dates -- stoners all. The mood was reckless and celebratory. My pal Elizabeth said, "Hello rock lovers!" to everyone she saw, to which almost everyone responded, "Rock on!" Some fool shouted, "Rock out with your rock out!" Come to think of it, maybe that fool was me. Well, it was exciting.
We came to a stop on a tiny traffic island at Wilshire and Wilcox, a block away from where the rock had also come to a stop as illegally parked cars were towed out of its way. I wondered at the deep, almost Paleolithic excitement I felt in my breast. The sight of man moving mountains calls us to moment. Whether its Egyptian or Druid, Easter Island or Inland Empire, groups of men moving epic hunks of stone is simply awe-inspiring. We all felt it, and I think I speak for the group of women I was with when I say any one of those hard-hatted, yellow-vested engineers could have gotten lucky that night.
One of those men approached us and Michelle threw herself into his embrace. It turned out to be her old pal Terry Emmert, president of Emmert Transportation, the company in charge of hauling the 340-ton boulder from the Riverside quarry to Fairfax and Wilshire. Terry usually hauls boring things, like nuclear reactors, nothing nearly as exciting as this art boulder.
Terry explained the rock was entirely wrapped in Egyptian cotton to protect it from scratches. Welcome to LA, Rock, where we have a civic thread count mandate in effect. Just then the rock came into view wrapped in gauze and practically glowing under bright lights. It looked like a trophy wife on an extreme makeover reality show. Hopefully when the bandages come off the rock will just look well-rested.
Another official vehicle pulled up in the intersection, and three people jumped out of the truck to consult importantly with one another. One of them turned out to be Deb Vankin, Girl Reporter, who had been writing and Tweeting about the journey for the LA Times. I hailed her and she gave me a weary greeting. She had been Tweeting every ten minutes for eleven straight nights, then writing it up for the print edition in the morning. "It seemed like a good idea a few months ago..." she told me, her exhausted sigh filling in the rest of the sentence. Oh, the glamour of journalism!
The rock rolled by and we all assiduously recorded it for posterity on our iphones -- videos that we will probably never watch, because let's face it, a big rock moving past on a truck is not an inherently gripping visual, unless you're a six year-old boy. It is slow and looks a lot like construction. The rock continued west on Wilshire.
The Wilton party broke up, so Elizabeth and I, seeking closure, drove over to LACMA to join the final landing festivities. We found a few hundred tired, chilly people gathered on either curb, kept awake by sheer anticipation and the sugar rush supplied by a nearby gourmet waffle truck.
Finally, at 4:30 the convoy arrived in front of the Chris Burden light sculpture, and the four trucks harnessed to the rock blew a few short simultaneous blasts of their horns to signify the moment and everyone cheered. And that was pretty much it. People went up to touch the rock, but even the Egyptian cotton turned out to be covered in shrink-wrap. It was anti-climax for the ages.