Joanna, Angel of Massage (or Where the FuckIs the Stupid, Ass-tarded Burbank Airport?)

Sunday night, I had three things I had to do: Get as close to done as possible putting together all the reviews for the September issue of AVN, pick up Joanna Angel from the Burbank airport, and wrangle *a* porn star for my roommate, Heidi Joy Pike, to use in a video presentation about massages she had due Monday at her massage school.

Now, it really made no difference to Heidi what porn star I got; any would do. And originally, I had recruited my great pal Kimberly Kane to do it, but here's what happened there: She wanted to do it in the afternoon, but Joanna, see, was due in to Burbank at 5:00, and I didn't want to get stuck having to desert Kimberly in order to go fetch Joanna ... or, conversely, not show up for Joanna because I was tending to Kimberly.

Only problem was, Joanna had mentioned when last I'd heard from her that she thought her plane might get delayed. In fact, it had already been delayed a few hours, having first been scheduled to arrive at 2:00, which would have caused no problems for anybody. Well, 5:00 came and went, and I had gotten no further word from Ms. Joanna, nor did her phone seem to be on, and I took this to mean that yes, her plane had gotten delayed a little further, but she was in the air, and would probably be arriving soon.

So I went about working on the AVN reviews, thinking that if I lost Kimberly for the massage video because it was heading into evening already, no biggie, I had a backup in the form of Joanna. Since Kimberly had already agreed to do it, however, and had in fact received a massage from Heidi the night before as pre-payment for her appearance in the video, once it got to be about 7, I started thinking, fuck it, this thing is gonna take a whole five minutes to shoot, and if Joanna suddenly shows up during, she can wait. And literally as I was reaching for my phone to call Kimberly, a text message came in from her asking, "When should I come over?"

"How about now?" I replied, and waited to see what she said, but no response came. I figured, hmm, guess she's just gonna come on over, then, and kept working on the reviews. Shortly thereafter, Heidi IM'd me from the next room (yeah, I got nothin') asking if I wanted to go get a burger. I said we should hold on a bit, as I thought Kimberly was possibly on her way to do the video. By about 8:30, though, there was still no Kimberly, so I picked up the phone and actually called her. And she was upset.

"I am so mad at you right now!" she exclaimed in my ear, elaborating that she didn't understand why I had waited until so late to call her, when she had made herself so available in the afternoon, and now she didn't know if she could come do it, and was going to look like a big asshole because she had already gotten a massage from Heidi and was seemingly flaking.

"Hey, don't worry about it, no big deal!" I told her, but she would hear nothing of it. I told her I would take the blame for her not showing if she so decided, and she said she would see how she felt after she ate dinner, and that was that. So I went and explained the situation to Heidi, told her not to worry, I would get Joanna to do the video, and all would be well. Then we went and got burgers.

Skip ahead to around 10:00, I'm still working on reviews, and on my IM buddy list, I suddenly see Joanna's "mobile hiptop" ID pop up, and I immediately call her. She says she has just landed, and I don't have to come get her if I don't want to, because it's so late. I tell her screw that noise, I'm coming to get her.

I hop in my car and head to Burbank. Now I've been to the Burbank airport plenty of times, and have a general idea of where it is, but it has proven slightly tricky to find in the past. And I don't know that I've ever gone there at night, which for whatever reason can distort your sense of direction (or mine, anyway). So I'm driving in the general direction I believe the Burbank airport to be, and getting somehow steered into areas I know it to definitely not be. Soon I find myself right back where I started, and begin heading again in the same direction as before, only this time I decide to stop at a gas station and ask where it is precisely.

I pull up beside this woman with a broom, and she gives me the stinkeye, like I somehow fucked up what she was doing. I back up a little and see that she is sweeping up this pile of dirt in the spot I pulled into. Whatever, I roll down the window and ask if she can direct me to the airport.

"Oh, I'm not sure, I'm not from around here," she tells me, then turns and calls to somebody around the corner of the shop. She turns back, points me in that directions and says, "He'll tell you."

I drive forward a bit, and see a dude squatting down, fiddling with some hoses or something.

"Can you tell me where the airport is?" I call to him. He gets up and responds, "Which airport?"

"The Burbank airport," I say, a little befuddled that he would ask. He points me down the street the gas station faces, Buena Vista, and tells me, oh it's right down there, take a left, follow the signs, you can't miss it.

Fair enough, I think, and head on down Buena Vista. I should note that at no point thus far have I seen any airport signs, and you'd think there'd be a few posted around the neighborhood, but no matter, I must be close.

Just then, Joanna calls me, asking where I am. I'm almost there, I tell her, and she says, "Oh, OK, then I'll stand up."

Well, somehow or other Buena Vista leads me right onto the fucking FREEWAY and I'm wondering if the dude at the gas station had no idea what he was talking about, or pointed me in the wrong direction, or I didn't understand him or what, but now I'm doing this gigantic loop-around to get back headed the right way.

A bit later, I stop at a second gas station. Joanna calls me again as I pull in. "Where are you?" she frets, and I tell her to hang on, I somehow got turned around, but I'm getting directions.

I go up to the bulletproof window with the attendant behind it, and ask him through the little sliding cash drawer opening how I get to the airport.

"Which airport?" he asks, and I seriously begin questioning to myself whether I'm actually stuck in a never-ending frustration dream, as I've long suspected, or the people of Burbank are as unclear about the location of their airport as I am, or perhaps there's a second, even smaller airport in Burbank that I'm totally unaware of.

"The Burbank airport," I specify to the guy, and he gives me directions, and I get back on with Joanna and tell her to sit tight, I think I'm on the right track now.

Minutes later, I arrive at the godforsaken Burbank airport, and inform Joanna of such. She says she's waiting at the first terminal you come to, and there's a long line of cars backed up to that terminal, so I kind of go around them and pull up to the first available spot. Then she tells me that she's actually standing before that — literally at the very first spot a person can possibly stand to be picked up. I crane my neck to see if I can locate her, but I can't, so I proceed to loop around once more and wait in the line of backed up cars to pull up to the designated spot.

And there she is.

It's now about 11:00. She's tired, I'm tired, and I still have to drive across the Valley to drop her off and then halfway back again to my place. But Heidi's video presentation is still due the next day, and still not shot. I'm dreading it, but I have no other option than to ask Joanna if she'd be willing to stop off on the way home to help me out with this thing. I do, and she agrees, happily (thank Christ).

Well, we shot the video, it actually did take no more than about five minutes, Joanna was great, and Heidi got an A+. I finished up all the AVN review assembling Monday morning, and as soon as I did, the most amazing sensation of colossal stress lifting off my body just washed through me.

The moral of this story? I continue, as I always have, to hate Sundays.