Thursday, November 12, 2009
I lived in Los Angeles for eight years, after college. Those were significant years, I realize now: being on my own for the first time, and setting up my own life, and taking care of myself, in a place so utterly different from where I’d lived till then (New England, for god’s sake), and which I felt I made my own.
Of course, during those years, I itched to get back east, to live in New York, to be in a quote-unquote real city, to be around people who were quick and on a mission, who hustled.
Fast-forward a decade or so. I’ve been in New York (and environs) for a good long time now, and it just doesn’t feel quite right, somehow. I mean, I love it and all, but you know, I hate it.
It’s a completely schizophrenic relationship, with dramatic, turn-on-a-dime emotions. For instance, I’ll be walking down the street, think, "I'd like a pack of gum," and presto: a deli. There’s always a deli! I love that! Yay, New York!
And then my pack of gum and I will trudge down into the subway and wait and wait and wait for the train, with no announcements to let us know when/if the train will arrive, and when it does arrive, the wheels scrape along the rails like the world’s fiercest nails-on-a-chalkboard, and the train is so stuffed that it takes an eon for a few bedraggled souls to squirm their way out, and somehow the space they took up is absorbed by the remaining riders, so there’s no room for us. The doors close on a packed mass of people, quashing everyone so tightly together that if you could remove the roof of the train, you could pull out a solid loaf of humanness. The train leaves, my gum and I are left behind on the platform, and the whole farce plays over again.
Boo, New York. Boo.
I’m in Los Angeles now for a week — for the first time in years — and so far, it feels frickin’ great. I’ve had piles of delicious salads for lunch, and an incredible wine-soaked dinner at Pizzeria Mozza (so now LA has amazing pizza — another check in the plus column). I've settled into Thom's adorable cottage, which is right in the middle of the city and yet is so quiet (except for the crickets), and is surrounded by a lovely garden that makes me feel as if I'm a million miles from civilization.
I've laughed for hours at the most ridiculous things with the boys (wow, I really needed a few sessions of helpless laughing, after the week I’ve had), and last night had fantastic tacos at Loteria after cocktails in Thom's swank digs, and am now blogging away in a cafe on Melrose (that's another plus: there are available seats in the cafes, so I can settle in for a couple hours of Earl Grey and free wifi; however, a big minus is the parade of bozos in track pants and skate shoes, and bimbos in leggings and boots, all endlessly braying into their phones).
There might not be a deli on every corner (or a theater district, or City Ballet), but CVS sells Dom Perignon*, and I’ll be hitting Hama Sushi tomorrow, and getting pumpkin gelato in Silverlake, and there’s an entire store of Heath pottery just a few blocks from Thom's house, along with a shop that sells dead-stock vintage shoes (hold me back!), and my perfume source, which I've ordered from for a few years and now will finally visit in person.
I know, I know: it’s vacation, of course it’s fun, of course I’m relaxed and laughing and so forth. On the other hand: it's fun! Why question it. And right now, fun is a priority. I want to be with fun people, drinking Champagne from CVS and laughing loud enough to piss off the people at the next table, and feeling like we can’t talk fast enough, there’s so much to say. That’s a life I could embrace.
At the very least, I need to be here more than one week every couple of years.
*Alex and I in CVS, scanning the aisles: “Hair color, indigestion, external pain…” “External pain? What about existential pain?” “Look: external pain, existential pain,... Champagne!”