I used to love Los Angeles, but now it mostly just freaks me out. When I was in college, I even wrote an op-ed for the newspaper called, “Why I’m Moving Back To California After I Graduate” in which I professed my undying love for L.A. and told New York to piss off. Then graduation came and went, and I still found myself living in New York, thinking that next month will be the month I finally move back to the west coast.
I don’t know what really happened. I could tell you that New York is a city that has you by the balls and won’t let you leave. You spend every waking moment in the city wanting to escape and when you finally do, you can’t wait to go back. You get addicted to the energy. I can’t imagine what it’s like to actually grow up here. I’d be screwed. I wouldn’t be able to live anywhere else.
But New York’s gravitational pull isn’t the whole reason why I never made it back to Los Angeles. I think the other part is because I didn’t know how to lead a real life there. Even though most of my family lives there now, I grew up an hour north of L.A. and when I actually lived in the city proper, it was only for a few months at a time. I only stayed in sublet apartments and thought of the city as a temporary stop on the way over to a more permanent destination. And even though I’ve lived there for a combined amount of time of a year and a half, I never made any new friends. Every person I hung out with were friends I knew from someplace else. With the way the city is spread out, it felt impossible to meet someone knew. Where would you do it? In traffic?
Here is a list of things I never had while living in L.A.: A job, school, a boyfriend, a driver’s license, work ethic or any new friends.
Did you notice the no license thing? Yeah, I’m scared to drive, especially after I was hit by a car, so I’m not gonna. Living in L.A. with no car is sort of like living in hell. You can’t get anywhere. The buses take forever, cabs are actually a million dollars, and your friends will hate to give you rides because nothing is close. When I would go visit L.A. after having lived in New York, I resented the fact that it would take me up to an hour to run a simple errand.
Regarding my work ethic, I have none when I’m in L.A.. I don’t think a lot of people do. Go into any restaurant at two p.m. and you’ll find it packed with people having a four-hour lunch date. You look around and just think to yourself, who are YOU fucking to be here in the middle of the afternoon instead of at work? I remember having to write over the holidays when I was visiting my family and it would take me three hours of being in quarantine to actually write one article. My creative mojo is lost in L.A.. Maybe my gluten-free burger from M Cafe ate it?
But honestly, I shouldn’t talk too much shit because deep down, I think I’m just jealous. It’s always been my not-so-secret dream to live and work in L.A. and to have it figured out like so many other people do. I’m envious of those who have seemingly built a full life for themselves there. I want to know how they did it. I want to go up to a house in Los Feliz and ask the people who live there how they managed to do it.
L.A. is just so alienating in a way that often leaves me stunned. I’m just a confused little boy who wanders from lunch to dinner with no real idea of what to do or how to be. Maybe someday a light bulb will go off in my head and I’lll run back to the west, but until that happens, I’m staying in the East. Because I know how to live here, I figured it out, I don’t need to drive, and it has better pizza. I do miss good iced tea though. And airy spacious restaurants in a mall. Fuck. I can’t wait to go back. I mean, what?