The Quarter Life Crisis: Pt 5
Los Angeles gets more flack than anything else in the Universe, even Facebook re-designs, or yellow Starbursts. People hate it. It’s monstrously sprawling. It’s a dirty city made of concrete and driving.
Despite all the hate, Los Angeles is also amazing. The “Industry Millennials”, that’s “Film Industry” for you normals, are doing all kinds of amazing stuff there.
Los Angeles, henceforth referred to as LA, The Big Sandy, DC For Attractive People, or Los Santos, is a special place. It has no soul, and it will take yours if you let it. It’s a distracting jumble of ugly neighborhoods. It’s a place to lose track of your dreams, and then find them again, big time.
I moved to LA straight out of college with the hopes of making it as a screenwriter. What I didn’t know is that it is impossible, and that only the same six immortals that keep recycling themselves over and over comprise Hollywood’s population of screenwriters. It’s true, look it up.
Instead, I got a job at a giant to-remain-unnamed company that does filmy type thing. It was a tedious job that had absolutely nothing to do with my desired career path. Trying to break into entertainment is hard in LA because 75% of the jobs are at least tangentially related to entertainment, but only 5% of those are actually “made it” kind of jobs. As I sat at my mundane desk, I was ceaselessly reminded that there was a whole world that I was not ‘making it’ in.
That took two years from my life. It seems to be the rule, and not the exception, that when you move to LA with a plan, that plan gets derailed almost immediately and surreptitiously. Only after two years, do you realize that you’re writing the Interpol messages which play ahead of instructional woodworking videos.
“What, and leave Show Business??”
However like any great hero’s journey, I moved back in with my parents for eight months. Of course, when the dry air and 5$ coffees of LA beckoned me once more, I returned anew. That’s when I discovered how friggin’ great she is. LA has everything. The comedy here is amazing. Replace ‘comedy’ with almost any word and that sentence still stands in LA. Music. Art. Food. What else do people care about?
I didn’t really understand that the comedy here was so good, until I sought the shit out of it. All my favorite people do things every night here, in cool weird little spaces like Nerdmelt and Largo and UCB and iO. So I go, a lot, and still not enough.
That’s the thing about LA. It will not show you her boobs on the first date. You have to buy it a lot of dinner, and tell it all of your darkest secrets, and say I love you back, and then move away for eight months and come back determined to make it work in order to get a peek.
Here’s the ‘common’ advice on LA: when you first move there, and who are we kidding, most people in LA at some point first moved to LA, one should expect lots of parking tickets, a lot of lonely “Netflix Nights,” to be tortured daily by your weird job, or complete lack of a job, and expect to hate your neighborhood.
After all that, then you need to understand that the great thing about LA is that she forces you to figure her out. You need to search desperately for a reason to like her. You need to find your neighborhood. Seriously, just live here for two years, discover your favorite bar and your favorite coffee shop, hope they’re in the same general area, and move there. Otherwise, you will spend two years questioning why the hell you chose to live in the Flower Rotting District.
You have to learn to conquer LA. You need to figure out how to bike everywhere, or move to one of the few neighborhoods that are amazingly walkable, or move to Santa Monica if you want to live inside of a mall (Booooooo! Hissssss! West side suuuuuuucks!).
“But Micah,” you may say, “How is this different from New York?”
It’s different because LA has sun, and the Pacific Ocean, not the dumb Atlantic one. New York is like the guy that wears a parrot everywhere. We get it, you’re the parrot guy, shut-up!
It isn’t an identity if you need to shout it out to the world all the time. That’s called insecurity, Parrot Guy (ahem, New York).
Los Angeles has such an identity issue, that you can make the city whatever you want it to be. Sure, it’s occasionally depressing that in one 4-block radius, you can see a row of beautiful Victorian houses, a giant motel-style affordable housing apartment complex built in the 1970s, an abandoned chicken restaurant, a shopping cart full of used car parts, a one-unit lot crammed with a brand new 12-unit Modern Industrial apartment building, a Mexican dive bar, and the band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Ultimately, LA is a place where you can really find your scene.
And LA doesn’t have a parrot. She has a $6 million Craftsman home next to an empty lot filled with broken skateboards. Just don’t park there between 9am-8am Tuesdays, or when school’s out, or without a permit any other time except on Sundays, because you will get a ticket.