Archive for the ‘L.A.’ Category

Hello, Internet!

December 15, 2014

I’ve missed you. :)

Since July, I’ve been performing improv and sketch comedy aboard two cruise ships with The Second City. I’ve had virtually no internet. Either I paid (a lot) for it on the ships, or I had short bursts of it at coffee shops in ports. But it made blogging a nearly impossible task. Instead, I tried to be present and enjoy the wild adventure that was my life, moment by moment.

I went to Alaska and helicoptered onto a 4,000-year-old glacier. I watched salmon swimming upstream, dolphins playing in the ship’s wake, and bald eagles fighting. I saw whales at breakfast, stood in the rain and laughed with friends as we drove into a lightning storm, and shivered as I watched the Aurora Borealis spread green light across the sky. I fed monkeys and touched a crocodile in Costa Rica, swam through a cave to a beach created by bombs in Cabo, and felt fabulous in South Beach, Miami. And I got to perform with an incredibly talented cast and make thousands of people laugh every week.

Oh. And I also played Dungeons and Dragons. :D

Now that I’m back in LA, I’m so ready to create unforgettable memories here at home. And I’m excited about having the opportunity to blog again on a regular basis.

And to share with you things like this:

PizzaPentagram

And this.

Uranus

Clitoris

May 6, 2013

Last night I met a friend and some of her friends who were in town for the premier of a film they were both in* for dinner at the Chateaux Marmont,** and it was one of those times when you meet a couple and instantly love them. I have a feeling these are people that everyone loves, so I shouldn’t feel all that special, I certainly don’t have a corner on that market — but they were warm and kind and beautiful and fashionable in a timeless and unpretentious way, and they really charmed the pants off me. (Not literally. It was not that kind of dinner.)

They were Australian, and now that I’m thinking of it, I have never met an Aussie I didn’t like, either in Australia or anywhere else. And most of them I have liked immensely. What really pushed me over the edge was when we were talking about words that are pronounced differently from English-speaking country to English-speaking country, which I think is always a fun game to play, and she said, “clitoris,” and it was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.

“Clitoris” is a word I’ve never felt comfortable saying, along with most words involving private anatomical parts, but the way she said it made me feel like I wanted to say it all the time. With the emphasis on the first syllable; the lightest, most delicate “l” sound; and a brittle, crispy “t.” Clitoris.

“That would make a beautiful girl’s name,” I said. “Clitoris Jane.”

After that discussion, another friend I didn’t know, an American***, joined our group, and when my conversation with him lulled for a moment, I found myself saying quietly, “Clitoris.”

Once, many eons ago, a man I loved rejected me for an Australian woman. At the time, I couldn’t understand. But now, knowing how lovely she must sound saying that word, I think I get it.

*Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby, OMG I CANNOT WAIT
** This sentence makes my life sound way more fabulous than it is.
*** A famous person, if you must know. Maybe my life IS fabulous. Who’s to say?

Would You Like Some Mustard With Your Shower?

May 3, 2012

A funny thing about my apartment is that, for some reason, whatever my downstairs neighbor is cooking, I smell in my bathroom. For the first year that I lived here, I could never figure out why my bathroom smelled like mustard! I’d take out the trash, pour baking soda and vinegar down the sink drain (an earth-friendly and bubbly way to clean out your drains, btw), and scratch my head in wonderment.

Then, we got a new neighbor. And the mustard smell immediately stopped, to be replaced by spaghetti. That was the night I figured it out. “Why does my bathroom smell like spaghetti? Wait, I smelled spaghetti when I walked by downstairs. OHHHHHHH.”

Yes, this new neighbor had a whole different recipe book of kitchen smells. And for the most part, it was an improvement, not to mention an adventure. I’d awake and stumble into the bathroom, greeted by the aromas of coffee and oranges. While I showered, I’d smell bacon frying. As I moisturized, I’d be enveloped with wafts of pancakes and maple syrup. What would my bathroom smell like when I returned home that night, I’d wonder. Croques monsiuer? Chicken Cordon-bleu? Something non-French that I knew how to spell?

Well, this morning I went to take a shower as usual, and was assaulted by an olfactory affront. My bathroom smells right now, unmistakably, of dog food. I had a dog as a child, and I know what a can of Alpo smells like, and that’s what they’re cooking downstairs. I know they don’t have a dog, either.

The moral of this tale, really, is that I know way too much about my neighbor downstairs. If I smell enough bacon in the morning, I’ll slip a bottle of Tums under his welcome mat on my way home from work. No I don’t, that would be crazy.

BUMMED 2.0

June 20, 2011

OK, I was sitting here at the dining room table working, glanced outside, and saw the following:

bum's bum

AWESOME!

Then he got up and picked up some trash in his area. “Well, at least he’s cleaning up,” I thought. “That’s something.”

No. he threw the trash on the street. Isn’t it cool how he doesn’t want trash, his own trash, in his little area, but he’ll put it out for the rest of us to enjoy?

Street, trash can -- so hard to tell those pesky things apart.

I’ve had enough. What do I do???

Do I shout out the window at him? Leave him a note of warning? Do I call someone? Who do I call? Opinions, please. I’m done getting bummed.

BUMMED

June 19, 2011

If you know me at all, you know that I have great care and sympathy for homeless people, and that the homeless problem in LA makes me very upset. I know that many of these people are mentally ill and are literally dropped off on skid row in mental hospital vans, left to fend for themselves in a world in which they can’t possibly do that. I also feel for the ones who, for whatever reason, have become so heavily addicted to drugs that they can’t see any way out. I have a homeless friend whom I pass when I walk to and from the metro, and sometimes I bring him treats from the farmer’s market. I know he’s addicted to something, and whatever it is, it ain’t pretty — but he’s nice, and I like him. (Plus, his eyes look in two different directions, which is kind of endearing.)

But… then there’s the third kind. These are the ones who, for one reason or the other, choose to be homeless. Maybe they think the world owes them something. Maybe they fancy themselves as being off the grid, not controlled by anyone else. Or maybe they are just plain lazy. I know it’s super un-PC to say that, and I truly believe that the majority of the homeless population, especially in LA, falls into the first two categories. But this third category does exist. I used to pay them no mind, but starting recently, they’ve really started to grind my gears.

I will pinpoint for you the exact moment when this shift in my perspective occurred.

The shift occurred a few months ago when I walked over to the living room window and saw a 60-something-year-old bum get up from where he was sitting on the bench in front of the church across the street, walk to the edge of the sidewalk, pull out his floppy little willy, and pee right into the street. Right into the street, on my nice, residential street. Then he SHOOK OFF his disgusting, floppy weiner, tucked it in, and sauntered back to the bench like he hadn’t just PEED INTO THE STREET IN BROAD, BRIGHT, SUNNY DAYLIGHT. And people, that is a sight that I can never un-see.

That was the first day I saw him, and he was with a woman, and they had backpacks, and they sat on that bench in front of the church and smoked cigarettes. So I guess he’d just gotten into town from somewhere, and decided that this was his new home? Indeed, he has since taken up residence right next to the church, on a small piece of sidewalk in front of a side door to the next building, which I assume isn’t used. And he’s got all the setup. It’s like he’s taking a camping trip. Tarp, blankets, clothes, all the goods. The other day I came home and he had all his clothes laid out all over all the bushes nearby. He’s reeeeeallly getting comfortable. And oh yeah, that whole side of the street is awash with the delicous, acrid smell of fresh urine mixed with dry, stale urine. Mmmm.

And tonight, folks… tonight he reeeeally upped the ante. Yes. The ante was upped. I came home and noticed that the “money spot” was free… that is, the best parking spot near my apartment. It’s not under any trees or power lines, and there aren’t any spaces in front or behind it, and when I leave for work in the morning, I’m already facing the right direction, so I just hop in and go. When I get that spot, it is a victory. It’s right across the street.

Right in front of the homeless man’s new “home.”

SON of a bitch.

So I moved. I moved my EFFING car, because you know why? Because when I saw him peeing into the street, he stood right next to someone’s car, so close that I would be surprised if some pee didn’t splatter on that poor, unsuspecting, tax-paying citizen’s automobile. There are quite a few substances I don’t want on my car. And can you guess what’s on the short list of those substances? Correct. BUM URINE.

So I parked in our garage behind my roommate Mary, but now I realize that she’s probably leaving early in the morning and I’ll be blocking her in, so I have to go move it again right now, in the black of night (OK, 11:15, whatever) to a different spot on the street. A spot under both a tree and a power line. So that the bum will not pee on my car.

I hate to say what I’m about to say, for so many reasons.

But seriously.

Get a job.

The Righteous, the Wicked, and the Little Black Cat

June 19, 2011

Y’all some serious drama just went down at the church across the street. It’s like West Side Story, except instead of Sharks vs. Jets, it’s Episcopal priests vs. street preachers. OK, one street preacher. But he was being loud enough for like 20 people. Here’s how it unfolded…

I was washing my face, and suddenly I heard the sounds of shouting and condemnation through the open windows, and then some murmuring and a woman’s voice say, “No, you are NOT controlling yourself.” And I was inclined to agree with her, as the man continued to rant and rave. I went out to the living room where I could get an unobstructed view, and there was a woman and a priest facing off with a man with a big, yellow sign that said, “The Wicked Shall (Something, I forget now).” So I hunkered down to watch, and he kept up the tirade for several minutes. More people came out, including the main priest in the white robe, and the street preacher was getting up in their faces somewhat, and my neighbor downstairs announced that she’d called the police.

At this point, I decided I needed to take a picture, so I went to get my camera, and wouldn’t you know, when I came back he’d crossed the street and had set up camp right outside my apartment building (greeaaaat), but continued to shout at them from across the street. So I couldn’t get a good picture. By this point, also, the church cat, Vesper, was trotting outside to see what all the excitement was about. And at that moment, the street preacher said something that sounded like, “You thesperals,” but I don’t think that was it, since that’s not a word, but it sounded enough like “Vesper” that I saw her be like, “What? Me? What do I have to do with this?” Nevertheless, she was intrigued and parked herself on the sidewalk to get an unobstructed view as he continued the rant. He said that word a couple more times, and each time, her ears perked up. Eventually the shouting tapered off, and Vesper trotted back inside, deciding the excitement was over, and similarly, I trotted back to my room, got back in bed and started writing this.

And oh, boy, he’s shouting again, although I can’t quite make out what he’s saying. I have a feeling he may not actually be saying sentences, because I just heard something like, “With folly, set on high! Magnified good with God’s shrimp! And the righteous and the wicked shall personally give the wicked to condemn the righteous.” (What?) Then something about a scholar or a collar, and I think he’s pretty upset about an unmarried couple living together.

And Ohhh, boy, he just very clearly said, “Yes, I’m still here, Cowards. I’ll be here for a very long time. Perhaps week after week.” And by “here” I can only assume he means his current position right by our garage. Mmm, can’t wait for that. Won’t be awkward at all walking by him on my way to take out the recycling.

A Metaphorical Spank on the Back

June 8, 2011

When I was little, I had a book, and a record that went along with it, called “The Story About Ping.” It was about a duck who lived on a fishing boat with his extended duck family and their human master, and every evening, the boat master would call, “La-la-la-la-lei!” And the ducks would run back to the boat, and the last one back would get a spank on his or her back. (Yeah, kind of a weird situation overall; don’t think about it too hard.) Well, Ping understandibly never wanted to be that last duck, to the extent that one evening he realized he was going to be last and didn’t go back at all — and adventures, of course, ensued.

Well, last night I started a writing class that is held at the teacher’s apartment. This apartment is in a lovely neighborhood with a heinus, heinus parking situation. Like, I guess the first two or three people actually get to park on his street, then the next six or eight find spaces a couple blocks away after circling twice or thrice, and then, there’s me. And I can’t really get there much sooner, because I’m coming from work. So by the time I got there, (and I was not yet late, mind you; when I got to the apartment and started looking for parking, I still had a couple minutes to spare), all the good, fair, and mediocre spots were taken; all that was left was a metered spot, blocks and blocks away and down a steep series of hills, and I only found it after driving around for 15 minutes. And I can’t help thinking this is like a modern-day, non-fishing-boat Ping situation, except that the last person, instead of getting a spank on the back, gets the shittiest parking space of all time.

La-la-la-la-lei!

I’m a Fool for Yule

March 4, 2011

I knew there was a reason I was already starting to get excited for next Christmas. Yes, I realize it’s only March, but that means that Christmas season is a mere eight months away, and GUESS WHAT???

THIS!!!!!!!

It’s a Yule Ball at this amazing place, Whimsic Alley, right in the very heart of Los Angeles! And it combines two of my most favoritist things in the whole wide world: Harry Potter and Christmas!!!!!!! Whimsic Alley was brought to my attention by my lovely new friend Andrea, the amazing genius who was behind this


(that’s her on the right)

and this

and quite frankly, her attention to detail when executing anything involving a theme or a costume has me wondering where she has been all my life.

I am expecting with unadulterated hope that there will be another Yule Ball in 2011. I have no idea how this year’s managed to slip under my radar. But listen to this, witches and wizards: Full dinner. Open bar. Enchanted ceiling. Dance. Performance by a band called Wingardium Leviosa! And Christmas! All on one night! The only thing more wonderful that I can think of would be if an owl flew in my window right now and delivered my acceptance letter to Hogwarts.

Oh boy, I really hope that bartender will mix me a butterbeer!

Love on the L.A. Metro

July 8, 2010

Please read the title to the tune of Aerosmith’s “Love in an elevator.” And now that we have that taken care of:

I’ve been reading a self-help book, as I am wont to do, that told me to look for love everywhere I went, and to look for the connections between others and myself, and between others and other otherses. This was very good for me, because lately I’ve been witnessing a lot of hate in the world, and it’s started to get me down in a major way. I’ve gotten so tired of experiencing all the aggression that occurs 1,000 times a second on the freeways, for example, and it all culminated a couple weeks ago when someone put a pre-printed business card on my car that said it hoped I got cancer, because I was parked a little bit over the line in the tiny compact car space that my compact car does not fit into properly. Yes, I will repeat that: Someone went to the trouble of ordering and purchasing business cards that say on the front, “Way to park, asshole.” And on the back, “I hope you get cancer.” It was actually quite a visually appealing card, with a lovely combination of fonts printed on a nice brick-red color. But the point is, feeling that malice directed at me was the straw on the camel’s back of hate that I’d been witnessing, and it made me really, really sad.

So, back to the self-help book. The day after I read the section about looking for love everywhere, it was “one of those mornings” where all forces of the universe were determined to slow me down, and after running to catch the metro, I got there a minute too late, and had to wait, all sweaty-like, for the next one. When I finally got on, a woman using a walker (with difficulty) got on, too. A youngerish woman and a blind man both got up for her to take their seats. (Side note: The question has been raised as to how the blind man knew to get up for her, and my guess is that the youngerish woman said something, or maybe he’s just that good.) Well, the walker woman (henceforth referred to as Walker Woman or WW) took the blind man’s seat and began talking with him and the youngerish woman (YW). When the blind man got off, he said goodbye to YW, and she and WW kept talking. Throughout their conversation, I unabashedly eavesdropped and exchanged eye contact and smiles with both of them at various points. When it was time for me to get off at my stop, I said goodbye to Walker Woman, and Youngerish woman got off there, too. And here comes the best part: Youngerish woman crossed to the other side of the platform to wait for the train going in the opposite direction. She had gone past her stop, and I believe it was out of love, because she didn’t want to prematurely end her conversation with Walker Woman. She wanted to make sure WW was taken care of, and then and only then did she get off and make her way back to where she needed to go.

Love.

I’m so glad I missed my train that morning and ended up on the one I ended up on.

That day marked a new chapter for me, one of looking everywhere for love and kindness, and finding it. I make a point to make eye contact, smile at, and talk with more strangers, and I’m making new friends all over town. I still see the hate, and it still bums me out, but now I have something with which to balance it.

I think you should try it, too. We’ll fill the world with love, one person at a time. Then one day, we’ll realize that we don’t see any hate, because there won’t be any.

(Do I sound like a hippy, or what?)

An Emotional Morning

January 29, 2009

It’s the end of an era.

I’m moving out of the house I’ve lived in for the last six-plus years, the only place in Los Angeles that I’ve called home. On March 1st I’m moving about half an hour away to Los Feliz with my friend Mary. It happened so much faster than I thought it would. We started looking with the intention that we wouldn’t move unless we found something absolutely perfect in the exact neighborhood we wanted. I thought it would take months, but within a few weeks, there it was! We went last night to talk about deposits with the property manager, and as soon as we left her apartment and she shut the door behind us, Mary and I gripped each other’s arms and started jumping around in a silent, elated screaming fit.

Then I woke up this morning and realized that not only am I moving to a great new apartment in a delightful community, I’m leaving my house and the neighborhood I have loved SO much for the last six years. So much has happened here, and its walls have always been a welcoming refuge. It all sort of hit home this morning, and I started out my commute with a heavy heart. Then I did the only thing I could do. I started belting out “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men. As I finished up the last notes the second time through, I perked up to listen to what they were saying on NPR. It was about the bill Barack Obama signed into law today: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, named for a woman who sued Goodyear for gender discrimination after learning she’d been earning 40% less than her male co-workers for twenty years, and ultimately lost, due to the dumbness of the dumb old law.

The part that moved me the most was the ad Lilly made for Obama’s campaign after learning that John McCain opposed the bill — an ad that, according to political consultant Frank Luntz, was one of the few effective negative ads in the campaign: “John McCain opposed a law to give women equal pay for equal work,” Lilly says in her endearing Alabama accent, “and he dismissed the wage gap, saying women just need education and training. I had the same skills as the men at my plant. My family needed that money.”

“Wow,” I said outloud, and then shouted, “TAKE THAT, JOHN MCCAIN!” Then I immediately burst into tears. I must have been well-hydrated, because tears were shooting out of my eyes at an alarming rate, soaking my face and making my collar damp and soggy. I reached into the glove compartment to see if I had any kleenex or napkins, but all I found was a clean pair of underwear.

There I was, driving down Wilshire Boulevard at 7:45 AM, mourning the impending loss of my old home and experiencing crippling gratitude for this moment in history, for Obama and Lilly Ledbetter and for everyone who has fought so hard for their fellow human beings. And crying into a pair of panties.

So much is changing in the world. Some of it is bad, but a whole lot is very, very good. I tend to be optimistic to a fault, but I’m very hopeful about this world shift, and feel in many ways that it’s a new dawn of sorts. On a much smaller scale, I know the change will be good for me, too. It was time, and it felt right. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss the cozy, sunny house I’ve come to know as home.

All together now: “And I’ll taaaaaaaake with me the memorieeeeees to be my sunshine after the raaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnn. It’s so haaaaaaaard to say goodbyyyyyyyyyeeee to yesterdaaaaaaaaaaaaaayeeeeeeeeeee!

538a.jpg

Awkward White Twelve-Year-Olds and Your Old Magazines

September 29, 2008

In 6th grade, our teacher Mrs. Harter had us, as a class, write a rap — yes, a rap — about taking care of the earth. We called it the Pollution Rap, and we spent, I don’t know, like an hour a day for at least a week working on this thing. Some highlights that I remember include these golden nuggets:

“Oil spills and landfills give you chills

when you think of all the things it kills.”

and

“Air conditioners and aerosol sprays

are ruining the ozone and letting in the rays.”

and of course we had the requisite “Reduce it! Re-use it! Just don’t abuse it!” chorus, with Kenji Lunsford beatboxing in the background.

Mrs. Harter loved it and wanted to call up the local news station to put us on the news. Of course we were mortified at the idea, and hugely relieved when that never happened.

In any case, though, in the same way that DARE might have worked for me, because I never got into drugs, maybe this pollution rap had some sort of permanent effect on my priorities. I care about the Earth a lot, y’all! And I want to do whatever I can to help a sista out. Unfortunately I’ve been going about my business with not enough information. For example, the whole time I’ve lived in LA I’ve been wondering what to put in my recycling bin. Plastics coded #1 and 2 only? Aluminum foil? Stray cats? I’ve heard various information from various sources about what the city will recycle, and rather than finding out for sure, I just sort of guessed. But just now I remembered to look it up… after 5.5 years… and I found these helpful links, which I shall now share with you! It turns out we can recycle a lot more than I thought. Yay!

I’ve included links to recycling guides for LA, We-Ho, and Santa Monica. I found this by Googling “recycling los angeles,” so if you insert your city, I imagine you’ll find something similar.

Los Angeles
West Hollywood
Santa Monica – single family houses
Santa Monica – multiple family buildings

Happy recycling to you, and, um… just say no to drugs.

A Bee in the Bonnet and Ants in the Pants

July 29, 2008

I’ve lived in LA for 5 1/2 years, and pretty much the whole time I’ve been here I’ve sung its praises. I love LA! I know I still do somewhere in here, but this summer, for the first time, I am ovah it. I want to get out of here. There are 2 reasons I can think of why my attitude might suddenly have changed:

1. I quit my office job. (Yayayayay! After 5 years straight of being office girl, for the last month and a half I have been unemployed girl, and it’s been a wonderful break, although I’m starting to get a little antsy). So anyway, maybe I always have to find something to be discontented about. Now that I can no longer be tired of my job, maybe the only thing to be tired of is the city. Maybe? I don’t know.

2. Um, I totally just blanked on the second reason! It’s coming, I know… OH, yes, here we go: I haven’t been on a long vacation since Jep was a pup, or since you were knee high to a grasshopper. The last place I went, other than home to North Carolina for Christmas, was to Mexico for 5-ish days last October for my friend American Virginia’s wedding. That was wonderful, but I don’t think I was away long enough to fully recharge.

3. (I just thought of a third). The SMOG, you guys, is totally out of control this summer. My chest has been burning for months, and I got a cold for the first time in at least 3 years, and I’m convinced it’s because the smog caused a bunch of goop to build up in my lungs and sinuses, which made an ideal home for the cold virus to lodge on its vacation in my body. See? Even the cold virus is traveling! Shouldn’t I?

So… now that I’m unemployed and untethered, Operation Travel shall commence! The bad news for me is that I don’t have a great deal of money (see #1), so going anywhere far, far away or for a long time is out of the question. My weeks-long tour of Japan, hiking in the Andes, and skiing in New Zealand will have to wait a little longer. Instead I’m going to New York next Wednesday for 6 days to perform with one of my improv groups in the Del Close Marathon, and most excitingly, I’m planning a trip to Seattle next month with my friend Elise. I’ve never been, and I’ve always wanted to, and right now the thought of rain makes me want to run around in circles with excitement. Just for something different, and for some clean, fresh air to breathe, and to be able to look out the window and actually see what’s there rather than know there is a beautiful landscape that I can’t see because it’s buried in haze.

P.S. The whole time I’ve been typing this, something on me smells good, and I can’t figure out what it is. My hands smell pretty good, but I don’t think that’s it… maybe it’s my deodorant? Oh, gosh, nope, definitely not that. Hmmm. I think it is my hands, actually. But I don’t know why! Neither my soap nor my lotion smells like that. Maybe it’s a combination that chemically combined to create this new delicious aroma. Must be. OH! I just figured it out. I got home and my feet were filthy because I’d been wearing flip flops all day, so I washed them in the sink with this new bath gel I got (Alba Botanica honey mango) (mmmm). And I also got some of it on my hands, obviously. Mystery solved!

P.P.S. I realize this blentry is totally boring, but at least I wrote something, right? Right? mmm?

Ending 2007 With a Bang

December 31, 2007

I just did the dumbest thing. I was pulling into the parking garage at work and putting my window down so I could scan my keycard, and I was concentrating on the window, because there’s a blob of bird doodoo on the top part, and I didn’t want to put it all the way down and get the doodoo all over the window and between the door panels, which I already did once, and as I was being super careful about that, I forgot that the car was also moving forward, and BAM! I hit the thing on the side of the thing where I was pulling in, and put a big fat dent in the front of my new car. I feel like such an idiot. I’m glad this happened today and not tomorrow, because I can chalk it up to being part of 2007, and I’m moving on to a much smarter 2008, a year in which I will not run my car into anything out of sheer stupidity.

Culture Shock

December 26, 2007

I went to North Carolina for Christmas, and the minute I got there I was immediately slapped in the face with the most intense culture shock I’ve experienced in my entire life. My mom, grandma, and my mom’s elderly friend all came to Charlotte to pick me up, and the friend drove no faster than 55mph for the entire 2-hour ride home. Then the minute we arrived in my home town, we stopped at the J&S Cafeteria for dinner (because that’s what old people there do), and I could not believe my eyes and ears. Between the strangers all talking to each other and us, the Christmas sweatshirts, and the John Deere pocketbook of the girl in front of us in line, I felt like an alien in another universe. I couldn’t help but think, what if a very large giant took that J&S Cafeteria and lifted it up and plopped it down in LA? How different would the scene look? Everyone would be facing forward, not speaking to anyone else, the food would cost ten times more, and the jeans and flannel shirts would be replaced with Ugs and Juicy sweats. Maybe it would even become a kitchy, trendy place where hipsters would eat “ironically.”

Last night I flew back to LA, and for the first time felt disgruntled with the lack of friendliness of folks here. I was on the shuttle coming from the airport wearing my seat belt (buckle up for safety!) and a woman couldn’t get to the seat behind me, and instead of saying, “Excuse me, can you move your seat belt please?” she just stood there all hunched over and pinch-faced, kind of staring/glaring at me. When I noticed, I was clearly still in NC mode and said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!” and instead of saying, “Oh, that’s okay!” and then striking up a conversation about Christmas, traveling, and her uncle’s homegrown honey, like any respectable Carolinian would have, she didn’t say a cotton-pickin’ word! Not one word. I’ve been here for five years and have suddenly just realized that people in Los Angeles are unfriendly.

On the upside, my sister gave me a t-shirt that says, “You mess with this Carolina girl, you will be messin’ with the whole trailer park!”

I now consider them warned.

Old Grandpa Paddington

November 7, 2007

It’s officially Autumn, and in LA it’s gloomy and cold (60 degrees), and overnight I went from riding my bike everywhere and wanting to hike every day to having one desire in life: to sit in the house in sweatpants eating carbohydrates. Why, as a human, and in Southern California, do I instinctively want to hibernate? Were my ancestors bears? Maybe this is why when I asked my grandmother where her side of the family had originated she said she didn’t know. And here I took my family’s ignorance of our heritage to mean we’d been in America for hundreds of years; I never once considered my great-great-great grandfather may have caught fish with his hands and gotten his head stuck in beehives. Well, you learn something new every day.