Transition is an amazing thing. An amazing, exhausting, thing. It isn’t a hibernation. It isn’t a caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation. You don’t go into a cocoon and emerge beautiful, powerful, and able to fly. It is a piece-meal business, changing your life. It happens bit by bit, in unnoticeable ways. You dig in. That’s it. You just dig in.
Right now, for me, digging in means settling in. It is the exact opposite, and yet very similar to, digging into traveling. Rather than finding my rhythm in movement and planning, I’m finding rhythm in planning stillness. I’m looking for a home, and a job, and a routine. I speak the national language in Los Angeles (sort of), but it is just as new to me as a foreign country, and even small things are as big an adventure as they would be in a foreign place. And they involve a big adventure’s worth of energy. To buy yogurt and apples, there are ten decisions to be made: grocery store or farmers market? Which grocery? Which farmers’ market? How do I get there? Where do I park? What city am I in and what is their policy on grocery store bags? You make the same exhausting mistakes you may make on a foreign adventure, like accidentally going to Trader Joe’s on a Sunday afternoon. If you’ve seen the Whole Foods Parking Lot video you know what I’m saying. I’m not saying I did this…just….it would be a mistake. So is buying frozen food on the night of the Hero 6 premier if you happen to live two blocks from the Chinese Theater. I find myself watching an inordinate amount of television and it bores me, and then I realize I need boredom, since I can’t even drive to a grocery store without gps assistance. Boredom can be bliss when newness is exhausting.
I quickly learned to use Waze instead of the map on my iphone. It’s a cross between the blessing of crowdsourcing at its most amazing and a horrendously distracting video game played while driving. I’ve learned that a Prius can take up two lanes, just like a dually, despite also being able to drive underneath one. I’ve felt compassion for people spending money on Panameras, because good god where can you drive that thing the way it’s meant to be driven in a place where traffic never goes more than 65 miles per hour? I’ve absorbed that driving rhythm in LA is: fast as you can (50-60) on a surface street, slower than molasses on the highway. I’ve learned just how long it can take to go 2.1 miles. And I’m disturbed, but not deterred.
Apartment hunting in Los Angeles is like apartment hunting in San Francisco in the mid 90’s. Every place I go has eight people lined up waiting to view it. Spanky being over 15 pounds greatly reduces one’s housing opportunities. I’m glad I started looking at options online in August, because I had two months to train myself not to throw up on the spot when someone tells me a small one-bedroom with no laundry, parking, or upgrades, but in a great neighborhood, goes for over $2000/month. And I’m thankful for all my presentation skills from business school (and for that one a-hole professor who liked to interrupt up in my face with questions during presentations) because I talk a great game around not having a job, yet still feeling sure I can pay rent for the next 12 months.
After showing up 20 minutes early to every apartment in which I was interested and sitting on the stoop, bank statements in hand, I found one by lucking out. I called about an apartment that of course had been rented the prior day, but discovered that its identical twin had just notified the landlord of a January vacation. The owner (who told me he probably liked me better for having quit my job to travel, than asked me what my sign was and was relieved to hear I was a Pisces, because none of his crazy renters had ever been Pisces) approved me for a preview showing, and I took it on the spot. It’s in a quiet neighborhood where I’ve been warned against going to Trader Joe’s on Friday afternoon because the Hasidim are packing it full in preparation for Shabbat, and I can walk less than a mile to a great segment of Melrose, or to some decent bars on Highland. I get keys on the 8th, right after returning from purging my storage unit and turning my remaining belongings over to a mover.
The weight that comes off from knowing I have a home is amazing. I’m light as air. It gives me energy to rework my resume and find an internship, where, because it’s California, they insist on paying me minimum wage so they don’t get sued over my slave labor. I was concerned this would hurt any unemployment I would potentially take in the near future, until I remembered that I haven’t had a job in 18 months, so my unemployment check would have been $0. Minimum wage is a step up.
The internship is with the production company for an awards show. I will keep my lips sealed on any luscious details except to say that a 9:30 start time, two kitchens stocked with everything from fruit to candy, and a bathroom so pristine that more than once I’ve been the first person to use it in a day are a far cry from my former (and likely future) life.
Here’s a visual aid of what I’m up to for the next couple months. Details to follow as life gets interesting, and my address gets permanent.