As I have said, repeatedly, I grew up in a small-ish town in Michigan.
At some point, I knew that I wanted to move to a big city.
I didn’t want to be a big fish in a small pond. I wanted to see what it was like swimming in the big pond.
I just wasn’t sure which big pond.
After visiting New York, I felt it was not right for me.
Everyone took themselves so fucking seriously.
Would it kill you people to crack a smile now and again?
I could only imagine how grim life in New York must be.
After visiting Chicago, I felt I really hated Chicago.
Of course, to be fair, it was the middle of winter with a nasty ice storm going on, but still – why would I move from the metaphorical refrigerator to live in the metaphorical freezer? No way did I want to deal with that wind roaring down from Lake Michigan.
So – how about Los Angeles?
It was certainly a big city.
I had no interest in TV or movies, but it seemed a city that big would have some theater that perhaps I would be able to participate in.
But, I had never been to LA.
I had a friend who was willing to move out there with me. I knew someone who was willing to share an apartment to start off with.
And, my sister Linda lived in the area – not LA, exactly, but LA adjacent.
So, I packed up all my crap and had it shipped to my sister’s house; and then me and my friend drove across the country.
The only way to deal with a move from a small-ish Michigan town to Los Angeles, is to deal with Los Angeles piecemeal. Luckily, Los Angeles is the perfect town to absorb piecemeal. Except for downtown, Los Angeles is really just a bunch of neighborhoods stuck together. You don’t need to know all of Los Angeles – you just need to know about the neighborhoods that you end up in.
I ended up in a lot of neighborhoods – first lived in Hollywood – first on Beechwood (the street that runs up closest to the Hollywood Sign) and then on Franklin in the Hollywood Towers (before it was gentrified – there was nothing gentry about the Hollywoo! Towers when I lived there); then I lived off of LaCienega and Melrose (West Hollywood area); then the Fairfax District; and then Silver Lake (at the top of a hill and then at the bottom of the same hill); then I moved to Panorama City (part of the infamous “Valley”), then to Van Nuys – went on the road with Bottom’s Up, and when I came back I lived in Sherman Oaks – on Magnolia, close to Burbank Boulevard.
Friends and family told me they wrote my address in their address books in pencil.
I have smart friends and family – for the most part.
My first job was in the Garment District. I got my job with Neal Rimer through the accountant for the garment manufacturer I was working for – his offices were in the Wilshire District; and then he moved his offices to Encino – hence my move to the Valley.
LA is an amazing place to live. There is, literally, something for everyone. I don’t know if it’s still true, but it used to have the best shopping in the world (imho). Little local stores tucked away – where they had the coolest things. I hope LA hasn’t lost those little treasures.
Venues for performance abound. Theater groups, colleges, piano bars. Seemed I always had something going on.
The biggest downside of LA – it’s crowded. So fucking crowded.
Not San Francisco or New York crowded; but still too fucking crowded.
It’s expensive too – but then so is the Bay Area where I live now – but it seems jobs pay better up here than they do in LA.
You live in LA, you will meet so many different types of people – something else I loved about it.
I do miss LA, but I know in my heart of hearts that LA is no place for this fat old lady anymore. I always thought LA is no place to grow old. And I got old.
And besides, I think I mostly miss the LA that lives in my memories, which probably has little to do with the reality of LA in 2020.