Why, thank you Santa Monica! You're not so bad yourself!
I have officially been in L.A. for a week. Here are some observations I’ve made in that time:
– The weather in Santa Monica is schizophrenic. It’s warm, it’s cold, it’s hot, it’s cloudy, it’s sunny…
– I should get a car.
– All that schizophrenia still lands on the side of beautiful.
– I walk a bit slower here. And that’s not a bad thing.
– The bus isn’t as bad as they say, but…
– The bus rides ARE as long as they say.
– I should get a car, apparently.
– Sepulveda is fucking LONG.
– There are some really quality people here.
– The Santa Monica Library is the best library I’ve ever been to, except for the main branch of the New York Public Library.
– The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee is really, really good (and there’s one in NYC now, apparently!).
– OK, get off my back about the fucking car.
– The bus drivers here are really sweet. However,
– The bus drivers will also hit on me reluctantly. Reluctantly, because they think I’m 19, and are happily surprised by my legality when I say I’m 32.
– I will not be dating any bus drivers any time soon.
– Look, do you want to buy me a fucking car?!
This orange tree is in someone's FRONT YARD. Like, UP THE BLOCK from me. You know, how you do when you live IN A STATE WHERE YOU CAN GROW ORANGES.
The only bad thing I’ve experienced, and it’s not really a bad thing so much as… *sigh*, is the insistence that I need to get a car. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to hear it from every single person I’ve met out here. And it’s always good-natured, and it’s always well-intentioned, but still. Annoying. First of all, just because something bothers you, doesn’t mean it will bother me. Secondly, I’m from New York; weirdos on public transportation, 2 1/2-3hr commutes, and unpredictable maintainance are not completely foreign to me. And third, telling someone who just moved here a few days ago, and who’s living with a friend to save up for an apartment and said magical, mystical car-thing is akin to going to a slum and telling the people you meet, “You know, you should really think about getting some food. Your life will be so much easier!” Uh-huh.
To quote Forest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Bubbles and sarongs: it's How I Roll.
Car issues aside, I’ve been really liking it here so far. I’m so lucky that, in addition to getting to live in one of the more gorgeous towns in L.A., I’ve come into a group of really quality people. Heather, the first face I saw when I got here, since she picked me up from the airport, was really happy to see me! I spent my first night in town with her before going to my semi-permanent digs in Santa Monica. But between Heather and Santa Monica, I went to a ChinaShop Magazine meeting. You know, one of the sites I write for that pays my bills? Anyway, we met at The Fat Dog, a really cute place with a great beer selection and amazing jalepeno mac and cheese, and I got to see old faces as well as meet fellow contributors I’d only ever known by their byline. What a talented, fun, welcoming group of folks! One of the great things about moving to L.A. is that I’m closer to these people and feel more emotionally invested in the site, the same way I have been in Tor.com having gotten to know those folks personally. (Don’t worry, Stubby! I still love you!)
But if you wanna talk about warm welcomes, the award goes to my friend, Maritza, and her husband Gregger, who’ve opened up their home to me. This place is awesome, and I couldn’t have asked for a better neighborhood than Santa Monica in which to set up shop. But seriously, Maritza has made me feel so at home. Not only did she provide me with an entire dresser to put my stuff in so I wouldn’t have to live out of suitcases, and not only has she made me feel comfortable about using anything in the apartment that I need to, but she was considerate enough to plan on going away for a few days with Sara, her 2 year old, to meet up with her husband on vacation so that I could have the place to myself for a bit and get settled in and used to my new city before taking on babysitting duties.
And what an adorable little 2 year old I’ll be watching…
Maritza took this just before Nap Time. Apparently, Sara had just said "I'm reading!" :)
Such a sweet, polite, and intelligent little girl. Maritza and Gregger know how to raise little people! Seriously, she says Please and Thank You, “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am”, and can even be reasoned with even in the midst of a not-so-bad tantrum. Also, she’s only 2, but she knows all of her letters, and even though she can’t read yet, she knows how to tell a properly-structured story! She’ll pick up a book, open it, say “Once Upon a Time”, then tell a story she makes up based on the pictures with a beginning, middle, and end! She’s going to be lots of fun, I can tell!
In addition to my new roomies, I’ve also been making the rounds of quality geek girls in the area. Some I’ve already met, like Amy, and Geek Girl Diva (whose real name I know but shant reveal under penalty of death!). There’s the lovely Theresa (another one? Uh-oh!), a fellow geek with whom I’d only associated online before, who was kind enough to throw me a Welcome to L.A. pool party so I could meet some folks! I met Vicki and Emily, who are awesome, got to see Jessica again, and met Stephanie. I didn’t see Jess and Stephanie for long, because I arrived late-ish, and they had other commitments to get to, but Stephanie had brought a cake, which entertained us in her stead, and even sort of inspired an upcoming geek girl venture! (Stay tuned!)
Wait. You mean pool parties can happen any time of year here?! THAT'S CRAZY! (clockwise: Theresa, Vicki, Geek Girl Diva, Emily, and Me!)
Emily can't stand looking at the cute as Amy cozies up to Diamond, THE CUTEST DOG EVER. (or she's at least in the Top Five.)
I mean, seriously. LOOK AT THAT FACE.
Heather lounges with Theresa, the hostess with the mostest.
Since that party, I’ve met up with a writer I’ll be doing assistanty things for – Bob Harris, who’s working on a really cool book called The 1st International Bank of Bob (Bloomsbury), about the awesomeness of Kiva and microfinance, his personal experiences traveling the world to see what his loans have accomplished, and how average folks like you and me can, like, SAVE THE WORLD. You know, if that sort of thing means anything to you. But, you know, whatever. Anyway, we talked about the assistanty things I’ll be doing, which I’m very excited about, because I’m a huge fan of Kiva and Bob’s lending team is, like, one of the biggest ones they’ve got! It’s like I’ve got front-row seats to Awesome.
I also got to hang with some other illustrious geeks, like Sarah, whom I’d only ever talked to online before, and who is as kind and smart in person as I hoped she’d be. And I got to see Jenni again. You may know her from the time she sang “I’m On a Boat” at karaoke. This time, we went to a comics event at the Barnes & Noble on the 3rd Street Promenade for the HC release of Top Cow’s ECHOES by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal, which looks amazing, and I can’t wait to read it. After that, Jenni and I went out for a drink and a bite, and I realized that she’s totes good people.
So, I’ve been seeing people I know, getting to know other people, and having a surprisingly active social life for a girl who just moved to town! What a warm welcome indeed! Oh, and I also conducted my first L.A. interview (Jane Espenson. Cheeks. Husbands. Tor.com. Monday and Tuesday. BE THERE!) that went really well and felt all fancy-schmancy even though I was rocking pigtails and a shirt with Kermit the Frog on it that day. But most importantly, I’ve had plenty of time to WRITE, which is really the point of all of this. And what’s truly awesome, is that I get to write in a place like THIS:
Maritza carries Sara as we all walk to the playground. The playground that's on THE BEACH.
Even cloudy, this is still pretty awesome.
I live 3 BLOCKS from this! That's Santa Monica Pier in the distance. It's overcast, but you can still make out the ferris wheel.
I told Bob that I both feel like I just left New York yesterday, and like I left New York a billion years ago. The reason for that, he said, is because the weather doesn’t change very much. Apparently, it’ll feel like no one ever ages and time passes really slowly, and I’ll feel both like a new arrival and an old-timer for a long time. It’s like something out of the Twilight Zone. Good thing I’m a huge fan of Rod Serling!
Kim, someone I know through ChinaShop and whom I spoke with at the meeting, has been living here for over 12 years, and says she loves L.A., because unlike other cities that define you, L.A. forces you to define yourself. Because, let’s face it, no one wants to let a city known for movie magic and fakery define them. So, you’re forced to define yourself, and it often leads to deeper introspection and a more grounded sense of self. I never would’ve thought of it that way, but the more people I meet, the more true that feels. So it’s like, New York is where you go to follow your dreams, and L.A. is where you go to figure out what your dreams really are?
How’s THAT for some dime-store psychology?
Well, thanks for the warm welcome, L.A. I’m looking forward to getting to know you.