Issue #74 – “City of Angles” – September 12th, 2005

-I’ve done something I never thought I’d do.  The unthinkable.  The unconscionable.  The unfathomable.  Something that I fought against with every fiber of my being.  I’ve entered uncharted territory, summoned by fate and destiny, and been brought to a world unlike anything I’ve ever known.  I’ve joined the Dark Side.  It all happened so fast.  But it happened.  I moved…… to Los Angeles.  Holy fucking shit.  Welcome to the City of Angles.

-I was born and raised on Long Island.  I went to college in Philadelphia.  And I spent the last four years carousing in the streets of Manhattan.  I’m pale-skinned, neurotic, obnoxious, and a die-hard Yankees fan.  In other words, I’m pretty much as East Coast as you can get.  But here I am, writing this from my one-bedroom in West Hollywood.  My first week here, I walked outside to get something to eat.  There was nothing – no bodegas, no delis, just blocks and blocks of stores selling lighting fixtures.  Wonderful.  I move 3,000 miles across the country to a new city and somehow end up in the lamp district.

-So what’s my first impression of the people of Los Angeles?  Whorish?  Vacuous?  Fake?  No.  Nice.  That’s right, nice.  I can’t believe how many people have introduced themselves to me in my building.  If someone even asked me my name in my building in New York, I’d be tempted to punch them in the neck and run the other way lest they dare even think about looking in my direction again.  Cordiality – what a concept!

-You ask, what the fuck am I doing here in the first place?  Well, quite simply, I’m continuing to pursue my sitcom and stand-up dreams.  Only problem is, so is everyone else here.  What kind of sucks is that if I’m in a bar in New York and mention I’m an author/comedian, I get an excited response, and maybe even a hand job in the bathroom.  In LA, when I mention I’m an author/comedian, I get an uninterested response.  Then I get asked if I have an agent or a deal.  I say yes and then I get the hand job.  It’s that extra step that’s killing me.

-And to the women of New York, you know you will always be my first love.  But after careful empirical analysis, I have to say the chicks in LA are, on average, much hotter.  Whether gourmet LA girls are approachable or not, well, that’s another story.  In fact, my buddy Ryan even makes the laughable but logical case that the girls out here are actually TOO hot.  Which prompts me to pose an important philosophical question – if a perfect ten walks in the door but no one can talk to her…does she exist?

-I must say, though, I’m surprised at how quickly I’ve adapted to life out here.  I even bought an SUV to drive two blocks to the supermarket.  My main problem is parking.  I can find places OK (I just Google Map everything), but once I get there I can’t park and end up driving in radiating concentric circles until I find a spot a mile away from my initial destination.  And parallel parking, forget about it.  I’ve never driven a truck before so I’m always scared and unsure about how much space I need.  I swear I park like a gangly adolescent girl self-conscious about her developing new body.

-I’m not going to lie, though.  I miss New York.  I miss falling asleep to the sound of indiscriminate screaming on Third Avenue.  I miss ordering Chinese food and having it arrive at my door seven minutes later.  But most of all, I miss my friends back East.  While I’ve got a great crew of hooligans here in LA, it’s hard to compare to the childhood friends I’ve been kickin’ it with for the past twenty years.  Oh God, did I just say “kickin’ it”?  See, that’s what happens here!  You start talking weird…and dressing funny…and eating organic food.  LA, man.  It’s a trip.  There are no angels here, but everyone’s got a different angle on how to make it big.  Nothing is what it seems and perception is everything.  It’s the City of Angles.  And it’s home.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-For some reason, people never understand me when I say my first name.  I used to say it’s “Aaron, like Hank Aaron.”  In LA, I still get a puzzled look.  Then I say, “Aaron, like Aaron Spelling” and everyone understands.

-I ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese in LA.  It took half an hour and came on a baguette.

-I pay the same rent in LA as I did in New York and my apartment is three times the size.  I’m like an institutionalized parakeet that’s been let out of its cage for the first time.  There’s almost too much space – in fact, my second day here I accidentally walked directly into my coffee table and smashed it to pieces.  I had to call the guy I’m renting from and tell him.  He was like, “Were you drunk?”  I was like, “Actually, no, I’m just not used to walking more than four steps in any one direction.”

-One of the main thoroughfares in LA is Wilshire Boulevard.  Turns out it’s pronounced “will-sure” not “will-SHIRE” like the Hobbits from “Lord of the Rings.”  That was an embarrassing two weeks.

-I have car insurance for the first time ever.  So I was pretty shocked when I was told I had a deductible.  I thought I could just drive around and smash into everything for free.  But apparently my policy doesn’t cover demolition derby.  Fucking Allstate.

-I’m the kind of guy who needs to be completely “settled” in a new place before I can do anything at all.  My agent calls me up the other day to ask how a script is coming and I’m like, “Whoah, whoah, whoah.  Script?  Take it easy man!  I don’t even have a new coffee table yet.  Script?  I’m not settled!  I need a coffee table and one of those things that holds the paper towel roll and then maybe I can work on this script you speak of.”

-And, finally, as a writer and performer, change is always good.  When you’re too comfortable, material doesn’t flow as easily.  Fear and insecurity – that’s where the gold comes from.  So when I realized I was too comfortable in Manhattan, that’s when I knew it was time to move to LA.  It was a Saturday night in June and I was stumbling down Second Avenue going from one party to another with a beer in my hand.  Mind you this was not a can of beer in a brown bag, this was not an opaque keg cup, this was a clear glass filled to the brim with Bud Light.  What the fuck did I care?  This is my city, what’s gonna happen?  Until I walked right past a cop.  Apparently, he cared.  I tried to reason with him as he wrote up a ticket, but he wouldn’t have it.  I didn’t think I was even that drunk, and I told him so.  The cop actually seemed to feel bad and even said, as he handed me my court summons, “Sorry man, but it’s the end of the month and we have to meet our quota.”  I begrudgingly thanked him for his surprising candor and, as I made my way to the second party to refill my glass, decided it was time to get out of New York.  I also thought how strange it was that the cop would actually tell me he was filling his end of the month quota.  Then I glanced at my watch and that’s when I realized how wasted I was.  It was only June 4th.  Fuck me.