Issue #133 – “After Shock” – August 11th, 2008

-Last week marked my third anniversary of moving from New York to Los Angeles, but it wasn’t until the week prior that I was officially indoctrinated.  I was sitting at my desk when I felt my BlackBerry vibrating.  But when I picked it up, I saw that it was off.  Then I felt rumbling below me, which isn’t unusual since my apartment is above the garage.  Finally, when my entire apartment began to shake, I realized – holy shit! – it’s a mother-fucking earthquake!  I demonstrated my preparedness for such a situation by running directly to the window – exactly the opposite of what you’re supposed to do.  Within seconds, it was over.  But the experience caused me to look back upon my cross-country move and realize that I’ve been in a state of shock ever since arriving in LA.  Now it’s time to revamp my outlook on California – and renew my earthquake insurance.

-Dudes generally don’t make new friends after about the age of twenty-five, so although I was lucky to have met a good group of guys out here, I never quite knew where I stood.  Further complicating matters is the fact that dudes bond by ripping into each other.  As I sat around boozing with them the other night, Zach made fun of me, Justin laughed, and Neil high-fived Zach, all at my expense.  That’s when I knew that I truly hated these fucking guys – and that we’re better friends than I thought.

-Earlier this year, after six weeks of suffering with a nasty cough, I finally dragged myself to my doctor in West Hollywood, who proceeded to prescribe me acupuncture.  After trying to explain to her that normal people from the East Coast don’t believe in that hippie shit, I relented and made an appointment.  While he was sticking me with needles, the acupuncturist noted that my liver was slightly swollen and suggested that it might be caused by “emotional pollution.”  “Nah,” I said, “It’s probably the binge drinking.”

-I don’t think many people realize that the two places in Los Angeles where most twentysomethings live – Santa Monica and West Hollywood – are pretty far away from each other.  Like, too far to take a cab.  So when I wanted to go to my friend Dana’s party in Santa Monica recently, but didn’t want to drive, I did what any enterprising New Yorker would do: I took the bus (for $1.25!).  When I got to the party, where there were about 100 LA natives, I proudly told them how I got there.  You should have seen their faces.  Not one single person had ever taken a bus anywhere in their entire lives.  I fielded their barrage of questions and then, thankfully, my swollen liver and I got a ride home.

-I’ve now lived on the West Coast long enough that whenever I’m back in the Eastern Time Zone, I feel like I’m in the future.

-Avocado is the default topping on every meal served in Los Angeles County.  I actually think it’s a law: no smoking in bars, no talking on your cell phone while driving, and avocados on fucking everything.

-After three years in California, I’m finally ready to embrace the lifestyle.  The only problem is, just when I think I’m fitting in, I’m promptly made to feel like an outsider again.  For instance, in New York, the term to “mack” means to hit on a chick, but in LA, macking means actually hooking up.  My boys in LA were under the impression that I was getting laid all the time until they realized I was misusing the term – and promptly ripped me a new one for it.

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

-I have never understood why every radio station has an early morning talk show.  During the course of an entire day, the one time that I least want to hear idiots yammering is the morning.

-I’ve gotten bolder and bolder in my attempts to buy everything online so I don’t have to speak to humans in stores.  So far this year I’ve purchased a fire extinguisher, a welcome mat, and an air mattress.  I also upgraded my BlackBerry, paid a traffic ticket, and renewed my passport – ironically three things related to venturing outside the house, which I clearly prefer not to do.

-I also buy my groceries online and have them delivered each week.  My ex-girlfriend thought that was the strangest thing and always asked me why I didn’t go to the market.  “Go to the market?” I’d ask, “What am I, the fucking big toe?”

-The kitchen in my apartment has side-by-side sinks.  How did I ever live without this?  I don’t even really use the second sink, but it’s comforting just to know it’s there.

-How disappointing is it when you’re Facebook-stalking someone and you finally find a picture that they’re tagged in, but when you roll over the photo it turns out they’re not the cute one?

-So my Facebook account has reached the 5,000 friend limit and I can’t add anyone else.  This is just another example of technology not being able to keep up with me.  You may recall from way back in Ruminations #24 that after my cell phone address book ran out of memory, every time I wanted to make room for a new number I had to pick the contact I liked the least and delete them – like cell phone Survivor.  Fast forward seven years and I have the same problem.  Only now I have no idea how I’m gonna choose who to keep in my Facebook.  Oh, who are we kidding?  You know exactly how I’m gonna choose.

-I hate picking up a take-out food order or buying something at a liquor store and being given a receipt with a line for a tip.  I know it’s not a tipping situation but just the presence of that line makes me question my own judgment.  And being forced to calculate out the total – which is of course merely the sub-total plus zero – is just uncomfortable for everyone.

-And, finally, one of the more subtle differences I’ve noticed between New York and LA is the way people word the mass farewell emails they send out on their last day of work.  In New York, the farewell email is boilerplate and utilitarian: “I worked here for this many years, it was great, and now I’m taking a different job.”  In LA, the emails are a little more egocentric and rationalizing: “Although I’ve worked here for this many years, and it was great, it’s time for me as a person to move on and grow.”  I think my personal experience has mirrored that sentiment.  I left New York strictly for career purposes, but only recently learned how to truly live in LA.  It’s simple really: pretend like acupuncture really does anything, never let a meal go by without a healthy slice of avocado, and next time there’s an earthquake stay away from the windows and pray that discount fire extinguisher you bought online actually works.  Fuck me.