Issue #172 – “I Hate LA” – August 2nd, 2010

-This past Saturday was the five-year anniversary of my move from New York to Los Angeles. I’ve even experienced the five stages of grief since leaving Manhattan – though somewhat out of order. First there was denial: “I’m not moving to LA, I’m just visiting for a while.” Next there was bargaining: “Okay, I’ll sign a one-year lease, but then I’ll go back to NYC.” Then there was depression: “If I see another palm tree I’m gonna shoot myself.” That was followed by acceptance: “Who am I kidding? I’m never leaving.” And last but not least, I’ve entered the final stage: anger. Quite frankly, I hate LA.

-My car has a navigation system that shows you real-time traffic. Every time I pull out of my driveway in West Hollywood and turn it on, little red and yellow cars that signify traffic jams pop up on every single street within a five-mile radius. It’s totally pointless. I keep expecting the nav’s robotic voice to say: “Make a left, then another left, then another left, then another left back into your driveway and never leave the house again.”

-There is no place to get a normal fucking sandwich here. I don’t want Quiznos, I don’t want Subway, I don’t want to spend more than eight bucks, and I don’t want to go anywhere “famous.” I want a single deli counter with a rickety ceiling fan and a grumpy guy in a paper hat who doesn’t take any guff. Is that too much to ask? And while we’re at it: no, I would not like avocado jammed into every fucking meal. It does not belong!

-Strangely, the thing that a lot of my friends hate most about LA – the people – is the one thing that doesn’t really bother me. Sure there are hordes of douchey agent types, but they’re no worse than bankers in New York. And there are certainly many stereotypical hot-as-balls but dumb-as-bricks actress wannabes, but they’re kind of fun to try to fuck. I’ve actually met some great people out here. If you think about it, LA is a little like college. As I wrote in Ruminations #2, during freshman year a close friend was someone who had an industrial-sized fan and a grilled cheese maker. In Los Angeles, he’s the one who knows where to get a decent turkey sandwich and the quickest route to LAX.

-LA is a great place to be in a relationship but a shitty place to be single. There’s cool stuff to do at night if you’re a lame couple, plus you always have a designated driver, and last call is at 1:30am anyway so that’s really the latest you’re forced to stay out. Of course, all of those attributes work against single people. There’s nothing like the lights going on when you’re just getting a buzz going and then having to navigate a three-cab, two-car hullabaloo just to get everyone home safely. Sometimes getting laid in LA seems to require endless patience, a breathalyzer, and a degree in city planning.

-When people visit LA, they always ask me where they can spot celebs. I try to tell them, trust me, you don’t want to see any celebrities. For one, who gives a shit? Plus, you’re just gonna get trampled by TMZ cameramen as soon as they catch wind of it. And most importantly, it will only make you question your life choices and the future of America. I was at a bar this summer when the cast of Jersey Shore rolled in. People lost their fucking minds. Personally, I’d rather hang out with the mannequin from the movie “Mannequin” than these clowns. (Not Kim Cattrall; I mean the actual mannequin.) As I left the bar, reminded once again how much I hate LA, I noticed one guy who no doubt disagreed with me. Sitting in the corner, being completely ignored in favor of a bunch of reality show meatheads, was a very happy Leonardo DiCaprio.

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

-I’m attracted to successful, ambitious women, but I never know when to call to ask them out. Too early and she’s annoyed I blew up her cell at work. Too late and she’s already in bed, exhausted from a long day. Listen, I’m all for women wearing the pants, but how am I supposed to get in them?

-Why do hotels allow you to cancel on a whim up to 24 hours beforehand instead of charging you up front like airlines do? It seems like hotels are missing a vital opportunity to fuck us. Stop being such a pushover, hotel industry.

-The five sweetest words in the English language: “This is not a bill.”

-There is a small but growing tear in the cushion of my leather couch. Both Google and the store where I bought the sofa tell me that there’s not really much I can do that won’t be very expensive or make it worse. Apparently, a minor rip is the furniture equivalent of a terminal illness. I guess the only thing I can do now is make sure it’s comfortable, which shouldn’t be too difficult. You know, because it’s a couch.

-I went to Comic-Con in San Diego last weekend. It’s so crowded and so weird and so awesome. You’ve never seen so many fat Princess Leias and virgins dressed as Iron Man. The only attendees I felt bad for, though, were the little kids who were forced to dress up with their parents. Listen, Mom and Dad, your child doesn’t want to be a Klingon. Why don’t you just beat him up yourselves and save his classmates the trouble?

-Stop sending mass emails apologizing that your email account was “hacked into.” You’re a fucking nobody. No one hacked into your account. You have a virus. Probably caught it from stupidity.

-Since I’m still recovering from shoulder surgery and my activities are restricted, I’ve taken to riding the exercise bike at the gym. One thing I’ve noticed is that…the bike isn’t plugged into anything. It gives me an electronic onscreen readout, but there’s definitely no power cord. It is possessed? Does it run on batteries? Or am I merely powering it with my pedaling like some sort of giant hamster wheel? I’m going with possessed.

-And, finally, the obvious question about my five-year anniversary of moving to LA is, “Karo, why don’t you just move back to New York?” Well, simply put, I can’t. This is where the entertainment industry is. In between the books and columns and stand-up shows that you guys have seen, I’ve also sold a bunch of pilots and met every studio and network executive who will have me. That can’t happen unless I’m here eating avocado. In fact, the name of the web site TMZ actually comes from the term “Thirty Mile Zone,” which is the union-designated area of LA where most TV shows and movies are produced. Once you exit that area, you’re as irrelevant as if you moved to Canada. So in a way, LA is like “The Truman Show,” only everyone is aware they’re being filmed and no one tries to leave the bubble. Though that might be just because of the traffic. Fuck me!