Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Phoneless in Los Angeles

The week in LA went by in a flash. My cell phone died on day two of the trip, which left me feeling strangely lost and isolated. No one could call me; I couldn't call anyone. All I could do was text. The friend I was staying with had no land line, and my attempts to find a payphone I would be willing to touch without gloves proved impossible. So I was in Los Angeles, but cut off from the rest of the world.

Besides the communication problems, I had a blast. I was worried that I would experience some sort of culture shock coming back to the big city, but I slipped right back into the groove of things. I didn't even mind the traffic, which was actually a little light, thanks to a combination of spring break and soaring unemployment.

I spent a day at the Getty, which was beautiful as always. Then spent most of the rest of the trip shopping and going to dinners. I finally got to go to the Americana in Glendale, but was a little disappointed. It's a beautiful development, but I found the store selection lacking. I did get to spend a day at my beloved Fashion Square and happened upon a shoe sale at Macy's. I'm wearing my new shoes right now, and they are fabulous. I didn't get to catch a movie at Arclight, and I never made it to Chin Chin for their Noodles in Peanut Sauce. I did have dinner at Beso, which is a gorgeous restaurant owned by Todd English and Eva Langoria. Lovely food, lovely atmosphere. It's amazing how much Hollywood has transformed, thanks to a string of trendy restaurants, yogurt shops and high-end retail stores.

So, the big question is how do I feel now? I love Los Angeles. The weather was perfect and I had a great time. I'm also aware that I was in vacation mode. It's not like I was going to work, picking up dry cleaning and shopping for groceries. I was relaxing and enjoying the best parts of the city, without the pressure of the daily grind. I do miss it, though. It's hard to leave. But I miss Michael and Henry and Asheville, too. What happens next is not a question that will be resolved easily or soon. But it was good to be back in L.A. It felt like home. I felt like I still belonged here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back to La La Land

Couple of quick news items. First, I missed the biggest snowfall of the year in Asheville, because I was in San Francisco for a convention. My flight back even got delayed a day because of ice in Atlanta. Which was nice because I got an extra day in SF, but then by the time I got back, all the snow had melted.

A week after the snowstorm, it was Spring. The temps were in the 80s, I was wearing shorts and putting away all my sweaters. Now it's cold and rainy. So I'm going to Los Angeles.

I was originally supposed to be going to a convention, but it got canceled, so now I'm just going for fun. This is momentous because it will be my first visit back since moving to Asheville. Michael's been back twice now, but this will be my first return, and I'm going alone. I am excited and nervous and anxious. Will LA have passed me by? Have I changed too much to fit in now? Are all the after-school specials right? Can you never go home again?

I'm looking forward to seeing friends and catching up on everything I've missed. But I'm also looking forward to re-immersing myself in my old routines and hang-outs, to see if it makes me long to return to Asheville or unpack and stay in LA. I want to stroll through Fashion Square (the most underrated mall in Los Angeles), have terrible service at Jerry's Famous Deli and catch a movie at Arclight (where latecomers don't ask your whole party to move over so they can sit wherever they want). I want to walk down Ventura, humming "Valley Girl" and see if my favorite toy stores have closed because I moved away. I want to go shoe shopping. In fact, I may get off the plane and go straight to the Kenneth Cole store and stay there for a week. And I want to horde boxes of See's Candies like a Russian grabbing Levis.

It'll be a fun week.