It had been a little better than 10 days since I’d actually owned roll-on human-style antiperspirant. In the meantime, I’d borrowed liberally from Caitlin M. Foyt’s unscented unisex Ban deodorant to avoid being likened to some sort of barnyard animal.
My lack of procurement of what many consider a basic staple of personal hygiene is indicative of the mass of chaos days D+3 through D+7 had been. We hit the ground running on the apartment search upon arriving in Los Angeles. Starting Sunday, D+3 or three days after D-Day, the day of departure, for you lay people, we were scrambling for somewhere to live. It was about two hours after our arrival in the city after 3.5 days of driving.
We finally signed a lease on D+12, after much chagrin in the looking. After scouring Craigslist, the easiest of Internet classifieds to peruse, we had finally taken to just wandering streets near where we wanted to live, scanning for ubiquitous FOR RENT signs. (Read and see more on the Great L.A. Apartment Hunt of 2010 on caitlinmfoyt.com.)
Location was our biggest issue. For my part, I hate driving, so a walkable neighborhood is a huge selling point for me. Los Angeles is a driving city, complete with terrifying traffic, so having home around the block from groceries, restaurants, coffee shops, drug stores, movie theaters and bars is very important to me. In fact, it’s much, much more important than the apartment itself. I’m prepared to live in any manner of rat-infested earthquake hazard if only I don’t have to drive.
Fortunately, the pickier of the two of us prevailed and we found a nice apartment in the location I wanted. Roughly 40,000 thrift stores later, we’ve started to put together what looks like a real-live apartment living space, with only a few pieces of garbage-quality furniture. The worst of it Caitlin is in the process of refinishing or otherwise making cool. Side effect: I now have a better geographical knowledge of the immediate area than I ever have anywhere I’ve lived.
Meanwhile, the ordeal of L.A. has been punctuated quite well by spectacular weather and the easygoing, active atmosphere I’ve been craving. Hanging with high school friend and Nick Hurwitch-roommate Josh Kade, Caitlin and I attending inside the first 10 days two separate art shows, which brings my total art shows attended ever to four. I’m excited about this development.
And so far the living is easy. Caitlin remains the intrepid job-hunter, but her prospects are getting better every day, so I haven’t lapsed into that mild financial panic that I can feel creeping in. We still have money saved, one must remember. We have planned for this contingency.
But already I’m writing more, thinking about writing more, excited about writing more, seeing possibilities for the betterment and extension of writing, and that’s exactly what this is all about. Close proximity with Nick has reignited many various projects we’ve been back-burner-ing for the better part of the last year, not the least of which is THE TIME TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO TIME TRAVEL, a hopefully hilarious pop-culture/fiction/reference guide to theoretical science and made-up experience in temporal relocation. I’m currently rereading old chapters, dressing up our outline and writing the book proposal. With a little sweat, the first query letters could be going out as early as the beginning of next week.
My head’s also buzzing with a few new ideas. I woke up the other idea in the new IKEA bed I built awash with all the important details of a new unaffiliated short story, which I hope to write within the next few days (along with 90 other things I keep slating for myself to accomplish). It shouldn’t be long and it’s literary and it’s deep and I hope it’s as artsy as I’m imagining it to be, because I sometimes have a tendency to write nerdslop rather than art.
I also have to report that living with Caitlin is just as phenomenal as I predicted. She’s the best roommate I’ve ever had, and her cooking kicks ass, despite her self-deprecation. I very much appreciate that.
To be noted: The many (many) purposely discouraging reports of the supposedly “higher cost of living” in Los Angeles are exaggerated. Cost of living isn’t at Southeast Michigan standards, to be sure. But anybody thinking about moving out here shouldn’t be discouraged by the mostly older people who look at you with slight disappointment or perhaps annoyance and who almost always intone in that same condescending way, “Well you know – the cost of living out there is a lot higher.”
A lot is a relative term. It’s a city. Adjust cost estimates accordingly. But don’t let anyone scare you – we’re doing just fine on one relatively low income for the time being. The situation is hopefully temporary, but even if it wasn’t – we’re under our own steam and nobody’s crying “Iceberg!” just yet.
This is Hornshaw, D+24, 13:14 PST.