I have a one-way ticket leaving LAX and arriving at JFK on July 5th, and I can’t help thinking that somewhere between Elmwood and Wilshire, somewhere along Third Street, somewhere on Emily’s couch, somewhere in line for Veggie Grill, somewhere in the aisles of the Beverly Hills library, somewhere at the counter of Fred 62, somewhere near that little pocket of La Cienega that smells like a campfire (I don’t know what it is or where it comes from, but I roll down my windows and I could eat that smell), somewhere there is a part of me that doesn’t want to go.
But I’m not sure I want to stay either, and these constant in-betweeny, life-so-meany feelings have typified my time out here. I like being alone, but I’m lonely. I’m grateful for the free time, but I spend most of it asleep. I was glad to get a break from “real life,” but I feel disconnected. And it’s been hard, really hard, to fess up and own all of my expectations and raging disappointments. I figured I could come out to Los Angeles and be on my walkabout and live in a freer and richer way. I thought I would ignite a desire that I often find myself wanting to tamp down. I came out here to chase life and wound up sleeping too much and making soy, decaf lattes with extra sides of steamed milk.
Or so it feels. It’s much more involved, I know. There’s been the good, there’s been the not so good, and there’s been the holy shit, I came to Los Angeles and lost my righteous mind and I’m staring into the abyss and it’s black just like they say and good God, how does anybody find the energy to love or write or drink soda or get dressed or pump gas or care about a neighbor when the world feels this small and dismal? Yeah, there’s been some of that, too.
But I can say this. I believe that I’m looking for something (someone? myself?), and that quest won’t end when I get off the plane. There is a search here, I have questions about how to live, about how I live, and as utterly lost as I’ve felt, there is a part of me that feels firmly guided by this curiosity. And there are moments. Small seconds when I feel like I’m brushing against something important, there is something that’s calling out. When I was in Austin a while back, we went to a brewery and afterwards we walked to our cars. The Texas air was solid with humidity, I was two beer giggly, the grass was freshly cut, you could smell everything. My friends were there with me, the night was in front of us, there was a breeze that caught the hem of my shorts. I felt young, but mature. I felt like I belonged to something, to other people. I was caught in that moment that seems to exist only in musicals– that pre-song minute when words fail, and the only thing that can express your wildness is a showtune, I felt ready to snap my fingers and yell “hit it, boys!” and cha-cha-cha my way back to the rental car. But mostly I felt like my life was cracking open and offering me the very great gift of possibility. Anything could happen. Anything could have happened out here in LA. Anything could happen in New York. I’m just hoping that I’m paying close enough attention to notice.