When I heard that there was a show coming to the CW named “The LA Complex” I assumed it would be an awesome new show about twentysomethings that have this common mental affliction that is some sort of fomo. Alas I was mistaken it is literally a tv show about a bunch of LA kids living in a nice apartment building. It looks like it might be the Palazzo on 3rd. I haven’t watched it but I think they are going for a super pretentious “Friends” with beautiful models/first time actors. The experiment failed because, surprise, middle America doesn’t want to know how awesome it is to live in a $4000 a month apartment and go out to a thousand dollar dinner on a Tuesday night. It makes them jealous. The show actually turned in the worst ratings ever for a network drama. This pleased me.
But then I thought about what my version of the show would have been, where you use “complex” like they use it with Herpes not to mean a physical structure. Wait, what’s that, it’s Herpes Simplex? Does complex never mean like “a situation?” Whatever, fuck it I’m rolling with it.
The thing is, Los Angeles chews people up and spits them out. I have a fairly stressful job in which I have to ask people to do something every day that they don’t want to do. I am highly non-confrontational (sober) so it stresses me out to do this. Most people think that the worst job in the world would be digging ditches or removing splattered possums from the asphalt but I would gladly do that over maybe being one of those unicef or Red Cross people that walks around “HEY HOW ARE YA? CAN I TALK TO YOU FOR A MINUTE ABOUT POVERTY? SIGN ON THIS LINE AND TEN DOLLARS WILL BE DEDUCTED EVERY MONTH TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!” Fuck you and your cause. I’ve had to change my natural route so many times to avoid those situations. But there are a million people out here doing something that they don’t necessarily want to do. Waitresses that go home after a slow night with their shitty tips and have to look for something to sell to be able to make rent, stand-ups that have to beg the club they tell jokes at for free food from the kitchen because they simply can’t palate pasta one more time.
Conversely there is always something to do to blow off steam. I can’t tell you how blessed I am that I can just say fuck it and bike down to Hermosa Beach and challenge a group of kids to volleyball, or I can get my inner 12 year old on and go body surfing down by the Venice pier, it’s amazing. I’m going to see Tosh tonight because he records his show 2 miles away from me and I know someone that works there. Nowhere else in the world am I afforded these opportunities.
But then there is the flip side of this, it’s not like LA is a big city park offering free fun activities for all…in fact all the parks are full of homelessness so I avoid to pretend that there is nothing wrong with the world. No, LA is a big fucking rat race and there is so much pressure to keep up. Go out to drinks, meet this person that can further your career at some club, god forbid you take someone out to dinner because they want to help you with your resume. Last time I went out to drinks I spent easily 100 bucks, and it was a Tuesday. Tuesday are my $30 budget days, so I can have $400 weekend. That subsequent Friday I had to cook dinner, and go to a shitty dive based on alcohol prices instead of just doing what I wanted to do.
It’s the most expensive city in the country, yet everyone is too broke to live this way, but in a society where image is everything, people just deal with the consequences later. I’m sure the tears of underemployed 20 year olds the week before rent is do in LA could give all of Africa clean water for the next 50 years. I wonder if there is a spike in average calls home during that time period.
I read an interesting Huff Po article today, check it out. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tamara-shayne-kagel/privilege_b_1476705.html?ref=career--money
Usually articles written in this tone are just so pathetic, and remind me of that fat bitch from Girls, and when people whine about how they are going to pay the bills when they are aspiring writers, it literally makes me vomit. But this article was different.
The thing is, if you are an aspiring writer, you are probably going to come out to LA, inconvenience your friends and fail. This city will chew you up and spit you out like it has millions before you, and will millions after you. It’s time to find something else you are at least decent at. Don’t give up on your dream, but just learn how to pour coffee. It can’t be that hard. Stay in on a Tuesday and scratch down 5000 words…it’s not that hard. If you did that twice a week for 2 months you would have 100,000 words. Boom that’s like novel length homey.
I know it’s fucking hard. It’s as hard as going to the gym, or answering work emails when it’s so much easier to just watch reruns of Sunny. But if you learn to appreciate the taste of 2 buck Chuck’s cab, it’s not too bad. There are days when I literally cannot wait to get home from work and lock myself in my room and write. It’s usually when I think I have an amazing idea. And then I get a text that there is something interesting going on and I have to choose. What will ultimately define your success or lack there of in LA is what decision you make.