Tonight (Tuesday) marks the 1 week anniversary of our decision to move to Portland. Since then, Ben gave 2 week’s notice at his job, I emailed all my clients about the move, we’ve reserved a moving van for Feb. 25, given 30 day’s notice to our apartment, and applied for a new apartment in Portland. Woodstock adjacent, is how I’m told the neighborhood could be described. As far as I’m concerned, it looks adorable, and far enough away from any kind of main drag so as to (hopefully) reduce the amount of fist fights I can hear from my bed.
I can’t believe it’s only been a week. Ben already has work, all my clients are keeping me through the move, and I’m already talking to some potential new clients in Oregon. I was sure we were going to lose money through this move, but there’s a chance the opposite could happen.
Everybody in Los Angeles is shocked that we’re leaving the veritable paradise that is East Hawthorne. And when I bring up the fact that everything is expensive, the food is practically inedible, and the air is literally killing us, everybody just does that little wave and sort of sighs. As if expelling second-hand smog will carry my problems away.
Them: How could you leave LA?
Me: The air is brown.
Them: But it’s 85 degrees in winter!
That’s not a selling point. More like a reminder that we’re suffocating the only habitable planet we can actually travel to.
Everywhere I go, I think about how much I hate this place. We went to the beach yesterday, and as we were looking out over the glittering ocean, I started to get prematurely nostalgic. “It’s so pretty” I said to Ben. “Yeah, but the sky…” he answered. And sure enough, off in the distance was a layer of baby poo brown smudge kissing the horizon.
I didn’t used to hate this place so much. I used to feel a real kinship with LA.
They say you should never see the kitchen in your favorite restaurant, and I didn’t just see LA’s kitchen, I worked in it. I cleaned the floors in it. If I was a dramatic person, I’d say that I’ve been face to face with the stinking rotten core of this city, and I’m out.
Everybody I talk to says that LA is getting worse. The other day friend Tiffany posted a link to 20 Things Nobody Tells You About Moving Out Of Southern California, written by a guy who must have moved sometime in 2005, because has one slide each in memory of In-N-Out and So Cal produce. Both fine examples of the dramatic drop in quality this city is experiencing. Anybody who’s even managed to fight the atrocious, human rights-abusive line at an In-N-Out in the last 10 years has probably noticed that they don’t taste the same as they used to. In-N-Out Burger has gotten shitty. And yeah, we used to have “strawberries the size of your fist that taste like sugar,” but not since the Clinton we were referring to when we said “Clinton” was a dude. A dude we didn’t yet consider synonymous with oval office oral sex.
All the people who came to LA to follow a dream have either given up on it, make enough money that they never have to leave Santa Monica, are dead, or have moved to the Pacific Northwest. There’s nothing here for regular people looking to start something. I don’t want to get all smug and have to eat LA crow when Portland turns out to be as stupid and disappointing (a distinct possibility), but I feel obligated to have at least a passing certainty that everywhere else sucks just as much before I come back.
Just so I can look back at this in three months when I’m dying of home-sickness: I hate Los Angeles. I hate the culture, I hate the weather, I hate the people, and the food. I hate the industry and the freeways, and the infrastructure and the appallingly messed up value system in this town. I hate that half the kids I went to school with had agents. I hate that it’s prohibitively dangerous to ride a bike anywhere in county limits. I hate that people think that wading up a scrub-brush covered hill in the desert is the same thing as hiking. YOU’RE NOT BREATHING HARD BECAUSE THAT WAS STRENUOUS. YOU’RE BREATHING HARD BECAUSE THE AIR IS 50% CARBON DIOXIDE AT THIS ALTITUDE.