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While You Were…Away in LA

Alright. So this isn’t the terrible sequel to the horrendously nineties, horrendously wonderful While You Were Sleeping.

But it does involve some nineties celebrities, and celebrities in their nineties.

***

You may recall that I dropped the news that Andy and I are moving to LA.

And I’ve been deathly silent ever since.

Like a boa constrictor.

Mostly because, right after we decided to go for it, we got scrunched and twisted, and felt like things were tightening around us.

Taxes hit the fan big time (I’m sure plenty of y’all feel the hurt), and we had to entertain “what ifs” before damning the torpedoes and fully steaming ahead.

Have there been tears? Yes.

And doubts? Hell yes.

Did we start to think that our lives really were mirroring Revolutionary Road? That our Kathy Bates-like apartment manager would tell the new gay tenants some lamentable story about how we lost ourselves, ran down the road screaming, and were never heard from again?

Of course.

So, yes, there have been some dark days.

But then: Mom to the rescue.

“Honey, look at it this way. If you’re in a pit of despair, the only way you can look is up.”

And, poof.

Up I looked. To a clearer, albeit cloudy sky.

So we’ve chipped away at the negative, have balanced it with the positive, and have continued to move forward.

Sure, there’re still unknowns, but they’re kept in check–always tempered with a bit of optimism and underlain with fortitude.

Because that’s all any of us can do: salvage the good from the bad, shore up a cracked foundation, and keep building.

***

After pulling ourselves out of our funk with the help of a few amazing friends, we set off for LA apartment hunting.

Now, similar to the Powerpoint-driven cross country road trip, we go equipped with Excel spreadsheets chocked-full of various information about neighborhoods, prices, parking, freeway proximity, amenities, and all the other fun stuff.

I venture out a few days before to ensure I have a couple of appointments under my belt before Andy makes it out later in the week.

Once I get the rental car, get a quick lesson on LA driving etiquette, and find the hotel, I steel myself for the coming days and whatever they’ll bring.

Settled and ready.

***

Earlier in the week, I’d spoken to Kaz, sl-landlord of the first apartment I’d planned to tour. After clarifying things a bazillion times the morning of, and him changing the address at the last minute, I fully expect the apartment to look nothing like what he’s described.

And I’m right.

It’s perfectly fine. For someone else.

Next.

An hour later, I find myself en route to the next place, which happens to be in the same area where we ran into Sandra Oh.

And while I doubt Ryan Gosling lives across the way, the apartment itself is super cute. Minus the slightly disturbing glorified anorexia photos on the tenant’s refrigerator, and her rambunctious dogs.

The agent is pleasant, and her name isn’t Kaz.

And after a few laughs, we’re like, “Gurl, she said whaaaaaat?”

Double plus bonus.

***

The next day, after three dry runs of navigating LAX, I finally pick up Andy.

Then we buzz into Hollywood, lunch on some comfort food, and start walking around, reminding ourselves that we’re not on vacation. That part of the point of this entire trip is imagining ourselves here.

The next day we pop into an apartment complex on our list.

Mostly because of the neighborhood, my internal monologue immediately switches into Daria mode. But then we walk inside.

And our jaws drop.

It’s like an Art Deco explosion everywhere.

I pee a little.

And then the hipster apartment agents show us one of the units, leading us up ornate staircases and into crazy-ass-cool Deco elevators.

Surely, I think, the apartment itself can’t be this nice.

But it is.

And so is the rooftop pool. The first of its kind in the nation.

And I think to myself, “I can totally swim here.”

So we say our thank-yous, shoot each other ohmahgerd looks, get into the car, and explode into dialogue.

And we keep it going to the next place.

The one with Deco moldings dripping down from the corners. With etched glass built-ins. With original hardwood floors. With the original Deco vanity the hipster apartment agent “wouldn’t think of removing.”

And I start feeling weak in the knees.

Then, after that one, we go to a wild card.

And wonder if Adam Levine might be our neighbor. (‘Cause y’all know Andy and I would be running each other over in the hallway to ask him for a cup, or gallon, or handful of sugar.)

Oh hai, Adam! Can we borrow a handful of your sugah?

And try to keep it together when the hipster apartment agent (sensing a trend?) says, “Yeah, it’s sort of crazy around here during the Oscars. So, here’s the kitchen.”

And then, after the appointments end, merge onto one of the main freeways and not mind the slowed traffic. (Because one good thing about enduring extreme commutes for several years is that we’re used to traffic. And delays. And more traffic. And we realize LA isn’t as bad as most people make it out to be traffic-wise. Which then reminds us that most people have never had the commutes we’ve had.)

And we think, “Hey, we could live here.”

***

As part of our quasi-decompression time between appointments, we venture to the same mall where we saw Brad and Gary from It’s A Brad, Brad World.

And right as we get to the top of an escalator, a curly-haired guy casts a glance our way.

“I think that’s Ben Savage.”

“Who?”

Boy Meets World. Like, critical show of my adolescence.”

“Oh. I never watched that show.”

“WHAT?!”

“Isn’t he sort of not in anything anymore?”

Which Andy says right behind him.

And I realize that, yes, it’s totally Cory Matthews writ real. Sporting a baseball cap and stubble.

I fight the urge to blurt out, “WHERE IN THE HELL IS TOPANGA?!”

And succeed.

We leave Ben Savage to validate his parking, then go to Pinkberry as a reward for spotting a celebrity. And so I can say that I went to that place that was in that viral pro-gay marriage video.

Pinkberry is our reward.

Not so long after I demolish my praline salted caramel yogurt, Andy spots Edith Flagg.

“Who?”

“The old woman from that reality show about selling houses.”

“Uh.”

“She’s worth a lot of money.”

OH. Well, push her down that goddamned escalator.”

(Kidding! She had helpers. Dammit.)

(Sidenote: Then I read about what she and her family did during WWII and feel really dickish and horrible about the escalator comment.)

Soon enough, we pack it in and head back to the hotel. Rejuvenated with yogurt and celebrity sightings, we prep for the long trip back.

***

Which isn’t too bad.

Minus the sadness of the Las Vegas airport. (Meaning, watching people flush money down the toilet. Which, if I’m not mistaken, is an actual slot machine.)

And the running commentary of the mother with the fussy child.

You know, the one who just has to come to the back of the airplane so that her seatmate will stop being angry. Who’s fine not making her seatmate angry, but is perfectly content to keep the rest of us awake.

Including Flashy Grandma, who, bless her heart, keeps accidentally taking flash photos while scrolling through her digital camera, then yelling back to her friend Louise.

Coupled with FG’s antics and the turbulence, the baby-centric conversation booming over the jet engines behind my head nearly pushes me over the edge.

Chatty Mother to Dribbly, Screaming Lump: “YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE A SLEEPY GIRL!”

Then, to Macho, Straight (STRAIGHT!) Flight Attendant: “What’s your daughter’s name?”

MSFA: “Lyla.”

CM: “OH, we were going to name her Lyla. But she’s Clara. But we’re still not over Lyla.”

FG: *Photographic misfire, awakening nearby drunk couple with heads down on tray tables*

*Turbulence. Seatbelt sign.*

AG: “LOUISE!”

CM: “Do you have a name for your son?”

MFA: “Kalon.”

CM: “Caden?”

MSFA: “KALON. Like ‘talon.’ But with a ‘K.’ It’s Greek and Irish. So, like I was saying, the Concourse baby stroller is like the winnebago of strollers.”

Me: *Looks for sharp object. Finds random fortune cookie. Opens it for life-affirming advice: “An entertainment event in the near future will yield great rewards.” Destroys cookie.*

***

We land.

We drive home.

We collapse.

We talk about the great things ahead.

And we sleep.

And we wake up.

And we talk about the great things ahead.

3 thoughts on “While You Were…Away in LA

  1. Can’t wait for more !

  2. So which did y’all choose?

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