There Was A Time

Sometimes, if the air is right and the light hits a certain way, I can close my eyes and remember what it was like to be new.

Fifteen years ago, I had lived in Los Angeles for one month and four days. I left an abusive relationship behind on the absolute other side of the country. You can’t drive much farther in a relatively straight line than I did in the continental United States. I packed up all my stuff in a tiny U-Haul trailer and moved from one ocean to the other. 3,150 miles (5069.43 km). My best friend and I did it in three and a half days.

Screen shot 2014-01-25 at 9.06.44 AM

It was another fresh start, my second, but this time, without a monster. I spent my days driving around looking for work and an apartment since I had neither. I was staying with a friend in a tiny studio apartment.

Eventually, my best friend and I moved into our awesome loft space downtown Los Angeles in a converted paper mill by the 4th Street bridge. The view from my front door was the same bridge Repo Man and a billion other movies were filmed.

Repo Man, Universal Studios.
Repo Man, Universal Studios.

Sometimes, around this time of year, I like to remember the splendor that was LA at that time. It was huge, especially since I moved from Boston, which likes to pretend it’s a big city, but is really tiny. Los Angeles is so big, that after fifteen years, that are still parts of it with which I am unfamiliar.

Fifteen years ago was a time when…

  • Palm trees were a novelty.
  • Running into a celebrity in a supermarket was something that was really remarkable.
  • I would drive by a location that was in a movie, recognize it and find that really cool.
  • 60 degrees was shorts weather, not leather jacket and boots weather.
  • Seeing a notice like this one posted outside my home was not a major inconvenience that engenders groans and rolling eyes like now, but movie magic!
    2014-01-25 08.59.14
  • Sunshine in winter confused me.
  • Everything was so new. Even the oldest structures in Los Angeles are brand new compared to the east coast.
  • Green things growing in January were amazing. Flowers flower year round here.
  • Pastel houses with Spanish roofs seemed incredibly impractical.
  • Steep driveways in the hills automatically made me wonder how the people who lived there got in and out of them in snow and ice before I remembered that there was none.
  • I ceremoniously threw my ice scraper away.
  • I realized that all of my clothing was way too warm.
  • I discovered that Los Angeles traffic is not all hype.
  • I kept thinking of the ocean being east, not west, and it screwed up my bearings constantly. I still have trouble with east and west even now, because of this.
  • I was amazed by mountains everywhere.
  • The amount of lights reflected from the city made the stars disappear at night.
  • The air smelled differently.
  • The leaves fall off the trees in November and December, not in September and October. And there are really only two seasons: fall and summer.
  • I fell in love with Los Angeles winters the first time we met. I’m still madly in love with them fifteen years later.

If the air is right and the light hits a certain way, I can close my eyes and remember what it was like to be new. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach and the excitement of a fresh start in a city so big that you could spend a lifetime exploring it.