Monday, September 28, 2009

Judgment - a post for friends

It amazes me how easily people like to pass judgment.

Sure, I get it. It's fun to offer a friend unsolicited advice.

I admit. I've done it. Countless times.

But what's that expression about not judging someone unless you've walked in their shoes....

Lately I've been thinking a lot about friendship.


What is a friend?

What does it mean to be someone's friend?

Is a friend someone you talk to every day?

Once a week?

Once a month?

Or does the time frame not matter?

We all have friends we may not see or even talk to for months - yet when we do reconnect, it's as if no time has passed.

Hmmm, well, I guess everyone defines friendship differently.

To me, I define friendship this way.

A friend is someone you see on a somewhat regular basis.

A friend calls (or emails) you on a regular basis to check in on you.

In fact, a friend knows what's going on with you most, if not all of the time.

I have to ask myself then, how come people who don't talk to me on a regular basis or who have no real idea what's going in with me right now feel the need to pass their judgment on my life?

Maybe it's because they care.

They say things like:

"Just cheer up."

Oh that's so easy to say. Not so easy to do.

Do you have my body and my health problems? I bet you don't. Do you have my so-called circle of "friends"? Do you live in LA? Do you have my family, my parents, my aunts and uncles and extended family to call your own? Unless you're living my life and in my shoes, please shut up.

"If you're unhappy, just move."

I've heard this from countless people.

And sure, while it may seem like "no biggie" to just throw every possession you own into a box and rent a U-Haul, have you moved lately? By yourself? Have you seen how much stuff I have?

Oh they say, "Just move anywhere."

Oh yes, perhaps I could. Pack up and move all my stuff to Oregon or Nevada or Florida.

But moving is one of the single hardest things to do in life. And throw in a bad back, the thought of packing up one box much less an entire apartment's worth isn't exactly inspiring. And if my so-called "friends" don't even have the time to respond to my phone calls or emails, I sincerely doubt they'll have the time to come over and help me pack. And I would never ask friends to actually move me. It's far too much work for a favor.

Moving is hard.

Not just the packing, the taping, the wrapping of things. The finding of a new place to live. Have you driven around lately and looked at 20-30 crappy apartments? I did that when I was 25 and it was EXHAUSTING. I simply do not have the time, energy or motivation to do that now. Sure, I can do most of my research online these days and believe me, I have. And I don't like what I see. Tons of dark, crappy, depressing, tiny little overpriced apartments.

And these same people, when they say, "Oh there are some *great* deals out there" - well yeah, sure there are. And maybe if my last "great, spacious, cute, safe" apartment hadn't been broken into while I was *in* it and I wasn't attacked while asleep IN MY BED, hmmm, maybe I could and would just move to any crappy apartment out there and not care because, "Oh look at the money I'd be saving".

"Just move." Make some change. Any change. That's what they say.

Sure, it's easy if you have a fat bank account and no ties to the city. I've lived in LA 11 years. And love it or hate it, it has become my home. I feel more comfortable here than I have anywhere else in the world. So picking up and leaving my neighborhood, city or state is not an easy decision. My entire business is here. And throwing in the towel on something I've been doing for 11 years is very, very difficult.

Is it the "right" decision"?

When do you go on -- and when do you throw in the towel?

If you're happy 50% of the time, is that ok?

What if some days are 100% great and the other days are 100% horrid?

Is that the time to change?

What if you go somewhere else and it's even worse??

Sure, it could be better. But it's a crap shoot. And I'm not a gambler. If I bet, I make very safe, calculated bets. And that has served me well thus far. I'm not about to start gambling with where I live...

At 25, picking up and moving 3,000 miles across the country seemed easy. Well, it wasn't easy. But I was motivated to do it. And I had family and a couple very close friends living in LA already. The decision wasn't so hard.

I don't think picking up and moving hundreds (or thousands) of miles away to live in a town or city where I know NO ONE at this point in my life makes sense. Because, at this age, most everyone my age is going to be married with kids so if LA is a tough city for singles, I can only imagine it's worse in most other cities where people settle down even earlier.

If I do move anywhere, I'd likely move back to Connecticut. Where houses are expensive but still way more affordable than Los Angeles, there is a good job market and New York City is a fairly easy commute by train.

I really do hate LA. But not the city. I hate many of the people I've met here. I hate that you have to drive EVERYWHERE, often in traffic, often needing to get parking tickets validated and fighting to find a space. I hate that I seem to know and meet many more weird/crazy people here than sane ones. I hate that the men (and women) here are pretty unrealistic about the type of mate they are going to attract. I hate that the vast majority of men that I've met in the music business are sleazy, dishonest, lying cheats. I hate that most of the women I meet (and many of the men) are completely self-absorbed narcissists who talk 90% of the time and rarely let me get a word in edgewise much less ask how I'm doing. And so the cycle of self-absorbed, narcissists continues. I hate that my industry seems to reward greedy, selfish, lying, cheating people. I hate that I can never find anyone to cat sit (even neighbors and former roommates!) and that boarding my cat has often cost me hundreds of dollars - more that entire roundtrip airfares when I've been gone. I hate that many parts of LA are dirty and I feel like I need a shower after going out. I hate that I spend so much time helping other people find dates, jobs and apartments yet I get back about 10% of what I put out. I hate that I can be sick for 3 days and not move from bed and only one friend calls me during that time. I hate that I can be well for a week or more and not one friend calls to say hello or see how I'm doing. I hate that I have to have a nervous breakdown or be in dire straits before anyone offers an ear or a hand to help. I hate that I think I have friends but in reality, those "friends" are really just acquaintances who act like friends to perhaps advance their acting/singing/writing/dancing career - but really could care less about you because you're just someone they see or talk to "sometimes" or when you're at an event together or mutual friend's place. I hate how people completely forget about you once they start dating someone, get engaged or get married. I hate that people are flakey. I hate that because I live in LA, I shouldn't even be thinking, much less writing an email with so many negative thoughts because it's not socially acceptable here to gripe, rant or even look like you're unhappy. No, we must be "fake happy" but not ever "real unhappy".

Now to the positive stuff.

I really do like LA. (Used to be love but now it's like.) The weather is just perfect 95% of the time. I love not having to wear sweaters, thermal underwear, layers, big puffy jackets, snow boots and thick socks. I like that the culture is laid back. I love the diversity. I love the sushi and overall selection of reasonably priced, yummy foods to eat. I love that I live close to the beach. I love that people stay in shape here and yoga is practiced. I love that there are Trader Joe's everywhere and one that's even open til 10pm each night! I love that fresh fruit and veggies seem to be in season year round. I love that people recycle and care about the environment. I love that people like to go hiking. I love that I can walk, hike and play tennis year round. I love that if I get down I can go for a drive up PCH or take a walk on the Santa Monica pier and play skee ball and eat cotton candy.

Wow, I just reread what I wrote there and realize that all the things I "like" about LA are completely superficial. No wonder why I'm miserable here.

Family is what matters.

True friendships.

I have neither of those here. Ok, maybe 2 real friends.

A friend and native Angelino recently said I'm going to be unhappy because I have high expectations. Maybe. But if expecting others to be caring when you care about them is "too high" an expectation then perhaps I really don't fit in here after all.

See, no decision is easy.

Or that black and white.

And until it becomes BLINDINGLY obvious that I need to make a change, well, I guess not much in my life is going to change.

What I need are better friends. People that have time to hang out and be a good friend.

Really, I'm not a horrible, complaining person.

I'm just a single gal, living in LA trying to make it in this big city, living and running businesses all entirely by herself.

It's not easy.

I used to have people who cared.



But of course, those ex's and those friends have moved on. They are all married now. And somehow, because I've chosen to remain single, I'm left with no one in my corner.

I give and give and give to people, hoping they are my friend and that they care.

Yet, they just seem to take and take and take. Or, what little effort they make just isn't enough. I see, you have time to update your facebook profile... but we haven't hung out in months. Sure, updating your fb profile takes only a second. But you see the irony there?

How much of your life have you lived completely on your own without help from family, friends or significant others?

I'm guessing not 99% of your life like me.

Sure, tell me to move. I wasn't married with someone to hang out with and take care of me for years. I'm not a sleazy guy who doesn't get lonely because he has a series of superficial, meaningless relationships. Must be great for guys who can be sluts. Women can't. Well, not this woman anyhow. I've known women who have a revolving door of men in their lives and well, that lifestyle simply doesn't work for me. I'm not *so* desperate that I'm willing to become a whore just for a few minutes of a guy's attention. But plenty of women in LA and around the world I'm sure are.

Anyhow, of course, the only people who have read this blog are my friends from back east. Friends from high school. Not one single response from anyone in LA. That must be a sign, right?

Maybe it is time for a move. No matter how painful or expensive it will be.

Who really cares about this entertainment industry crap anyhow?

No judgment.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Maybe I'm not good at pretending

Maybe my issue with LA is that I'm not good at pretending.

Most people here, well, many move to LA to become actors.

And the culture supports that.

We pretended for a LONG time that the economy was good when it wasn't.

Only recently did Angelinos start to talk about how terrible the economy was. That's how I knew things were getting worse, not better. Because normally happy people were finally admitting they were sad, depressed, or just plain broke.

Angelinos are great at pretending.

Pretending they have money by driving that fancy car.

When in reality they are in massive credit card debt and can't afford lunch much less than Beemer they are driving.

Pretending they are rich when they aren't by wearing expensive clothes, shoes or handbags.

Oh well.

Things will get better.

But in LA it may not happen for a while...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Will things get better?

Life in LA is hard right now.

Thankfully, the raging fire is almost contained. But water mains are breaking all over the city. We're in a major drought. The economy bites.

More layoffs are coming and yet, for some reason, housing prices here are still insane.

I have a few friends who make GOOD money. And they can only afford to buy places in the valley. No offense but I just could not live in the valley. I rather move back to Connecticut. Between the smog and heat and general craziness of the people there, it just doesn't make sense for me. And it's not like places in the valley are *that* much cheaper or bigger or nicer than the west side. Ok, well maybe people move to the valley because they can afford a house there and not on the west side - so the houses in the valley are bigger and nicer than what you would get on the west side for the same money ($500-600K in the valley vs. $1 million for the same thing on the west side). Frankly, I rather move to Orange County. It's newer and nicer and cleaner and the public schools are better. (er, that's in the off chance I actually get married and have kids)...


How can real estate prices still be SO high when so many people are out of work? Am I the only one who thinks it's insane that crappy, small, one bedroom condos with a view of another building are a rip-off at $300-400K??

Maybe everyone sane moved out of LA already...

And the entire entertainment industry is messed up. I feel like it will not recover.

Oh well.

I feel stuck.

It's amazing to me that the only people that regularly read and comment on my facebook status updates are friends from high school. I hate to say it but I just don't think people in LA care. Or maybe they all already have their own circle of friends that they care about. I've cut a LOT of people out in my life here in LA and I have no regrets about that. Flaky, self-absorbed "friends" are not friends worth having.

Why am I still here?

I don't know.

I honestly don't.

I guess if I had some help I would move but for now it's just easier to stay here, stuck, than to make some massive move cross country to Florida or back home.

Anyone want to help??

I mean, my friend said, "it's a GLOBAL recession. It's going to suck anywhere you go..."

But still, I can't help but wonder, if I couldn't find at least one or two friends if I lived somewhere else that had more free time and were more caring and giving than people here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Status update!

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last entry!

I seem to be doing better than a few other friend's blogs I read though - they haven't posted anything in 5-6 months - come on people! I just keep my blog page open in Firefox as a reminder to write something every now and again.

I'm kinda surprised my blog hasn't exploded like in "Julie & Julia" - hmm, should I state that I am going to bake my way through the ENTIRE Mrs. Fields cookbook to get more followers? Would anyone care? Er, probably not.

Anyhow, hello to all my friends reading this (and the lurkers too!)

What's everyone been up to?

Well, here in LA we've had the city's worst fire. It's on its way to being contained. Lucky for me some water main broke last Friday while I was mid-shower. Running out of water with soap and conditioner in your hair is fun fun!!!

In more happy news, I took a road trip last week to Monterey. Had a BLAST. Monterey is just the cleanest, most charming little town! I had some of the best pizza I've had in my life (veggie slices) with a great small salad to boot! The town may shut down at 10pm but at least there is still amazing pizza for late night travelers like myself.

My hotel was sweeeet - I got a great deal bidding using - woot woot! The room was normally $130-180 a night but because I used priceline and it was a Mon/Tues night plan, I got the room for $80 plus tax. It was walking distance to downtown Monterey.

I spent the next day at the Aquarium. Used my first "dual flush" toilet. Loved that the aquarium was so environmentally friendly. It's rated the 3rd best tourist attraction in the U.S. for kids and I can see why - kids didn't scream or yell. I was impressed. I guess between the sea otters and jellyfish and sharks the kids were too mesmerized to cry or complain.

The weather was blissfully perfect. Literally just perfect weather. And the air so fresh! I had forgotten what fresh air smelled like.

I'm pretty sure Monterey is about the most perfect place to live. Of course, it must get pretty cloudy/rainy/cold there in the winter but the days I visited it was just perfect.

The next day I hit Carmel-by-the-sea. Beautiful beach. Shops were quaint, if a bit geared towards 50+ something rich snooty people. Still, the beach was almost devoid of seaweed. I wondered how this could be. Is Carmel so rich that someone goes around scooping up all the seaweed?

I also found a delightful coffee shop that had one of the tastiest apple strudels I've had. Ah. I'm old enough to retire there, right??

Overall, I can't say enough great things about Monterey. The drive to and from up and down PCH is also some of the most breathtaking road I've ever driven. I had to concentrate to prevent myself from driving off a cliff as the sunsets and ocean were so breathtakingly beautiful.

Otherwise, not really much is new.

Seems people in my industry keep getting fired / not hired by the day.

Is there any future in the music business?

I'm beginning to think not.

A lot of people are still employed - but for many, the jobs will not come back.

I knew it was too good to be true - people getting paid to choose music for movies and TV shows.

Oh well.

So what's next?

Teaching would be a good option except I'm pretty sure the state is broke. And public schools pay $20K a year, right?

I wish I could get a job watching reality TV shows. I'm good at that (and no, not the uber-crappy VH1 ones but the good ones like "Top Chef" and "The Amazing Race" and "The Bachelor" :)

So maybe I should just invent a "sham wow" and go from there :)