I always get in trouble with people when I complain about Los Angeles. But I don't really care.
I think I've been through some really rough spots in my life over the past few years and boy do you find out who your friends are. Or should I say, you really find out who your "true" friends are and who was pretending.
I used to love LA. And I still do. Just not as much as before. (It was 95% before and now it's 50% if that?)
I mean, you can't go wrong with the weather and 10 million restaurants and things to do every night. Every time I go home to Connecticut I marvel at the poor selection of movie show times. There's no "or we *could* drive to the Grove and see it there at 8:05pm instead of 7:30pm at the Arclight or in Century City." We're way spoiled in terms of concerts and comedy clubs and shopping. Oh the shopping. Don't get me started.
Do you ski? Do you surf? Welcome to LA. Perhaps the only place in the world where you can do both in the same day (ironically I do neither.)
However, lately, I've seen so many of my friends and colleagues move away. I just lost another friend to Seattle (hope you're having fun up there Shelly!) and more are on their way out now as I type this....
The lure of Los Angeles is so strong in fact that I have more than a handful of friends who have stayed here for years, despite their inability to find full-time work after being laid off from a job. Of course, who can blame them? The economy is pretty crappy everywhere and if I were going to be unemployed, much better to be out of work in Los Angeles where you can drive to the beach every day than living in Missouri or Minnesota or some way too cold or way too hot place where there isn't much to do but perhaps be depressed at being out of work.
And I don't fault anyone really because we all change as time goes on.
Everyone I know is doing the best they can.
Even friends with jobs are scraping to get by.
Because the cost of EVERYTHING has risen - from gas to food to health insurance. How can anyone afford to live in this country when wages are overall - flat or declining (if you're "lucky" enough to even have a job) and the cost of everything is going up? Yet we sit here in front of our computers and do nothing other than put up a few ranty facebook status updates or call and write our representatives who seem to do nothing. We may protest and take to the streets but that seems to have the same effect = nothing. I wish Americans would copy the French and burn some shit down and get arrested or make more of a mess than we do here. Maybe Americans really are lazy and stupid. What can you do?
Anyhow, I'm not Superman (Supergirl?) and neither are you. So unless you have a secret to making oodles more money in this economy, I don't know how you are doing it.
What was my point?
My point is:
Does LA suck now because the economy is crappy? Is living in Los Angeles right now akin to being in a tough marriage? Stick with it but things will get better? (Some signs point to yes. But most seem to point to "no" as the state is broke. But many states are broke - not just California.)
Does LA now resemble more of a drug addiction for those still live here? As in, you know it's bad for you (economically), but the highs (weather, food, things to do, sunshine) are so good. Do you just need to quit cold turkey? Or is taking a drug ok?
I'm not sure of what the answer is.
Maybe those of us that are left in Los Angeles are just optimistic. We hope things will improve.
Or are those of us that are left just foolish and stupid? We stay here hoping things will get better when they probably will only continue to get worse? I don't have the answer but I do know that smart people probably don't stick around in a fire to see what is going to burn down - they get the hell out. (Now if you have a job, are married or in a good relationship, have people in LA that truly care about you and help you, have kids or are generally "loving" LA feel free to ignore everything I've just written.)
A good friend of mine is talking about moving to Bali.
I've head of numerous people in the music business (and in other jobs) who have just up and quit their job. I mean, how bad is your job that you're willing to forsake a paycheck in this economy? Because the reality is, unless you have parents who can support you or some type of trust fund, there many not be another job to fall back on. Even years from now. Why should employers hire more people when they can "get by" with a skeleton crew? My friend's brother works at a warehouse and they recently fired ALL the full-time staff except him and offered them their old job back at a fraction of their old salary with less / no benefits.
Companies continue to downsize to the point of straining the employees that are left to the point where those employees rather quit than deal with the torture of uber-stressful and demanding jobs. I see the woman who works down the hall from me in her office sometimes at 8 or 9pm at night on a REGULAR basis. I sure hope she's getting overtime but something tells me she isn't and is just working her tail off to keep her job.
Everyone is just looking out for themselves these days (and who can blame them) and it's a hard, hard place to live where people don't care about you but only have their own interests at heart.
I don't have the solution.