I lived in Los Angeles for a year. I don’t know if anyone could have come to that conclusion on their own, especially considering the content of my blog. I also fully plan on moving back to Los Angeles again at some point. But for now, my place is cleaning out the Playbills in my parents’ basement and selling them on eBay (shameless plug if anyone’s into theatre).
Since I have had the experience of navigating the gridlocked streets, I enjoy passing my wisdom onto others in hopes that my advice will cut some misery from their trip. L.A. is a huge, sprawling city; it can be tough to pick things to do. Look at me… I still didn’t do a lot of shit and I lived there. This list is really targeted to three friends who are traveling out West beginning tomorrow: Mikey, Abby and Eric. But I’m not going to be cliquey about it, anyone who plans on traveling to the City of Angels is allowed to look at this “guide.”
STEP ONE SHOULD BE A RENTAL CAR. I think there’s a myth that it’s possible to get around Los Angeles via public transit, but whomever is saying that is on crack. Get the car. You will be able to see so much more with it.
Sidenote: if anyone is actually planning to use Airbnb while in L.A.; pleaseread my post on how I stayed in a Halfway House by accident before you make a decision.
I feel like “Moving Horror Stories” are to “Big City” as “twerking” is to Miley Cyrus. It doesn’t necessarily always happen, but it makes for a great tale later on. Before I relocated to Los Angeles, I had already lived in two “hub cities;” New York and Philadelphia. Therefore, I foolishly expected to be immune from the “L.A. Story.” There is a certain level of street smart acquired when inhabiting a big city, and I had my fair share of drama in New York City. To my surprise, I was being completely naïve because shit did go down. We weren’t swindled out of hundreds of dollars by a greedy landlord; nor were we forced to live in an illegal basement “apartment” (both of those were actual stories retold to me).
My first misstep was assuming my roommate and I would be able to secure a lease in six days. I arrived in Los Angeles on May 25th (a holiday weekend) and figured we would find something by May 31st. Nope. May 30, 2013 was spent on Airbnb looking for some semblance of temporary housing so we had a roof over our head. I was staying in a hotel in Culver City and my roommate was in a sublet in Long Beach; we needed to act quick. My roommate found a shared bedroom in a house (for $1,650) that we booked in desperation. I decided to ignore the fact that I paid $1,650 a month to live in a two-bedroom apartment in Queens, because it just wasn’t time to be picky. The listing looked fantastic: although we would have to share a bedroom with two single beds (and one bathroom with however many other guests came), it had “sweeping views of Downtown Los Angeles.”
It’s Monday which means a new episode of Girls aired last night. Yes, I’m adding fuel to your “I’m sick of hearing about Lena Dunham and her television show” fire. Last night (Episode 27, “Free Snacks”), viewers watched as Hannah (Dunham) secured an advertorial writing gig at GQ. In true Girls fashion, it is an opportunity that Hannah almost immediately begins to shit on. I will spare you from a full episode summary (if you have yet to see it, or if you can’t stand to watch the show Vulture has an on-point recap) and instead provide just a brief synopsis.
The episode appeared to be a step in the right direction for Hannah; she quits her barista job at Grumpy’s and is initially overjoyed to start a job which utilizes her self-described “myriad talents.” Her excitement quickly dissolves and is replaced with dread after realizing that her cushy new job has become a creative trap for her co-workers. They all started out like Hannah: trying to balance work with their own personal projects in hopes of making a name for themselves in the literary world. To Hannah’s horror, the benefits of GQ are too enticing, too comfortable. Her co-workers have abandoned their dreams in favor of a fully-stocked snack room. Cue a full-scale Hannah Horvath meltdown: complete with tears and a trip to the bathroom to stick her head under the faucet (An aside: Do people actually do that? She’s done that twice, albeit one time she was high on cocaine).
“Free Snacks” was one of the more uncomfortable installments to watch. While last night’s episode did not include anything traditionally unsettling (e.g. Dunham’s character rupturing her eardrum with a Q-Tip amidst a fit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Adam’s mentally unstable sister Caroline (guest-star Gaby Hoffmann) suddenly appearing completely bottomless and crushing a glass with her bare hands), I still experienced bouts of anxiety. Why? Because I hated to admit that I knew exactly how Hannah felt. While I don’t necessarily identify with Hannah Horvath’s obscure, borderline-unhealthy detachment from reality, I do recognize some uncanny parallels to myself within the monster character Lena Dunham has created.
Like… it’s sort of eery. Follow the Yellow Brick Road…
At the end of 2012 and into the beginning of 2013, I watched as my younger sister grappled with the consequences of quitting her job. Around Christmas, she felt she had outgrown the company she was working for (to put it in the nicest way possible). I witnessed the stress she dealt with when she realized she still had Christmas presents to buy before she could return to Baltimore and find a new job. She had to face the probing questions from a firing squad (also known as our fairly large extended family) on Christmas Eve. After the holidays, my sister embarked on a harrowing monthlong journey that few could relate to. Exactly one year later, I found myself in the exact. Same. Boat.
In the United States, the major difference between quitting your job versus being furloughed or laid off is that when you quit, you are ineligible to collect Unemployment. My decision point came in November; I moved to Los Angeles with a goal to work toward: the ability to support myself as a full-time photographer. A goal which is difficult to attain while waking up for work every day at 3:30am. So I made the decision to part ways with my company, which was a month ago (as of yesterday). Today I saw the above video on BuzzFeed (while “working from home”) and for the first time in 31 days, I finally felt someone (besides my dear sister) could relate to me without simultaneously shitting on me.
So I give you the Conor Clancy List Of 10 Awkward Moments When You’re Unemployed in Your Twenties. And please, anyone who has been in/is currently dealing with this situation feel free to share YOUR 10 Awkward Moments!