I was sitting on the floor of a completely unfurnished apartment, slurping up some Ramen that for some reason tasted oh so delicious, and sipping on some fancy but tepid wine thanks to the absence of a refrigerator. My boyfriend mentions something about my best friend. Something that he knew and that I didn’t, something relatively insignificant and stupid.
And it was at that moment that my lip started to quiver. It was that kind of quiver that only comes when I am completely and utterly exhausted (and I was) or when I am trying not to cry during that scene in 50/50 where Joseph Gordan-Levitt hugs his mother in the hospital. It’s amazing how I cry for stupid reasons and am cold sober at the legit sorrows.
My poor boyfriend put his hand on my knee and gently asked, “You going to be okay out here, love?”
It was the most bizarre question so far. And I immediately panicked. Did he thing I was going to have a nervous breakdown? Did he think I was going to be a wreck of a person, a shell of who I once was in Colorado, Chicago, or even Arizona? Was this a real worry?
“Why?” I quivered.
“You just…seem…” (he’s pausing to choose his words wisely here. These pauses put me on edge because if I know anything, it’s that when people are trying not to offend it usually means there is an unspoken thought that is incredibly offensive) “emotional.”
I almost laugh out loud over my quiver, but I don’t seeing as by doing so I am proving his point. Nothing makes you look more emotional than crying and laughing at the same time. Unless it’s during that scene in Young Frankenstein when The Monster sings “Putting on the Ritz.” Gets me every time.
I cannot believe how loved I am sometimes. Somehow me, awkward, not-ever-popular, messy, unattractive me landed a guy like Zach. A handsome, thoughtful, calm, intelligent soul who packed up his life and moved to Southern California for no other real reason than because he loved me. I had told myself I needed to take care of him once we got out here. I needed to check in on his state of being and not get overwhelmed in my Hollywood excitement.
And yet here he was, living out of a suitcase, about to discover bugs in our fridge (not for another day, but for some reason I think we both felt it coming), no job, no car, and a massive amount of student loan debt hanging over his shoulders, and this dude is asking me, the selfish girl who wanted to move out here in the first place, how I am doing.
Mind blown. How did I get him, really? It’s times like these that I convince myself that I am on some version of The Truman Show (don’t deny it, everyone thought they were on their own Truman show after viewing that crazy-ass movie), and Zach was cast in the part of ideal boyfriend. It sometimes seems to be the only way to explain it.
But back to the floor, the ramen, the pre-bug-infested fridge, and my quiver.
It was really such a loaded yet innocent question. Will I do all right even though I’m emotional?
And the answer, for the record, and for every male who has ever worried about a female because of her emotional state, will henceforth always and forever be, may it be decreed to the nation and etched on to all the wonders of the world, the answer will always be a boastful and resounding “YES.”
I’m painting myself in a poor light compared to my boyfriend. I know I am not unattractive and completely undeserving. Or I’m just going to tell myself I’m not. I have good hair days on occasion, and I know I am inherently kind to people I date. I don’t cheat or abuse and I try to do cute things all the time like buy dorky gifts or surprise with food and alcohol. In fact, I’ve taken pride in the past week that I have been in LA and to which I’ve spent nearly 24/7 with Zach in the fact that I have had moments of taking care of him. I know I need him just about as much as I need to feel like he needs me, and hopefully he actually does. My frazzled state results in lip quiver laugh fests, his results in a lot of hand on forehead rubbing and quiet sighs. Our apartment search was fun but stressful, I think it was Zach’s time to fully realize his decision to come to an expensive not-Colorado city without a job. I took pride in calming him down and being optimistic. I took a lot of pride in having the good credit to get our dream place. And I took a heaping shit ton of pride in later finding the two nice couches for $100 from a clean Mormon family on craigslist.
The fact of the matter is, I had to give myself permission to get lost out here. Mentally, I mean, Zach has a great sense of direction thank god. The truth is, although this is a new journey that Zach and I are sharing together, this isn’t my first rodeo. (What I really wanted to say there was “this isn’t my first time venturing into the vast unknown, I’ve just always been alone.” But then I realized I could use the word ‘rodeo’ and I liked that a whole lot better.)
My first cry-fest due to change was when I was 18 years old and my parents had dropped me off at my PV Main dorms at Arizona State University. To this day I have no idea why the fuck I decided to go to school there. I had no interest in making a home in Arizona, or even really liking the hot weather all that much. I always knew I wanted to eventually go to Chicago and it’s not like AZ was near there at all. In the end I am endlessly thankful for that decision as college ended up being one of those real life changer things, but Jesus Christ, that first night in the dorms? No, I’m gonna go ahead and say what it really was, my first early evening in the dorms. Like, two seconds after my parents dropped me off after arguing all day on how to carry my stuff up to the third floor of these dumpy dorms, after I knew I was going to see them in the morning for one last goodbye. After I had met my roommate who was wanting to go to a hookah bar with her local friends and super old boyfriend. After all that, I had a brief moment in my dorm room, fucking sobbing.
I didn’t know why at the time but my hindsight is fantastic. I was crying because I was in a brand new state and my brain was on information overload. I quivered because my brain was like a car that overheated, and the result was tears in lieu of smoke.
Here is a rundown of thoughts from the fateful day:
“Oooo palm trees”
“Hi nice to meet you new roommate.”
“Where are all my classes?”
“Where are the mountains?
“Dad, my bookshelf should go over there.”
“Orientation starts at 7am, better get my alarm out to set it.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“God is it always this hot?”
“Be nice to Mom, she’s emotional right now.”
“Why is my laptop not working with the internet?”
“Look! Comedy auditions.”
“You’re leaving tomorrow?”
“Wow Arizona is far from home.”
“Nice to meet you.”
And, all by myself in the shitty little dorm room, I cried.
And then the next four years were the greatest times ever.
Chicago was an even more horrendous experience. It was super foreign, my boyfriend wasn’t coming with me, and I didn’t have the safety net of being a student. When I think back of all the places I’ve gone and life adjustments I’ve made, it makes me realize how old I am. Jesus, my youth is gone sonnnnnn.
That said, Chicago was vaster, crazier, more expensive, and I had a night alone in my big ass schoolhouse apartment where I cried from the mind overheating. Public transit found, job search, comedy sign up, friend discovering, finding an agent blahblahblahblah and wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Cut to a month in, and I am loving being young with my first city love. I will always hold you dear to my heart, Chicago. I won’t let this beach take you out of my soul. You are my Paris, LA is my Casablanca.
Okay, now back to ramen, wine, no bugs, and floor.
Am I emotional?
OF COURSE I’M FUCKING EMOTIONAL.
In three days I have reconnected with old friends, found an apartment, spent way too much money and through all of that I still couldn’t get over my fleeting thought of that dude I saw at the short film competition we attended Sunday night.
The second night Zach and I were here, John and David of Them Roomies were in the finals of a short film competition. They’re short was awesome, but they lost to another high budget short called “Good Cops.”
As the five men accepted the $500 prize, I found my eyes going to the leader of the “Good Cop” pack. He was maybe mid-30’s, dressed in a long sleeve collar button up covered by a lime green sweater-vest. He had longer hair that curved right behind his ears and a scruff of a beard. He fiddled with the wedding band on his finger, as did the other four men accepting the award. He was handsome even behind his slight belly that protruded from his sweater vest and fleck of gray strands in his gelled coif. He seemed nice enough, incredibly proud of his short, and appreciative in the win garnered by bringing more people in the audience.
Considering the short had a slow motion action shot the followed a bullet into someone’s chest, I was fairly certain the short cost way more than the $500 that they won.
And although I should have felt happy for their win (and I wasn’t cuz it meant John and David lost. But if we pretended that I was just an outsider with no incentive to like any one particular short film, then hypothetically I should have felt happy for these guys), I instead felt sad for them.
This man, with the youth he still had in his eyes, hair, and attire, probably has been working for a long time out here trying to make it. Now, I don’t know his story. Hopefully this short was a side project and by day he was a PA on some kickass cop show with lots of slow motion flying bullets. But on the surface, I felt sorry for this man.
And I realized that I’m going to run into a lot of sad people while I’m out here. And that, along with the unpacking, the Ikea shopping, the ditching a bug fridge and spending money on a new fridge, and eating pie at that cool ass pie place down the street, and constantly double-taking for celebrity sightings, and Hollywood Blvd with the Walk of Fame and the eventual exciting trip to Disneyland, is where my mind was, and that is why I started crying.
I am fully aware that I am in a super saturated state of writers, actors, and performers. I am fully aware that there is a chance I won’t make it and that I got to give it my best shot anyway. This isn’t a shocker that we are on a giant beach full of people who want what you want and will do anything to get it. This isn’t a shocking realization or a loss of innocence or anything. In fact, I have quite enjoyed the PA assistants who knocked on our new apartment door and the iO folks I passed on the Walk of Fame and especially this slew of coffee dates I have with other writers who are friend of a friend of my brother’s. I’m okay with that, and I’m prepared.
I just wasn’t prepared to feel sad for the guy in the green sweatervest.
I am emotional right now. I will be laughing and crying for a while. My state is as hilly as these new hills that surround us. At any given time during the day I may want to throw a hissy fit or jump in giggly excitement. My brain is overheating and really, Zach, that is okay.
I slurped a giant wet bite of my delicious chicken flavored ramen. God, we don’t even know what’s coming with the fridge yet, or the fact that later (like right now as I am typing. Now..and now… and NOW) I would be sitting in a coffee shop watching Hasidic Jew after Hasidic Jew pass me by in full garb. (I wonder what those black top hats signify anyway. Fascinating.) As we laid on the floor we didn’t even know the stress we’d eventually find with making our new printer work or the smile we get when we see a giant painting of John Ritter on the side of a building. At this point I am seriously quivering because Zach knew John’s birthday plans before me, and for some reason I was super territorial at that moment regarding my friendship with my best buddy John.
This difference this time around is I am going through this move with someone else for the first time. Before it was in a gross dorm room, or echoey schoolhouse. But now, it’s an adventure with the honest to god love of my life. Right now there are two people in this apartment, not just me. Golly, I hope I can take care of him like he was of me right at that moment.
I’ve been emailed and facebooked and voicemailed with the same question: how’s it going so far? Well, like my emotions, it’s a lot of things. It’s a big rush of kaleidoscope thoughts, (p.s. I just realized I didn’t have a clue with how to spell kaleidoscope.) I saw Jet Eveleth on a Sears TV screen yesterday and she lives in Chicago and I got confused. I ate the most expensive Matzo Ball Soup I’ve ever had in my life, and felt like I had a cockroach stuck in the back of my throat as I chewed. (Not because it was bad soup, I was thinking about our fridge.) I walked through IKEA and like a real adult wrote down a list of items with that tiny golf pencil. I played darts like a real kid at a new ‘bottles only’ bar and broke every plastic tip that I flung toward the wall. My head voice is now constantly echoing the phrase “I hope I get a job, I hope I get a job, I hope I get a job…”
Am I going to be okay even though I’m emotional? YES.
How am I doing?
Well, I tell you, Zach, (slurp, quiver, quiver, giggle,) I am the luckiest girl in the world.
I have you.
– One L
“Should I change my blog name now that I live in LA? Take a vote and leave a comment.”