"This city's killing me. I want, I want, I want everything."
- "Los Angeles" by Sugarcult
Hardly in the four-year history of these chapters have I received such passionate responses like the ones I received from "The Cooke Book." The issue of New York versus Los Angeles is a topic of debate I find fascinating: Who has it better, Manhattanites or Angelenos?
But now, I'm over it. I don't care anymore. There is no clear answer. That debate has ended. Chapter 67 wasn't even written to argue which Coast is better. The intentions behind it were not to bash NYC. My words were a letter to those who stubbornly believe New York is the only place in the world to live a real life, a reaction to the attitude I still get from those (mostly NYers), who talk shit about where I currently reside and appear to leave no room for compromise. I was talking to the natives who have unfortunately never stepped foot outside the border. (To those New Yorkers who HAVE travelled and still regard their homecity as the best place in the world, I nod and acknowledge your opinion. You went out in the world, experienced the New and Exciting, and arrived at your own backed-up conclusion. Golf claps.)
Leaving home and moving off to the other side of the country doesn't make me special. Adventurous, maybe. And I would love for others to be just as adventurous...NOT to give up their lives and move away, but to travel.
Ahem, soapbox please...I strongly believe travelling is one of the best things we Americans can do. It expands the mind and brings the whole world closer to understanding each other via experiencing new ways of life and finding common ground that's usually hidden underneath layers of bullshitty ignorance...Okay, I'll step down now.
Repsonse from New Yorker #1: "You're right about NYers getting over themselves. Every born-and-raised NYer needs to move away for a while. They need to get away and learn how to love and appreciate a new city in order to appreciate where they have come from. You're also right about returning to your self-made family on an opposite coast. As nice as nostalgia is, it's refreshing to see everything that you have built for yourself from scratch."
To be fair, this New-Yorker-turned-Angeleno also claimed NYC as the greatest city on the planet. She said "Being back in what you consider a concrete jungle leaves me with a very different feeling. Crashing with my friend in the East Village for a night, or meeting a work buddy for a cosmo in Chelsea, always leaves me with a yearning to live in Manhattan. I know in my heart that L.A. only has a hold on me for a few more years before I am drawn back."
In my email I had made sure I didn't generalize and point a finger at ALL New Yorkers. "The Cooke Book" was also a result of the conflicting feelings that hit me whenever I return to the East Coast. Do I see myself living back there? Would I be just as happy? Maybe, maybe not. Right now I know the answer is no.
Me: I love NY, always will. When I was younger, I remember answering "a yuppie" whenever asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I had visions of living and working in the city, enjoying the hustle-and-bustle of it all. I was obviously influenced by what I saw in yuppie classics like "Baby Boom," "Big Business," "Wall Street," and "Working Girl." Knowing that I lived twelve miles from that town they call the Big Apple, I thought about following in the footsteps of Gordon Gekko and Tess Harper. Then, all of a sudden, I did grow up, and my passions evolved into something else and led me somewhere else. I still have no idea if I'll ever return because I have invested and enjoyed so much in a place I have never before dreamed of living.
Response from New Yorker #2: "As another fellow NY transplant...I just feel like I don't have a home...I've learned to embrace L.A...I still hate driving, I'd much rather prefer to hop on a form of public transportation or in a taxi than to have to deal with parking with multiple cars heading to one destination."
So, to reciprocate the sentiment from Chapter 67, I have decided address some "cons" that outsiders easily pick out and pose to us L.A. folk:
1. "Don't you get tired of driving everywhere? Isn't it pain to spend money on gas, car insurance, etc?"
To which I reply, "Yes, sometimes. But if I lived in New York, I'd probably spend the same amount of money on the higher rent, taxi fares, and monthly Metrocards. It all balances out."
2. "Isn't everyone fake, and don't they just care about making a name for themselves in the business?"
To which I reply, "Those of us who have managed to keep our souls learn to see through the plastic facades. Some of my closest friends here in the City of Angels aren't even in the industry. I guess I'm lucky in this sea of starfuckers to have found these genuine folk who care about more important things. Of course, I'd be lying if I didn't say there are some of us who also revel in the trivial and superficial...but with tongues firmly planted in our cheeks."
The list could go on, but the point is: You make the best of what you're given. You adapt and learn how to live with what you have. Blah, blah, blah.
On to the lighter notes...
What I'm loving these days: The Sugarcult song (quoted above), Rosie on "The View," pumpkin pie latte ice blendeds at Coffee Bean, the Japanese nerd on "Heroes," "Anytime" by JoJo (should definitely be her next single), the oddly appealing blahness of ABC's "Brothers and Sisters," my black corduroy Calvin Klein blazer purchased for twenty bucks at the Palm Springs outlets, Kate Winslet's performance in "Little Children," and Wolfgang Puck's minestrone.
What I'm hating: the sniffles I can't seem to shake, Flavor Flav, the unbearable parking situations at the West Hollywood Pinkberry, the woman at the gym who leaves her W magazines draped over the treadmills, the fact that Ashlee Simpson is on Broadway, and HBO's release of all five seasons of "Six Feet Under" in a mega-boxed-set (after I just bought the first three separately).
There you have it, people.
Go off and be well.