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Casual Six

Nearly a fifth of my life has now been spent living in Los Angeles, and I realize I'm no longer the fresh and green twentysomething who made his parents buy him a one-way ticket to the other side of the country six years ago. I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I say that six frickin' years of living in this city has changed me. How so? Let us count the ways...

1. I am one impatient - but careful - sonofabitch on the road.

2. I wear flip-flops to the office.

3. The thought of asking someone for an autograph makes me ill.

4. I've turned Sunday brunch into a weekend staple.

5. I dig Spanish tiles.

6. I'm on lists.

7. I acknowledge and appreciate the trials and tribulations of freelancers (a.k.a The Frequently Unemployed).

8. I know how to scratch a back once mine is (preferably) scratched first.

8b. I'm pretty good at anticipating the needs of others.

9. I don't mind avocado with my breakfast.

10. I feel enormously fortunate to be in the company of such loving, talented and extraordinary individuals whom I am more than proud to call my friends, my companions, my second family - something I've learned to never take for granted.

Hiko 6 year collage

My 6-year anniversary arrives, albeit without much fanfare, as yet another reminder of how far I've come, how much I've seen and how much I have yet to experience.

I'm riding a small wave of success with my bloggage. I continue to meet amazing people and experience things I couldn't have imagined when I was wee lad in Westchester surrounded by R.L. Stine novels and Matchbox cars. And I'm realizing now, according to the standards of the Young and Fresh Hollywood Meat Train, I am hitting Middle Age (thank you, group of young and ambitious summer interns who have recently invaded my office. Thank you for making me feel like I'll be eligible for Los Angeles Senior status several years from now).

I've seen the Grove in its infancy and the birth of the Americana. I've witnessed the facelifts of the Beverly Center, Rodeo Drive and the Abbey. I survived the brief Trucker Cap Renaissance of 2003. I inhaled every ash-filled afternoon during the brushfires of 2004. I saw Ryan Seacrest's talk show move in and out of Hollywood & Highland within a few blinks of an eye. I've seen to the Voodoo Lounge on Santa Monica Boulevard turn into a Brazilian restaurant, which then turned into a hovel for the homeless, which then turned into Java Detour coffeeshop (and speaking of Santa Monica, I've tolerated its messy expansion project through Century City). I happily welcomed the Beckhams to the neighborhood after their move from the U.K. And I have loved and lost the many who gave up on this town and moved off to other places in pursuit of something that didn't involve palm trees, paparazzi and Pinkberry.

I've played many a tour guide for vacationing friends and family throughout the years. Most recently, my father celebrated his 56th birthday last month here in sunny California, his fourth visit since I moved here from New York. For the first time in the four years since his stroke, he had the chance to play a round of golf, an accomplishment on which he prided himself. He needed to spend some time with his only child, soaking up the SoCal sun, "recharging his mental batteries," as I like to call it. And with every visit he becomes more determined to leave New York for good and move into the west wing of whatever house-in-the-hills I decide to buy once I "make it."

This particular visit wasn't just about seeing L.A. through the eyes of another visitor. It was about seeing myself through the eyes of a parent. Yet another sign of getting older; sympathizing with your mom and dad, understanding how it must feel to see a child grow up and create a life for himself, a life you could have never predicted or imagined for him. But it's a good life, nonetheless, that can - will - only get better.

This weekend I shall celebrate my six years in L.A., not with a cake or a cocktail, but with a dance under the stars downtown (See: Electric Daisy Carnival, an event I've been dying to attend ever since I was a wee 23-year-old living in Venice Beach).

Here's hoping I don't pass out under a pile of glowsticks after 2am.

Happy Anniversary to me.



j bear said…
Happy 6 year anniversary to mee too Hiko Piko!! Mine was actually a few weeks ago : ) I was just getting over Mono when I flew over here with 2 suitcases to take up residence in what I believed to be one of the superchic-est hot spots ever...INGLEWOOD! LOL. Now I'm in HollyWOOD, hoping to ultimately make my way through to the nicest of the "WOODs" ala WestWOOD to BrentWOOD. I digress. I'm ready for some change in this life lemme tell ya. Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane, and I'm praying for you that that is NOT a picture of me in your little collage. I will hurt you hiko.
Jenny said…
Happy Anniversary!!! :)
Anonymous said…
Thank you HIKO!

As a proud happy native Los Angelino I have seen may too many
transplants come and go and try to say what LA is or dissin' my
beautiful city.

Thank you for being you and becoming for a Los Angelino as long as
you like an seeing the beauty in all the hoods and form continuing to
comment with your sharp wit.

This is one Angelino that gets you and appreciates you and I am sure
there are more!

Big hugs,
Ms Maggie

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