You have been invited by Laura Simms to
Suck it, LA!
My friend Laura, whom I met during my short-lived foray into performance art (you don't want to know), was throwing a brunch on her new patio. The idea was to get a bunch of girls together who had never met, but should have, i.e. "Suck it, LA! We managed to beat traffic, your sprawling landscape, and the urge to flake, so here we are!"
All us invitees have Laura in common and none of us are native Californians. I arrived, newly invented goat cheese-walnut-fig log (still working on a name for it) in hand, ready to make new friends. Laura's patio is perfect. There's a big wooden table, umbrella, little lights strung overhead. We all brought cheese: my goat cheese, some soft cheese and star-shaped crackers, and a blueberry-cheese-coffee cake straight out of Southern Living.
Conversation was easy and good. We're mostly actors. Actors with other jobs. Three of them married, one with a live-in boyfriend, and one singleton (three guesses who). Eventually, as with any gathering of East Coasters, talk turned to Los Angeles versus anywhere else in the world. Yards, stuff we have in storage back east, family, New York, college, crazy neighbors, how we'd all be better off living in the South (four of us hail from below the Mason Dixon Line). Don't get me wrong, I loved it. These are great girls and I was thrilled to be a part of the group. But it got me wondering if I could ever proudly stand up and say,
"I love LA."
I mean, it's great here. I have the best friends of my life. It's sunny all the time and we hike and eat avocados and mangos year round. I'm in a book club. I have a nice tan. Every once in a while we even see a movie star at Starbucks. Even so, how can I look my family in the eye and tell them that I choose fake boobs and endless summer over their birthdays and graduations? What is it that keeps us all here in spite of wildfires and impending earthquakes? Let's face it, I am no millionaire movie star. In some ways, I'm a 'those who can't do, teach.' And that's ok with me. But why here? Is it hope? Is it the fantasy that at any moment someone could spot you on the street and make your wildest dreams come true? After all, how can they find you if you're living in rural Virginia instead of fabulous downtown Burbank?