I moved to Los Angeles in September of 2000 when I was 22 years old. The twenty-two year old me was absolutely clueless and ridiculous and hopeful. I found an apartment to rent in Glendale for myself and my best friend Chuck who moved in a few weeks later. I would start my master’s program a couple of weeks later, my first day of class spent entering and exiting various L.A. freeways and having no idea where I was or where the college was. (We had to use actual maps back then.) For money, we were immediately told by other Texas friends to join Central Casting & do extra work. I only survived this lifestyle a few weeks, but managed to play a car crash victim with a glass shard in my face and a “dancing hip and trendy” person at a mansion. I would soon get a job as a CBS Page, spending most of my time answering prisoner fan mail to Bob Barker’s Beauties & making Price is Right name tags.
We had a piece of paper on the fridge with a list I typed out of the few people we knew already living in L.A.. We would call them, our only attempt at networking–and went to any event we were ever invited to. Bonus points if it was a house party. There was no feeling of being “grounded” during those early years; it felt like quite a mess, even at the time. But it was a true adventure. We never questioned whether something would be “fun” or “worth driving to” or “is there parking?” or “who will be there?” We always just went. Yes, we will pay $20 and stand in line to get into this ridiculous club only to leave 20 minutes later. Yes, we will go to party after party where we no almost no one and talk to strangers. We were so hopeful–I’m not sure for what, it just seemed so mysterious and unknown.
I am so thankful for those early messy L.A. days. I wanted to come back home to Texas at least every other week. I was sure this place was too fake and too pretentious and too sprawling to ever find home. But I met some forever-friends here who went to the clubs with me, saw the movies with me, went to the concerts, hosted/attended the house parties, and helped me laugh about it all. I have a million stories I can laugh about with Chuck, amazed that we started our adventure here together & even though both of us left, somehow are back living in different neighborhoods with the same senses of humor & a reasonable unwillingness to go anywhere lacking in parking.