East Coast Arrival

I was woken up from a pretty rough sleep by the pilot’s muffled voice over the intercom saying we were about to land in Philadelphia. I sat up and looked around, not really sure where I was for a moment or two. I finally got my bearings and tried to look out the window as we were on our descent. It was cloudy and kind of dark even though it was the middle of the afternoon. As I’ve come to learn, that’s pretty average for Philly. Phl Intl Airport

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew I’d see my mom, and from what she’d told me, we were going to stay with a friend of hers for a few days in NJ. It was the last week of a play she was doing at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. NJ was close, and staying with friends was free, so we would crash there before heading back to her home in NY. I was just along for the ride anyway, so I figured what the hell.

We landed. I was nervous, but it was pretty smooth. There were rides at Universal that were scarier. I grabbed my bags, got off the plane, and made my way down the ramp, and just as you might have guessed, there she was. Mom was always the punctual one. She was trying to be funny, holding a sign with my name on it. I was actually happy to see her, but I didn’t want her to know it. I just wanted to be miserable, but it was hard. We shared a big hug and made some small talk as we walked out to our ride. I was expecting to have to take a bus or pile into the back of one of her friend’s cars, but to my surprise, she actually hired a limo service to pick us up, chauffeur and everything. It wasn’t that she was poor, but she wasn’t rolling in it either. I just didn’t expect it, but I appreciated the extra effort she was making to make this a special moment instead of a miserable one for me.

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Leaving L.A.

When you grow up in a certain area, no matter where it is, leaving is almost never fun. It’s scary, nerve-wracking, and intimidating. In my mind, nothing could go right in a different place and I would always be miserable. There would be no happiness for me outside of L.A. At the time, I didn’t have the best perspective, but sue me, I was 15. As I got older, I could see how things worked out for the best, but at the time, I was miserable.

There are a few things that I remember about leaving. The packing, for one. It was like I was leaving for vacation, but a really long one. Since my dad was staying, I didn’t pack everything. I left most of my stuff. I sat in my room thinking about what to bring and what to leave. It felt like I would never be back even though I would be in just a few months. So I crammed my favorite clothes, comics, and cd’s into a duffel bag and a small back pack. . .good ol’ Jansport.

The trip to the airport was pretty quiet. My dad drove and I stared out the window. I knew there was no point in arguing about it any more, so I just sat there. I had already said goodbye to my friends but it still stung as we drove by our hangout spots. I would miss my friends, the familiar places, and all the trouble we got into. My mom had been out on the East coast for months now and was all situated, so the way it worked out, I would be spending some time with her.

We pulled up to LAX. I got out of the car and grabbed my stuff, said a quick goodbye to dad, and went inside. There was no emotional goodbye. I was pissed, and would be back in a few months anyway, so whatever. When I walked through those doors, I don’t even know if I can describe how busy it was in there. To me it seemed to be similar to the street market scene from Indiana Jones. . . .

I like to think that I was Indiana Jones, and the evil swordsman was the lady at the counter, but in reality, she was nice and I didn’t shoot anyone. It was still a nightmare though. I got lost trying to find the gate my flight was coming into and almost missed it. We didn’t really plan ahead too much and almost cut it too close. The airport food sucked and was over priced and I had something like a 5ish hour flight ahead of me. I was not looking forward to that.

I boarded the plane and got ready to take off. I hadn’t flown much before, so I was a bit nervous, but popped on my headphones and relaxed. At least I had my music to keep me company and I got an aisle seat so I could stretch out a little. Thank god I didn’t get stuck between two fat people. I don’t think I could’ve handled that. Even though I was upset, I was excited too. I hadn’t seen my mom in a while and I was a little curious about Philadelphia and New York. From what she told me, it would be a good time.

So I tried to recline, if you can call it that and nodded off. I was hoping to sleep through the flight. I would be there soon.

Living in NY

So NY. There’s so much to say. It’s an awesome, chaotic, loving, scary place to live. It’s so incredibly diverse. It brings a whole new level to people watching, which I spent a lot of time doing. As far as hobbies go, it’s not a bad one for NY.

While there were some similarities to L.A., like the business men and the junkies, most of the people there were just so different because they were being themselves, no matter how weird or unique it was. They weren’t trying to fit in. They were just living their lives and didn’t care what people thought about it. We stayed in a small apartment in the Village and were surrounded by hippies, artists, gay and lesbian activists, free thinkers, actors, and plenty more. It was always entertaining and you never knew what you were going to see. As I was now apart of that community, I came to realize that even if some of these people didn’t get along, there was this understanding. They were all there together, coexisting and were happy to be a part of NY. Maybe it was just some hippie dippy vibe, but I kinda liked it. It was nice not feeling judged because nobody really cared about anybody else. Even though I was surrounded by people, I felt a little alone, and I was ok with that. It’s true that New Yorkers are hard asses. Even if you were soft originally, you change. That’s how you survive living there.

Anyway, since my mom was acting, I got to spend a lot of time in theaters all over town, from small rooms to Broadway stages. It was a cool experience getting to see how things happened from back stage. It was interesting, but honestly, watching rehearsals over and over again got boring, so I went out to explore a bit on my own.  I would sneak off sometimes and just walk around town. I got to know where all the good pizza spots were, and that’s really half of the battle of living in New York. Don’t waste your time eating crap when you have some of the best pizza Bleeker St Pizzain the world at your finger tips. Everyone has their own taste, but one of my favorite spots was Bleeker Street Pizza. Big slices, thin crust, and they nailed the sauce! I’d make my way over there a few times a week. You gotta eat healthy as a kid.

It wasn’t L.A., but I liked it there. I wasn’t really making friends, but I was meeting a lot of people, mostly people on stage with my mom, and just taking it all in. The longer I stayed, the less I actually wanted to go back to California. There was something relieving about getting a fresh start here. My first stay in NY lasted about 5 weeks. It was a good 5 weeks.


People of L.A.

It’s funny how people are different from different states across the country. It’s usually stuff like accents and what teams they cheer for. Every once in a while it’s about serious stuff like politics and religion, but most of the time there’s a pretty good variety of beliefs wherever you go. People are honestly very much the same. They all have to pay the bills, take care of their family, and find some time to relax and have some fun. The people of L.A. are no different. They just live in a more expensive place with better weather then most.

Growing up in Los Angeles was interesting. I never built a tree fort or went hunting, but I did see the Hollywood sign, a lot, visited the walk of fame a bunch of times. I’ve been to Universal and Disneyland more than a normal person should, but hey, I was a kid. One of thing things I remember the most was the people I ran into. Sometimes it felt like living in a world of perpetual tourism. Of course there were the local spots that only the people who really lived there knew about and appreciated, but usually, if you went out, you were running into somebody from out of town. And as a kid, what better way to have some cheap fun than to mess with the tourists.

I’ll admit, I’ve almost gotten into trouble a bunch of times because of my friends. We were kinda punks with ripped baggy jeans, outdated Ramones t-shirts, and colored hair. We thought we were cool and original, but so did a few hundred other kids in the area who looked exactly the same. Anyway, it was a way to rebel, so we jumped on the bandwagon. I was actually pretty tame even though I looked like I was ready to start a riot. My friend Luke, on the other hand, was pretty serious about not giving a crap and doing what he wanted. I’ve lost track of him over the years, but I remember that trouble followed him like a shadow. He’d do things as simple as giving tourists wrong directions into the bad areas of town, to slashing tires and stealing stuff from them. He was a sneaky little jerk, and almost got me arrested more than once, but he was a loyal friend. He always owned up to his mischief and never left me behind. When you’re young, that’s what you look for in a buddy.

When we weren’t getting into trouble, we would sit, smoke, and people watch and talk shit on everyone walking by. Not that we were better than them, but everyone just looked so fake to us, and it was a way to pass the time. We’d bust on the suite with his briefcase and cellphone. Screw corporate America. Screw him for being a pawn. We’d make fun of the tourist family with their stupid visors and Universal t-shirts, taking pictures of every house and bush like it belonged to someone famous. Who cares if Ben Affleck’s petunias are in bloom. Go back to your dumb-ass lives in Montana or wherever the hell you cam from. This was our city. We loved it and hated it at the same time.

There were good people there too that I respected. There was a small restaurant, years back. A little Italian place that I actually worked at washing dishes and busing tables even before I was old enough to have a job. It closed a long time ago, but I still remember it. An old guy named Art owned the place. He was loud, with a big beard and red nose and cheeks from drinking too much of his own wine, but a good guy. He was always ready with a joke or a come back and kept me on my toes. He taught me a lot about working hard for what I want and was generous to a fault. At the end of each night, he made sure to give away his leftover food to the homeless. It was usually just bread, pasta, and sauce, but it was happily received by those poor hungry people. He never looked down on them. He knew he was better off and had something to give, and was happy to do so. I remember that the most, more than the jokes and the yelling. That made an impression on me.

People all over the country are just people like me. Some have accents. Some have more money. Some work 7 days a week while others can’t find a job. It doesn’t matter if you believe in a god. People are people. I don’t know what happened to my friend Luke. He could be in jail or dead, but I’m thankful for the friendship and memories. Art never talked or bragged about what he did. Not many people knew other than the workers. These people are what I think of when I think about L.A., not the tourists or actors. These are the real people that made it a good place for me to live.

Memories and Perspective

Memories are what make us who we are. Memories of family and friends, experiences that shape us. What we remember about our past leads us in a certain direction for our future. We each have them and that’s why we are who we are. Everyone is different because we all had different paths and different views of our memories. Some people choose to see things in a negative light, where others can see things in a positive way, no matter how bad the situation actually was.

I feel like I had a more positive perspective on things. I tried to make the best out of whatever was happening. Of course I got sad and complained, and fought with my parents, but who doesn’t. No one’s perfect, and I don’t even think I’d want to be. Dealing with problems helps us figure out our personalities and knowing yourself is a very important thing.

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Why Talk About L.A.?

L.A. night

So the first question you are probably asking is why am I even talking about L.A.? Isn’t there enough publicity already? It’s covered in pretty much every TV show. It’s where all the big name actors and athletes come from, so we all know about it. I think that’s why I want to talk about it actually. Because all people really know is what’s portrayed by the media. All the glamour and high profile stuff that goes on is great, but there’s also another side to this town. Why not talk about that too. I’m only one person with limited experiences, but you might find some of them interesting.

I spent most of my life split between the West coast and the East coast. It’s a lot of ground to cover for a kid, but I managed to do it. Not on my own of course. My parents being split up and living on opposite ends of the country had something to do with it. I’m sure you would be surprised to know that they were both trying to get into acting. . . you know, movies, TV, stage. Anything where they might get there big break. They actually met in California, where they had me, but as you could imagine. things didn’t go so smoothly and mom got the chance to go to NY for a Broadway performance and dad stayed in L.A. since he was doing stunt work for some movies. Typical family problems.

It was a cool way to grow up I guess. I got to see a good deal of behind the scenes stuff on a few movie sets with my dad. It wasn’t like he could bring me to work every day, so I didn’t really get immersed into that life. The behind the scenes stuff in NY was pretty cool too. There wasn’t as much special effects and the performances were a bit more refined and raw. I thought they were both interesting, but the real fun for me was just being in L.A. and seeing how life actually happened outside of a studio or theater.

There was always something to get into, and as a kid, I definitely got into my fair share of trouble, but managed to make it out ok. You had music, sports, gangs, drugs, girls. Pretty much anything a kid could want. I dabbled a bit but never got in over my head, thankfully. It was a giant mess of a city and I loved being there. Hopefully you’ll see why.

Welcome to L.A. O Wee!

Hello there. I’m glad you are checking out my new blog site. I’m still getting some stuff together, so I’ll have blogs and articles for you soon. So sit tight.