Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's Hard, Wanting Things

I'm sitting in Toronto (that's a fake-out, by the way, because this is not Noko Marie) in the evening and thinking about when I moved back to L.A., after Berkeley and after New York and after Tulsa.

I didn't do so well in Tulsa; many people love it and there are good things to be said about it, but let's just leave it that I didn't do so well there. And I was excited to go back to L.A. I had a Westside Rentals account and every day I would pore over the apartments online and think about where I could live and what I could do. I wanted to live in my old neighborhood, i.e. Los Feliz adjacent, and that's where I was looking when one day I saw this building which I thought was this building that I had always wanted to live in.

And I called the owner right away and we entered these complicated negotiations, whereby my (awesome, incredibly kind) friend in L.A. would go over and look at it and report back to me and report on me to the landlord and then I would, later, fly to L.A. and hand over the security deposit.

At every step of the way things threatened to fall through because my landlady was out of her goddamn mind, but I kept pushing because I really wanted this apartment. I really did. My friend went to see it and thought it was beautiful. It had two stories and a fake-stone staircase with a metal railing and a little fireplace alcove without the fireplace and it got a ton of light and it was in the back and so on.

So I flew out to L.A. and went to see the landlady and pay the security deposit and she was weeping copiously and kept hugging me which was a little strange, but whatever. It was one of those days which are hard to describe if you haven't spent time in Los Angeles, but which anybody who lives there pretty much knows, where everything, but everything, is grey and colorless and you forget that the sky can be clear or that anything can look other than faded-out and sad. My landlady had been sobbing with mascara running down her cheeks, and I decided to walk from Hollywood and Western to Franklin and Commonwealth.

I guess that's not actually so far, but the problem was that I had forgotten how far it was and kept hoping it would be less far and also I was hungry and I don't know. It's not really a very scenic walk, especially when you just go down Franklin. So I walk to the building and I walk into my new apartment and I hated it. I thought it was ugly and small and dirty.

I sat in the living room floor and I started crying because this was this apartment I had wanted so much and now it seemed stupid and small and worthless and too expensive. It wasn't so much the apartment itself that made me cry -- it was that freaked out sense that I had backed the wrong horse, wasted my longing on the wrong thing.

That seemed unbearable.

I was wrong, more or less. The apartment, it turned out, was actually pretty great and thinking about this now I am overcome with a wave of nostalgia for it, and also for smoking, which I did a lot of in the apartment (My landlady, who had expressed her concern about every little thing about me, when I mentioned I smoked, she was like, "Who would care about that?") and just for what, by virtue of already having happened, seems like a simpler time. I bought flowers for that apartment, and put them in a vase in the little fireplace alcove. I had a sofa with a slipcover and curtains and it was kind of fantastic. I was also kind of right, in that what I wanted wasn't going to be satisfied by any apartment.

But I already knew that, even when I was just in Tulsa scrolling through the listings. It's not like it made any difference.

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