LA: Peter Returns To The City He Hates
Peter Tatara - June 27, 2008
I last came out to LA some time ago looking to enter the entertainment industry. I spent a summer writing for the BBC. Four months later, I left Los Angeles with a vow never to return and, after death, to curse any motherfucker who would possibly dare to bring my bleached bones back to this desert. Why such an immortal declaration against the City of Angels? Honestly, looking back, I'm not quite so sure. I think it had something to do with four months of blue skies and sunny weather. Or maybe the fact that so much of the city lives in pursuit of a dream job in television or the movies that is honestly only a dream. Or maybe it was the black and white divide between the city's rich and poor.
Wait, it was all three, with the emphasis on the second. I remember a day when I was talking to work. I passed the WB lot each day as I headed off to my office. One day, a tourist asked to take my picture. Sure? She took my picture not knowing who I was but because I was walking in front of the WB gate -- and therefore I had to be someone working in Hollywood. And because of that, naturally, I had to be amazing. I had to be a superman with the powers of a demigod who should be revered if not worshipped by most of the planet. It was in this moment that I was placed on a pedestal that I realized, yes, I was someone working in Hollywood and that working in Hollywood was still working.
A job is a job. Whether you're making a movie, baking bread, building a roof, or whatever the fuck else, it's a job, and what field you work in, title you hold, and check you take home at the end of the day all matter less than the amount of satisfaction you get out of it. In other words, if you don't like what you do, you shouldn't be doing it.
This manifesto led me to leave LA. I eventually settled in New York City, a city of schizophrenic weather, a million people leading a million different dreams, and rich, poor, and everything in between. I love New York. I am in love with New York. It's funny. I thought I'd love LA and didn't care for it one bit, and I thought I was going to hate New York City, but I am passionately, absolutely infatuated with her.
These preceding few paragraphs, which really should have been edited out in an early draft, have very little to do with the actual story, the story of my return to LA. In the six years that have elapsed since I last ventured off to Los Angeles, I found a job that I enjoy. For the most part. I say this because a few months back, I was asked to go to LA on a business trip. I contemplated quitting on the spot but stopped myself in the hopes that, upon second inspection, the vinegar in my blood for the City of Angels might have mellowed.
They did. A little bit. Maybe.
I'm writing this from the plane back to New York following the conclusion of my trip, and I've got to say the small dose of LA I just experienced was much more palatable. Here are a few things I really enjoyed...
IHOP. There's no International House of Pancakes in New York City, but I saw at least five during my weekend in LA, and one of them was only two blocks from my hotel.
Asahi Dark. Asahi is my favorite Japanese beer, and I discovered a new species --
Asahi Dark -- that I've never seen in Manhattan. It was a thick, chocolate ambrosia very, very similar to wheat wine, and I want more.
Heather and Matt. Two very good friends of mine now live out in LA, and I'm very pleased I was able to spend time with them. They're both great people and pretty sane except for the whole living in LA thing.
And that's about it. And, come to think about it, while NYC lacks any IHOPs, there are at least five diners within stumbling distance from my apartment I can wander into at any hour of the day or night. And I'm sure I'm pretty sure I can find Asahi Dark in Manhattan now that I know it exists. As for Heather and Matt, there's always MySpace.
So, really, LA, you have nothing to offer me, and I'd like to restate my vow never to return and, after death, to curse any motherfucker who would possibly dare to bring my bleached bones back to you. Seriously, I will haunt you.