I knew my life in LA would be different than my life in New York, but I didn't really know how – and that’s both how it would be different and how different it would be.
The answer is very – very, very, very but what’s weird is that it’s not a difference I day-to-day feel.
I guess some people – in this case me - get to a new place and immediately start assimilating to what life is like there forgetting what they would have been doing at that same given time on that same given day a previous life ago. Like last Friday night when my roommates and I had comfortably hosted 11 people around our living room for a rousing night of games (the theme of which turned out to be How Many Ways Can You Work Designing Women into a game of Celebrity ooor 10 Gay Men Play Games) I wasn’t thinking, if this were a Friday at 11pm in Manhattan I’d be drinking a very dirty martini at a bar walking distance from the apartment where I never hosted more than three people at any given time, only two of whom could share the “couch.” I’ve found that my mind just decided, this is life now, and moved on. And yet when I stop to think about just how insanely different every moment of my day now is, it’s a shock I’m not suffering more moments of what-the-hell-am-I-doing.
Take getting to work, for example. I now drive the car I pay for all by myself eight miles down the road to my office. That takes anywhere from twenty to forty minutes depending on what time I leave and what portion of Olympic they’ve decided to tear up next. I dress for this commute in whatever I intend to wear for the day. Things like the temperature of the subway or the distance I’ll have to walk in heels or how freezing it might be on my route are not factors nor is whether or not my just-straightened hair will withstand the humidity I’ll encounter from point A to point B. First of all, there is no humidity and second, I don’t encounter anything but the interior of my car – a place I keep regulated (or will once I finally figure out how to use the heat/air).
The actual workday warrants its own post about the similarities and differences between office culture in New York and LA (or more like the differences and similarity, that one item being, both include the word office).
Dinner is another cornerstone of differentiation. I have been in Los Angeles for something like 50 dinners? At least 30 of them have been consumed in a home, included more than three people and consisted of food prepared that night. Two weeks ago Robby made a three-course meal in twenty minutes on a Tuesday at 8pm. Almost every single Sunday I’ve gone to Avia and Doug’s for a Sunday morning brunch consisting of a seven item spread and no fewer than five guests. And the other night Mike and John baked not one but two apple pies from scratch (while Brian and I drank). The amount of time I spend with large groups of people in appropriately-sized living spaces is bizarre, and yet it’s like I’ve forgotten that not once in my five years in Manhattan did I attend a dinner party at a friends’ apartment. Nobody had a table big enough.
If I want to go run some errands or pick up some groceries or pop over to the Urban Outfitters, I have to drive and park. So far I haven’t figured out how to drive and not park, but I’m getting closer. As such, I do all of that much, much less. It didn’t dawn on me until the other day that I hadn’t done an ounce of unintentional shopping since I arrived in LA. It used to be that I’d be on a purposeful walk from somewhere to somewhere else (i.e. work to grocery store) and suddenly find myself in a clothing/accessories/shoe/housewares store shopping for something that I just then decided I want/needed. Or, more often, that I’d decide to spend the afternoon strolling around with no real need for anything and then four hours later find myself three neighborhoods away with a black felt fedora, vintage framed paint-by-number and a jar of kosher pickles. Here I move with intention, mostly because I've found it challenging to both drive and look at all the shops I'm passing to see if there are sale signs in the windows.
New realizations of the blatantly obvious pop up every single day - like I have yet to don a pair of socks but have already lost two pair of sunglasses or they sell liquor at CVS here?! - as I slip out of the post-move haze and into a place where I can actually look back at life eight weeks ago and marvel at what a difference a time-zone makes.
All of that said - I am proud to report that my commitment to not wearing sweatsuits - no matter how colorful - as legitimate ensembles remains very much in tact despite the peer pressure in this town.