Written in Starbucks – West Hollywood – October 2015.
I think if I stayed in LA for long enough my brain would atrophy or I would develop an insidious mental illness. Before I came here I was on my travels to New York. A journey to escape heartache, as one does, jumping on a plane, somehow hoping that flying across that ocean will heal the shattered fragments of a broken heart. I struggled at first in New York, with the understanding that no matter how far away you run, you’re not really running at all. You’re running on a treadmill with the memories of your troubled past playing in your ears like a fitness CD. I went on so many dates. Date after date. It’s the best thing to do in a new city, people take you to places that you’d be otherwise unaware of, and you get to meet new people. The only real issue with dating is the immediate agenda of love, and not friendship, so developing friendships from this scenario is a tough one. I met a guy at first who was a great rebound, I had all the feels, and he was very quickly involved. Rebound flings are odd. Your brain somehow redirects all the love you had for your previous partner, into a prism, and it somehow refracts into their direction, but as soon as the sunlight dies, you no longer feel anything for them. Anyway, the sun went down, and I moved on, a few weeks after this fling, to another boy. He made me feel relaxed, and I felt no sexual pressure. I was really attracted to him, but more so his personality. We connected and it was easy. It developed and grew quite quickly, and on my last night when he pulled me in and kissed me in the middle of Times Square, I really thought ‘fuck. I moved to New York to get over a boy, and now I’m going to LA to get over another boy.’ However, I quickly learned that LA is not the greatest destination when trying to escape, but on the contrary, is a great subject for assessment. When I arrived in LA, it felt bleak. It was like entering into another dimension, void of emotion, authenticity and reality. The very idea that a city exists without melancholy is an alien concept to a European. There is no sadness here, and it is disturbing. It’s like every person here is a character in a movie, and every day is a new scene. They ignore the realities of the world, and they concentrate on the next worldly-irrelevant thing that they can disappear into. I haven’t seen one book store since arriving in LA, and I had to go to supermarket just to buy a pen. You can find literature, art and culture on every walkway of London, Paris, Barcelona & every other major European city, and here all I can find are Starbucks and dog grooming centres. All of the Starbucks are full of people writing on their laptops, but I wonder what about? Are they all as confused as me? Writing about the lack of inspiration or culture? I just don’t know how a native, or a resident of LA, could write anything of worth, in a city so devoid of history. The closest this city comes to struggle is drought, and with people driving their range rovers two blocks to get an iced coffee from Starbucks, even that seems irrelevant to them. In some ways I admire the overall ignorance of the city. They ignore world struggles, including their own homeless issues, and they go on with their life, with the spirit of ‘I want, and I will have.’ They wear expensive feminist t shirts, and the gays paint the road crossings rainbow. They have sponsored walks for AIDS and vans parked up raising awareness for animal cruelty, but in my British cynical nature, there’s something about it all that seems insincere to me. These people don’t really seem to care about anything but themselves. Of course they’ll go on an AIDS walk, but only because it’ll get them fit. In my opinion, this city is mentally ill. LA is like a patient, loose out of rehab, and having a party at Lindsay Lohan’s pad. I literally feel like I’m in Mean Girls, and I should only wear pink on Wednesdays. This is a place that hasn’t been exposed to war, or suffering, and it’s very apparent. In someways I envy the people here. They live their life in such privilege that they are blissfully ignorant to troubling world events, and that, in theory, must make for a happier, and more peaceful life. I am grateful that I’m only here for a short time, but it is my mission before I leave, not to visit Venice Beach, or to heal myself from my personal troubles, but to find a book store, buy a classic, and then give it to the first person I see jogging past me with their toy poodle and venti caramel frappuccino.