I be a good righter.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

both of me

When I used to live ‘round these parts, I smugly decided that all Americans should be required to live outside the US for at least a six month period. To get out in the world and experience the wonder and awe that would prove once and for all that the US is not the pinnacle of the world. In fact, sometimes it rarely registers on people’s radars. No one is more guilty of this way of thinking than Angelenos, I’ve found. And, I was guilty of it myself until I moved to London. And, it was there, I found smug satisfaction, realizing that I was way more cosmopolitan than my friends and colleagues from LA.

I could speak knowledgably of wars in countries that most Americans had never heard of. I sided (though I’ve forgotten with whom) with the Bosnians and/or the Serbians after having lengthy conversations with cab drivers from these countries. I watched BBC news about a war-torn election happening in some country whose name I’ve forgotten, whilst Al Gore was [not] being elected because of some chad business in Florida (though widely reported on in the states, it marked merely a blip over here – and I loved that).

But, then, I moved back to LA. And, I became guilty of an insular lifestyle once again. Rid of my smugness, I found myself indignant and petulant when people didn’t realize that I, as an Angeleno, was at the epicenter of the universe. Instead of reading the Economist, or bbc.co.uk, I turned straight to the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. I’d read the headlines from Variety. No one was more excited than I when Whole Foods began carrying People Magazine. After scanning that, while waiting in line for my “organic” groceries (“Organic is WAY better than shopping at Ralph’s,” I’d find myself saying at parties, “No pesticides, no artificial ingredients… it’s like I’m helping the earth!”), I’d race home for Entertainment Weekly. I reverted to my blissful ignorance that there was, in fact, a world out there. Yes, I was in full-fledged Angeleno mode.

But, then something happened. My husband’s office made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: move to Dublin and we’ll reward you financially. So, we’re this side of the pond again. Not in Dublin, yet. We’re currently on an Island called Guernsey. I’d never heard of it, except for when the hubby would mention something about a data center here on his many phone calls with his coworkers/bosses/underlings. I didn’t really care what Guernsey was, nor where it was. And now I’m here.

Basically, Guernsey is what I’ve lovingly named THE MOTHERFUCKING ISLAND WITH THE NEVERFUCKINGENDING FUCKING HILL. Seriously. No matter where I walk it’s always uphill. I have no idea how this is even possible (but my calves look fabulous after just a few days of being here – so, you know, bonus!). I’ve found that the hill is much easier once one has imbibed 2.8 Gin and Tonics (I like to tip som out for the homeys) and at least 10 cigarettes (I’m still in Angeleno mode, shut up with your healthy logic).

Speaking of Angeleno mode, while I was at this Pub called The Library Bar, one of the guys sitting at the bar was apparently listening as I ordered my G&T, seeming to hear my odd accent. Well, odd for Guernsey (population either 20 in total or 63,000-ish). He sort of looked at me strangely, like I was a word he couldn’t remember. I did that sort of half-smile. You know the one, where you’re not sure if he’s going to hit on you or slit your throat in an alley (which, presumably here, would be on a hill), so you just kind of give him acknowledgement and AVERT YOUR EYES. He wasn’t to be put off, though. And seriously, he did look fairly harmless, and indeed he was. Most importantly, with two small words, he put me in my place.

GUY AT THE END OF THE BAR: Where ya from?

ME: Los Angeles.

I immediately expect him to besiege me with questions like, have I met Lindsay Lohan? Is Nicole Richie really anorexic? I start prepping my People (magazine) skills…

GATEOTB: Where’s that?

This guy doesn’t care about any of that shit that I’d assumed he’d care about. He didn’t ask the questions that all my cousins, aunts and the odd uncle ask me when I go back to Minnesota. He didn’t even know there was a Los Angeles. So, I bought him a fucking drink. Because it was possibly the best question I’ve been asked in a few years. And, it was a fair question, given that, prior to coming here, I’d never heard of his Island With The Neverfuckingending Hill.

In a way, I’m looking at this move (vacation?) as an opportunity to have experiences a lot of writers in the writers’ room wouldn’t have. Something fresh to bring to the table. I’ll continue reading Variety headlines and getting friends to send me People in my care packages (along with Peet’s coffee, please). But, I hope, sincerely, that I don’t revert to my smug London ways. At the same time, I do hope I lose a bit of the Angeleno in me. And somehow find a common ground between the two mes.


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