My Trip to LA: Day 1 – “Welcome to the mouth of HELL”
I really can’t (well, I can…) believe I haven’t posted to this blog since Star Trek came out way back in March. I’ve been a busy little bee: getting let go from my job, getting on unemployment, failing horrendously at finding a meaningful job in Eugene, and then getting an acting agent. It’s been quite an ordeal, and it is in no way looking up, really.
Recently, I procured myself a trip to LA in which I was supposed to audition for numerous casting directors & agents. I’m on that trip now, and thought it might be worthwhile to illuminate you folks as to what’s goin’ on down here in the melting pot of Los Angeles.
After braving a 5AM wake up call, my friend Jason came to pick me up from my apartment and take me to the airport. We had to leave that early for a 11AM flight, as the roads had begun to ice over in most of western Oregon. Speed skating to our destination (at an ironic 25-45 MPH), I was lucky to arrive with time to spare at PDX, and wait for my filght.
Getting onto the plane was no hassle, and I garnered a window seat for myself with little resistance on the full flight. Though that was a bit marred by the nerdy computer engineer who ended up plopping himself down next to me and zealously intruding into my personal space as well as hogging the armrest. As if it wasn’t bad enough that we’re all crammed like sardines in a tin on Southwest’s flight, he pulls out his laptop and decides to work on some research paper. Mind you this wouldn’t be a problem if he didn’t choose to talk to himself as he did it…with his hands. Look buddy, I’m all for the viability of enhanced thermoconductor wafer construction, but when you nearly slap me in the face trying to flesh out a sentence, maybe just reading a book is in order. So, for the remainder of the flight, I pushed myself so far against the bulkhead I almost felt as if I was trying to jump out the window.
We then landed in Sacramento, with a view that was most assuredly more akin to something out of a post apocalyptic horror film than the Golden State’s capitol. Rainy and numerous shades of muddy brown, the landscape is very telltale of the area and I’m very glad I didn’t have to venture outside of the airport. I almost had to say something to my seat neighbor as we landed, mainly because he was desperately trying to look out the window the whole time we landed and taxied to the Gate. Seriously dude, NOTHING to look at. I recalled a conversation I had with my wife the other day about certain towns being the “armpit” of a state: well I find Sacramento to be high up there on that list of “no redeemable qualities”.
I attempted to deplane, but as we all know that for some reason it takes the 30 people in front of you hours to grab their bags and exit. You’d think with this whole process going on for the last 40 years or so that a) people would have learned to quickly and quietly exit the plane, because once the trip is over you no longer want to be stuck in the metal tube that man (being unable to fly under his own power) was never meant to inhabit in the first place, or b) Airlines would have “gotten the hint” that maybe they should make the center aisle a bit wider so people can egress the fuselage at the same time that people are gathering their bags from the overhead compartments.
After I had aged a year waiting to get off the plane, I was set to hurry up and wait for my next plane which was originally 80 minutes out. Apparently, due to inclement weather, the plane was waylaid to the point where it arrived at the time it was supposed to depart and thus I was thankful that I didn’t have to make a connecting flight at LAX.
The next flight was rather disconcerting.
I didn’t have a seat partner determined to claim what little space we had for himself, but the weather from Sacramento to Los Angeles was quite bad. This caused the plane to have MASSIVE amounts of turbulence. So much so that after the second passenger nearly got drenched with their drink order, they discontinued the beverage service. With the plane nearly dropping out of the sky every 5 minutes, it definitely was indicative of how the rest of the week was looking.
Once at LAX, we were greeted by what seemed to be a rather struggled landing. We had no idea how stuggled it was until the pilot came over the intercome with, “Well…we’re here.” It was responded to with claps, but I think I was more with the scared 2 year old a few rows a head that was bawling uncontrollably. The taxi to the gate took another few years as we undoubtedly had to open each lock in the canal in succession as well as drain the water out of the next one… (bad Panama Canal Joke, sorry)
In the airport, it was chaos. If only because it was raining like any other day in Eugene and these folks had no Idea what it was and were scared because the water didn’t come in a bottle. Swerving throughout the crowd I made my way to baggage claim and grabbed my bags after what seemed to be yet another eternity. My brother Alex, who was my ride, was caught in the morass of traffic outside and nearly got into 3 car accidents trying to navigate to the curb. Even worse that it was raining and native LA people (LAins? LAites? LAer’s?) were acting like scared rabbits, the traffic wasn’t much better off. Glad to see my brother (well, glad to see any friendly face after what was supposed to be a quaint little trip to southern California), we took a quick tour of various points in the city trying to get to a french restaurant at The Grove.
Passing by stores that I knew I’d never be able to buy anything at ever, and ones that I just knew were secretly charging me for just looking at them out the window of the car, we made our way past Rodeo Drive, West Hollywood, and various design and movie production studios. We navigated towards the Grove at what seemed to be speeds in excess of 80 miles an hour on city streets (apparently, you need to be VERY aggressive when driving in LA), and found ourselves some free parking.
The restaurant was what you would expect from a high class LA establishment: the peons get to eat on the first floor for an exorbitant price, and they get teased with the knowledge that there is an upstairs with food that probably is much better, but that you’d need to take out a loan to buy and appetizer with. We were guided to a table towards the back of the restaurant that of course, after my brother and I commented to one another as to the price of the food, was located directly adjacent to the leaking tin ceiling. Not wanting to push our luck, my brother and I grinned an beared it.
Our food was adequate. I mean don’t get me wrong: we were in a nice french restaurant, and any place that I can get escargot, usually is tops. But in this case the description of the meal far outweighed the actual food itself. Frankly, I was more interested in the conversation as I hadn’t actually seen my brother since January, and it was good to be able to chat with him again face to face. I was nonplussed with the fact that we had an Adam Lambert lookalike as our waiter, and his forgetfulness was a bit agitating.
We trundled ourselves back up once we were finished and emerged back into the tropical misting that LA was trying to pass off as a torrential downpour, then decided to brave the Freeways. Much like that scene in The Empire Strikes Back when the Millennium Falcon enters the asteroid field, we were weaving in and out of traffic dodging bad drivers, and stopping 5 feet shy of rear ending someone. For those of you who think that I drive like a madman, be aware that I have nothing on my brother when he’s in LA.
Arriving at the apartment, it was like a beacon of new amongst a rundown old backdrop. My brother made comment as to its similarities to the less desirable sections of San Jose, and I wholeheartedly agree with him there. Everything has this 1970’s look to it; as if the place was overhauled then, and only certain portions have been updated for functionality but not aesthetics. We dropped off my luggage and went to get food for the week at a local grocery outlet. All I can say about that is that for as much as we complain about food prices in Oregon, the cost of living in Los Angeles is brutal. My brother and I were luck to get away with murder on this front as we got all the deals we could. But just seeing the prices on things that in Oregon that are $2.50 being $6.49 down here, it’s a bit disheartening. The rest of the night was relegated to brief periods of hangouts while Alex was working on finishing his papers for school.
The thing that worries me the most about this whole ordeal is two things: First, that even though I busted my ass trying to get my demo reel/headshot packages sent down here on such short notice, I still only have 2 appointments, as opposed to at least 8. Second, I am coming down here wayyyyy too late in my life, and upsetting the balance that my wife and I have established in Oregon. I want to come down here and be available, but she has a great job in Oregon as well as the fact that she’s now part of a band that she enjoys singing in. Coming to LA is looking like less and less of an option versus 3 years ago, and it’s making me angrier than hell that this as a work trip may be a waste of time. It’s also depressing to see what could be, but is out of reach for me at the moment.
Anyway, hopefully today will improve my outlook, but I doubt it. I might go toodle around in my brother’s car, get into a car wreck. Y’know, the usual.