They call it the OC.

I lived there once upon a time. The interlude years between Chicago and LA. My time spent in Orange County coincided with the rise of such socially profound shows as Laguna Beach and The O.C., which held hostage the imaginations of Americans not living in southern California. Having been born and raised in the Midwest, I harbored my own delusions. During that grueling three-day road trip to the promised land, my sanity was sustained only by the thought of being able to wear flip flops all day, everyday, all year. I also entertained the notion that once I entered California country, I would instantly be blessed with a perennial tan and inherently know how to surf. I made peace with the idea that I would always have sand in my car and clothes.

Though it was weird to live somewhere to which I referred by county. Back in Chicago, never once did I say, “Yeah, I live in Cook County.” In fact, once you mentioned living in the city, the questions quickly multiplied. What side of town? What neighborhood? What street? If you weren’t careful, you might just be inviting a would-be robber to your front door. Yet when I told people I lived in the OC, that pretty much satisfied their curiosity. They knew exactly what that meant thanks to MTV.

After a few months of adjusting to my new life of continual sunshine and exorbitant rent, I realized that something was missing. Quite literally. The visitors? Where were they? I don’t mean the peeps that fly in from wherever to crash for a few days. I mean those individuals who already shared my time zone. During the years that I lived in Orange County, only twice did my LA friends trek down to hang in the 714. I couldn’t understand. Were they not curious to see this mythical land of beautiful homes and even more beautiful people? Apparently not. I usually found myself being the one to battle the 405 in order to see friends. Which is fine. Really. I swear. Gave me the jump on knowing my way around town once I finally moved to La La Land.

But now that I actually live in Los Angeles, not much has changed. If anything, the problem has gotten worse. Though we all reside in the same city, perhaps within the same area code, it’s like pulling teeth to get people to go cross-town. Easily one can go months at a time, even a year or more, without seeing someone you consider a friend. If they live in Echo Park and you’re in Venice, forget it. I speak the truth. I even have a running joke with some very dear friends – all of them diehard Los Feliz folk – that they refuse to cross west of Highland. And I too am now guilty of this friend-on-friend crime. My magic number is twenty-five. Anytime someone wants to meet up, I mentally calculate how long it’ll take to get there. If I determine that it will be more than twenty-five minutes, the odds of me showing up instantly drop by ninety-nine percent. If the occasion is a birthday, however, I’ll tack on an extra fifteen minutes for good measure. In essence, that is my birthday gift to you. An hour and a half of my life stuck in traffic; I count roundtrip time.

We’re all busy little bees. I get it. And maybe I’m just suffering the effects of some strange post-holiday sentimentalism. Or it’s the brand new year resolution thing. Either way, to those loved ones that live in Los Angeles – or even Orange County – whom I did not see last year, that will change. Definitely. I promise. How ‘bout I Facebook you and we’ll set something up? It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out a place to meet in the middle, right?… Right?

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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4 Responses to “A Galaxy Far, Far Away…”

So true!

January 13th, 2011

But for you I’d travel the ends of the earth! Or at least NoHo. 😉

January 13th, 2011

While I don’t have any friends in the OC, but can at least admit that I probably wouldn’t drive down there to visit unless it was a special occasion, I don’t really mind/care the drive from the valley to the west side. I usually only do it on weekends (work schedule prohibits weeknight hangouts), but there is less traffic on the weekend and I can’t expect people to come up to NoHo to see me, if I’m not willing to go to Santa Monica or Culver City to meet them. Sure, it’s best to find a middle ground to meet (for the convenience of all), but if I have a friend in SM I want to see, I have no problem driving down there. It’s really not that far away, if you think about it. XO!

January 26th, 2011

Are you saying you want to come over? 😉

January 27th, 2011