I am in love. It began before I moved here in 1995. In fact, one could make a case that it started in Philadelphia when I was four years old. It was then that I spun my fable to my neighborhood pals that my doll had been hired to play a baby in a Hollywood movie and I would have to move there to be with her. I will save the genesis of that tall tale for another time (think prequel). I didn’t actually get to visit Los Angeles until the mid 80’s and truthfully, my boyfriend and I were not really attuned to where it all happens in LA though we thought we were super-uber-cool. We rented an oh-so-fab furnished condo in Marina Del Rey feeling like Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, when in actuality, we were more like Saturday Night Live versions of them.
In 1991, the full-on love affair with Los Angeles that has never waned began when I visited a close girlfriend who came here to follow her dreams. I spent the first six months of that year socking dollars away to visit Victoria in the summer of 1991. No expense would be spared for our first girls-only trip together through LA. I rented a shiny new convertible at the airport, then pulled up to the Four Seasons Hotel of Beverly Hills (though a rarely accepted truth, it’s on the LA side of Doheny and not in BH) and parked myself for 10 days of the summer. We put glamour on steroids, turned nightlife outings here into Olympic sport and dined at the trendiest and (ouch) most expensive restaurant offerings the city had. Then shampoo, rinse, repeat in 1992, 1993 and 1994. When I said goodbye to Victoria at the end of the summer of ’94, I told her that my next visit would be to move here. And it was.
I told her I wanted my life there to replicate our visits, that if I could live at the Four Seasons, I would. Unfortunately, my budget called for a monthly rent that was approximately 3-nights of staying there. I did the next best thing and lived near the Four Seasons, where 18 years later I still reside. And no one’s carrying my shopping bags in, no one’s parking my car, and I am my own concierge. So might one think that when reality hit, my love affair faded? Think again. This is a city that if you choose to, you can fall in love with every day, all over again. I wake up 300 out of 365 days every year thinking, “Pinch Me!” And the other 65, I’m well aware that I’ve found my soul’s home mate.
For those of you contemplating a move or those of you living in Los Angeles who have a love/hate relationship with this complex city, or worse, an abusive one, help is on the way. Ilene’s psychologically and spiritually sound guide to loving LA is on the way in several volumes. And since I’ve already alliterated with the “S” sound, I will leave you with our first volume’s tip: Sunset. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get in a car on a Saturday or Sunday at approximately 5:00 PM and ride west on Sunset Boulevard beginning at La Cienega Boulevard and not stopping until you hit the Pacific Coast Highway – and stay there until sunset.
Let’s talk about it in our next session. Until then. . . .