Rich Motherfuckers

Over the course of four years, I worked at a joint in Los Angeles on The Sunset Strip. The joint was situated on the corner of a pretty high-profile area, with billboards of upcoming shows and the famous people in them plastered across. Alongside, one could see the lush greenery of Chateau Marmont going upwards, with it’s drive-way visible and it’s bar within walking distance.

The joint didn’t require a schedule, so I’d pop in every once in a while. I didn’t quite look like I belonged there, so I’d occasionally get stopped by security. When not stopped by security, I’d occasionally have staff stare at me with great intensity, as if I’d resembled someone they’d once seen but could not believe they were seeing again right before their very eyes. I don’t particularly like being treated like a freak show, so good times, good times, which these were. Anyhow…

One time, after a year-long break, with some extra age added to my face by time, drinking and the stress of life of being a not-rich-motherfucker, as well as some plastic surgery which either made me look better or worse (I still don’t know), I came back and wanted to work again but security escorted me into the management’s office, where my ID was checked all the while the security popped in and out in between my conversation with management to say the “Cops are downstairs. The man downstairs is a cop.” There was no one there. I looked around me. Where is the cop? Where is the cop? I looked at the cameras all over the office. There were but a few people sprinkled outside and in, all employees or ‘part of the family,’ the group of people who were friends with the owners or their family. The place was always desolate until midnight and filled up only after 2am after the bars let out, and the rich cheap motherfuckers would stumble in to keep the party that is their life going. One of the owners, an older man whose gentle, perceptive demeanor could easily be mistaken for senility, remembered me despite all the passing and going of the employees over the time of my sabbatical away from LA in SF. He ushered away the man in a panic blabbering nonsense about some police.

“Do you want some alcohol?” “How you’ve been?” “How’s the money you been making?” Everything good? And off I went, to work.

One needs to work with what one has. But when the situation is dire, there is not much one can do. If the customer base consists of entitled rich fucks with no acknowledgement, no respect for those serving them, what is there to do but acquiesce with indignant indifference? So was the period in my life where, like an anathema, I served as a walking charity to the rich. I did well enough, just not good enough, always wanting for more; hence, my move away from the city full of Henry Weinsteins that I found Los Angeles to be, onto New York, where everyone seemed have their hand out. I could join in the party, without looking like a weirdo. Or worse yet, a bitch.

“Do you know who I am? Do you know who I am?” some fool yelled at me, when I dismissed his pressing me to follow him to some event in Malibu as a free companion in hopes of some bread crumbs to peck at as reward. Is that what they call a ‘sugar baby’ nowadays?

The role model for all the sugar daddies that ever were hated condoms and loved baby oil. I met his bff. I stopped by Rite Aid to pick up some bath sponges to put inside of me, on the way to his 100 million dollar mansion in Holmby Hills because I didn’t want to bleed all over his fancy carpet and furniture. I’m just nice like that. He gave me some of his pocket change.

Check that one off my bucket-list. Laugh about his bald head with all my work friends. Broadcast his generosity with a metaphorical megaphone upon a milk cart, over the internet. Never mind my saggy tits, my saggy ass or a mouth-full of rotten teeth. I must say it made me guilty to be there-the imprint at the forefront of my mind of the row of homeless people in tents sleeping across my bedbug and roach-infested apartment complex, as I looked on, helpless at what I could do nothing about. I felt like every surface in his home would crumble underneath my touch. Was the poverty imprinted on my fingertips like a contagion?

Do you know who I am? Do you watch television? Do you have a car? Will you need a ride? He looks me up and down. Do you have…the proper attire? His words stung inside me like a razor burn. I never learned the name of that fool. He gave me a throw-away phone number I could not trace to an address or a name, and so he remained a nobody in my mind.

Months later, I’ve sold my car. I’ve shipped all my attire, proper and not. I’m working at another joint, late into the night, early into the morning, as my life passes by me without my hardly noticing. My new gig’s in a fancy part of town, in NY, this time. “Do you know who I am?” I’m stooping over some drunk rich idiot. I’m yelling, angry. “Why don’t you know who I am?” I’m wearing a short tight dress and some six inch platinum heels, fake eyelashes, hair extensions long enough to earn me a prized spot on some corner along A Blvd. (That’s the look my male bosses want; Bless their hearts). I’m yelling. I’m angry. I wake up. I’m laughing at myself. How ridiculous is the question. Who the fuck cares? Oh, the reverence and the joy of anonymity. There is really no difference between the rich and the poor, see.  We are both equally capable of insulting each other.

When I’d lived in yet another city (not NYC, SF) full of money and trickle down economics in full effect, I’d come home late at night/early morning, sometimes after 12-14 hour shifts, with a purse full of money, thousands sometimes. There was always a man sleeping on the ground right outside the apartment where I rented a room.  Upon hearing the key in the lock, he’d start chuckling. I’d look down at him, he looking up at me, laughing and laughing. I felt bad that I had a set of keys and a purse full of money. And yet, he was the one laughing and laughing. He didn’t ask me who I was. He didn’t seem to care. Most of the time, he only got up to go take a piss on the curb off the sidewalk before returning to his sleeping bag. I hoped he was as happy as he seemed.

I went in. I go in. I’m still here. Just a different place. Not LA. Different Coast. It’s older bitch of a sister with chiseled features and a black leather jacket. I’m not like the man on the ground. I’m a woman walking upright on it. Still a walking charity to the rich, still an anathema, only a little more expensive. And I don’t feel guilty. I’m not made to feel guilty. I am, maybe, a little invincible, even despite the chilling cold or the humid heat of my new city.

 

 

 

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Great Expectations

I came to the city, and I did not expect a thing.

What I have now, a few months in, is a few months worth of reflection. Was this what I expected? Was this what I wanted? Is anything ever what I expect it?

I’ve always wanted to live in New York City ever since I found out it existed. My life in Los Angeles was a mere distraction, once I discovered that LA was an actual city that exited on the map, too. So here I am, in NYC, and in many ways, living my self-absorbed dream of self-absorption. I came here with money as my main objective, with the experience of living here-the uniqueness of it-a close second candidate in my priories.

I found a place to live. It is not where I expected. But it suffices, and I’m liking it more and more each day, with all it’s imperfection, I am happy. I found a job. I hate it. But I’m working towards something better, and am hopeful and am never failing to see the positives in my life in spite of the negatives for the time being. I’m not getting rich like I thought be. My financial situation is quite precarious as a matter of fact; such is life.

I don’t go out nearly as much as I can. I have no interest. I like the experience of living in the city, going in and out of work, here and there to wherever I need to, and that is the limit of my desire to experience. I go for long-distance runs, one or two hours each, sometimes more, amidst the most scenic pockets I’ve found in the city within two miles of my home.  I have no friends, only goals and work. Is this the state-of-mind New York city puts one in?

Sometimes I toy around with the idea of returning to LA but it is very far. Hence, is my life.

Were my great expectations fulfilled? Were they great to begin with?

In all truth, I’ve never expected my job to be as physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding as it is. There are days where I cannot get out of bed after working the night before. I’ve been warned by others who’ve known better but I didn’t listen. I’ve started drinking on the job whenever booze is offered because I’m just that miserable. There are people everywhere, noise pollution with music so loud you can feel the walls vibrate and the ground rock under your feet in beat to the music, constant drama from people incapable of regulating their emotions, and overall, a noxious environment in which to be especially if one is not cut out for it due to high-sensitivity and introversion in an environment that requires extreme extroversion and a bit of callousness. And yet, it pays the bills, and then some, sometimes a lot of sum even if the earnings are wildly irregular. Besides, it is to be added with some degree of predictability that anything in New York city, job-wise, is a bit more intense, grind-ish, and difficult than it would be elsewhere. So here I am.

In sum, life is a bit humid here and it is a bit overcast in the metaphorical sense in as much as the literal, but it suffices. And I am happy, if this is what happiness is.

They Among US

Something happened a few days ago.

I had an obligation I needed to attend to a few days ago. I was a little frazzled with work stuff, but at the same time, wanted to make sure I would attend to this sort of obligation in the best possible way. In my anticipation, I even had an anxiety-provoked dream where I’ve completely neglected the obligation because I’ve forgotten about it until it was past due. Anyhow, I got through it. And I was almost on time.

Later on, in my reflections, I was trying to process my interaction in retrospect, with the people during the meeting. How did it go? As I thought about it more, I thought to myself, how maybe some events that transpired were not to my liking. Some of the dynamics of the interaction were a bit more exploitative than I would have liked. Yet, I questioned myself if that was, even so, or whether any sort of wrongdoing was a figment of my imagination, rather than in actuality.

Is there a word for that? That is, where the perpetrator makes the victim feel as though they are the cause of their own ill fate, in order to justify the abuse inflicted upon them by the perpetrator. It’s a type of psychological ploy.

Whatever happened that evening, I’ve resolved to give the person(s) the benefit of the doubt, and not to think that anything bad happened at all. I was so anxious about the entire event anyhow, which might have made me question the legitimacy of other’s sincerity.

This process of thought inspired me to remember something I’ve read a long time ago. I was deep in my deviant psychology phase, and happened to have  picked up a book about sociopathy.  The book states that roughly about 4% of the population are sociopaths, not a large figure but larger than is ideal.

What’s troubling though is that the majority of those sociopaths are not in jail. They are so adept at manipulating their way out of trouble, or committing moral ills that are not illegal per se but victimize people nonetheless. How scary is it to know that one of these people is that one sitting next to you? It can be your boss. It can be your own child, or your mother, either of which you did not choose to be in your life. Many of us, especially those of us who are most agreeable and eager to please, are the most easily persuaded to do evil things via social pressure. But what of those, who live entirely to serve their own interests at the expense of other people? That is sociopathy.

Whether it is peer-induced, sociopathic behavior, or sociopathy in it’s purest form, how does one protect oneself? How does one get out of harm’s way when the blows of harm are targeted straight at you? Sometimes it’s worth a fight…yet, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten less inclined to fight. Perhaps, I am more worn-out, less energy, less umphed to survive. Maybe I’m just smarter. It is through reflection, I’ve realized that one of the greatest weapons of defense is disengagement.

So whether you want to fight, or you want to not fight, as a way of self-preservation, so be it.

Good Deeds

I won’t go into the specifics of my own goodwill but I just want to throw out some food for thought. These random thoughts are inspired by some recent events in my life. So here goes…

A big city could be callous and cold.  Nonetheless, we all need a little help sometimes. That little bit of help is what can warm it up, after all, metaphorically speaking (no literal-ness needed, if it’s LA, lolz). Whether we live in a big city or small, there is sometimes a need for a helping hand. I’m not sure how group psychology really plays out in this general scheme of thigns: Whether people are more likely to help someone who is obviously in need in a big city such as LA, or whether it’s the reverse. This has been far from my experience in LA but for some with ‘real’ friends, I’m sure it can be different. Nonetheless, there comes a time when one of us needs a helping hand.

It’s no fun being the one in need, and it’s not always a comfortable position to be the one in the position to give. Either way, each one is human. As one that is in a position to give, it’s useful to reflect in awe how little one small good deed can cost you in time and yet, can make such a substantial impact on the recipient’s life.  You don’t need to be a ‘friend’. Surely, this might be taken as a radical idea but I think it perfectly acceptable for strangers to help strangers, too.

The one you help does not need to be close to you. If anything, it is the act of helping someone that can bring you closer. If not, that is ok too. At least, the act brings you closer to the universe (Can you tell, I live(d) in LA?).

To sum up, if someone asks you for help, and it costs you nothing but a few moments of your time, perhaps you should help. Karma is most likely a crock of bullshit but at the very least, you are being the change that I want to see in the world, one person at a time.

Sometimes I wish the world was more kind, yet time and again it proves itself contrary. So try to be kind to all who you meet because you never know what turmoil is behind those placid eyes.

Epiphany about LA

So many people, so little with whom I actually want to have a close relationship. Not to brag or otherwise go into an excessive and boring amount of detail regarding my own LA experience, but I think I may be turning into a misanthrope. Yeah, fancy, I know…

In spite of any negativity, I’ve had a pretty profound epiphany at today’s end. Did you know all those fake people LA is known for and is the very deterrent for the real ones even deliberating a move out here? As a resident, I know better, that there is so much more to LA than it’s stereotype. Nonetheless, there is at least a little bit of truth in every stereotype. So yes, there are plenty of fakes here.

But fake or not, even fake people need love. Fake people are people too, after all. So treat even the pretty people like humans, ’cause they got feelings too. That is my epiphany of the day. Revelatory?

Lost in LA (by accident)

I ended up in LA by accident.

This is not a place where a girl like me would end up. Who ends up here anyhow? What kind of a person does this city, the alluring City of Angels, draw?

It’s a city for movie stars or the movie-star poseurs. Is it not? It’s the central of the universe in Hollywood speak. I think it was Kathy Bates who said that one must be invited to come here. Yet many forego the invitation, instead choosing to come here uninvited. Some do just fine; others, who knows (or cares?)? Most likely, lost in it’s abyss. Life goes on as usual. But it is much more than the physical sign, the concept, the illusion of Hollywood.

The city is home to manufacturing and an array of service industry jobs, public parks, and a growing sustainability sector. For a city of it’s size, of course, there is education, healthcare, transportation, construction….I’m sure there is more but that is just to show that as an economy, LA is diverse. Likewise, is it’s population and landscape. In other words, there is a lot of everything in LA. It’s not just a homogenous meltingpot.

Ok, so where were we?

One day, I went to Vegas. It was by accident that I discovered LA. See, I was working in Vegas but could not bear the thought of living there. The city is so shiny, one needs sunglasses to ward off the artificial strobe lights from the casinos and billboards. Greed and hedonism are it’s driving force. I was making enough to work in Vegas as much as I could, but “park” it elsewhere, so I was looking for a city in CA. SF didn’t work out during my initial visit, but LA did.

I fell in love at first sight. I found a place to rent right around the corner of where I was staying on vacation. It was meant to be.

 

It’s really great, and I love it but I’m going to leave. I leave all the places I love, just like I leave the people I love or the people who love me leave me. It’s all part of the transience of life.

Also, it’s really goddamn expensive. I caught the nasty acting bug from being here. It’s so commonplace, it’s easy to catch. But money is an issue for living here and for indulging the acting addiction problem/thing, and so I’m leaving to a place where I think I can average a more favorable profit to living expense ratio. It’s kind of like Vegas for showgirls, except it’s New York.

There is no money in LA. If there is, it is locked behind ironclad gates. It simply does not trickle down. So if you work in a service-sector job dependent on tips while doing the acting stuff thing, you’re most likely SOL. So many descend upon this city with nothing but a pocket full of dreams. As far as wanna-be entertainment people go, the market is so saturated with wannabees that there are simply not enough jobs to go around, even the below minimum wage ones. And so everyone tries to look busy, to claim busy-ness but in reality, we are all twirling our thumbs busy avoiding each other. Am I going to hate NYC this much?

In all honesty, I had a bad year here. I’ve been here a total of five. The last one was especially trying, and by far the worst. Money. Lack thereof. People. Shitty. That is why I’m running away. Maybe I’ll tell you all about it later.

A friend told me to be careful, people here are not like anywhere else. When people say that people in LA are “fake,” it doesn’t mean plastic. It means that when you’re getting chewed up, you don’t even know until you’ve been spit out.

But it’s ok. It’s pretty here, and the sun is warm and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside even if it is nothing but an delusion of safety within a dangerous jungle. And I’m leaving.

If you’re obscenely rich, LA is a good place to retire. When you can afford to guard yourself figuratively and physically from all of harm’s way, it is a great place. I cannot quantify the feeling of peace as I drive into the more mountainous parts. Or how picturesque looks the spill of orange as the sun sets over the beach line in Venice. There were times where I’d go hiking up to the Griffith Observatory every single day. The Los Feliz area around it is quite quaint. And apart from the charlatans of any city, there are many genuinely nice people who emanate a warmth I’ve yet to encounter anywhere else.

As I deliberate a move out, I’m conflicted. Obviously. I’ve learned to hate it somewhat because it’s irked me so but I will always love it. Like a vixen who has nothing to offer a man other than her ever-fading beauty, I think I’ll break it off before I end up like the man who fell in love with a beauty who indulged his love with bankruptcy. I hope I make the right choice.

Therein lies all my ramblings Los Angeles, NYC: The modern day of two cities.