Lost in Hollywood

A friend posted a link in the ol’ newsfeed to Google’s Location History to appraise Droid users of just how intimately your phone knows where you were last night.  A privacy concern, for some.

My first thought was: Haha, yeah! I can show my friends exactly how lost I got in Hollywood last week.

I’ve been feeling lately that to truly get to the meat of what San Diego is like, I need to juxtapose it with other places. So when Katelyn needed to make a trip to Los Angeles to pick up something she won on eBay, I happily joined her do research, and, you know, to make sure she didn’t go into some creepy millionaire’s basement and get murdered.

She went into some creepy french millionaire’s basement and did not get murdered, so afterward we went to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles to celebrate. As you probably already heard, I scooped chicken and waffle alike with my hand shovels into my mouth bucket, and then wiped all with individually packaged moist towelettes, and felt sated and warm.

Afterwards we decided to go to the Frolic Room, which promised via Yelp to be the best dive bar in town. Based on the reviews and my limited understanding of Hollywood, I guessed it was the best simulation of a dive bar in town, with well dressed white people, new furniture, and an unusually kind bartender. Basically, the perfect spot for a San Diegan in an unfamiliar city.

First, we returned to our car to drop off unfinished chicken and waffles.  We had parked on Carlton Way, which is flanked on both sides by towering palm trees in symmetrical rows – probably a street that has shown up in a movie somewhere – the height and precision of which isn’t seen in comparably modest San D.  I think that is where we started to go wrong; we started to imagine ourselves sauntering down this aisle of palms like Californian rockstars and went absolutely the wrong way down Carlton.

Here’s our goal:
Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 9.25.55 PM

Approximate actual route:

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 9.25.40 PM

That’s only Part One of our misadventures, and it doesn’t show you the brief moment we started to walk the wrong way down Sunset Blvd. We stopped to consult my smart phone, and exactly as I feared, some “helpful” citizen off the recently departed bus started talking to us, in a creepy old man talking to two young women kind of way. I whipped around, “We’re fine. Bye,” and kept walking, determined not to look as lost as I felt.

We made it to the Frolic Room.  It was an enjoyable approximation of a dive bar…. hipsters, new furniture, and an nice bartender. Besides realizing that LA is much bigger than SD, I’d also noticed that fewer (guy) people talk to me, though Katelyn assured me we had no lack of gawkers with long white beards reminiscent of our friend at the bus stop.

I’d also noticed that drivers in town sort of make up their own rules — running red lights, meandering around stopped cars — in a peaceful sort of way. I’d seen two cars pirouette easily around each other in a parking lot, where back home I’d have seen frustrated 5-point turns, impatient glaring, even honking.  San Diegans have a certain, anxious rigidity about traffic law, and a certain insecurity about parking situations.

We walked along the streets again, and I saw a woman with skunked hair on tall, heel-less platforms, surrounded by jackals, her entourage of sharply scruffy men. There’s a different sort of confidence in Hollywood. Maybe it’s all an act, but she seemed to know she was indefatigably interesting, stylish, that she knew where she was going…. Which, apparently, 10 blocks ago, I did not. We had planned to get just one more drink on the way back to the car, at some tavern or another, but-

Let me remind you of our goal:

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 10.05.48 PM

Now let me show you an animation of just how lost we got in Hollywood that night:


Unrelated journal entry & I went to a Goth Club in LA (predictably, somewhat of a disaster)

I’m struggling to write something Survival Guide appropriate. I could relate my venture to Los Angeles, where I went to the wrong Goth club, spent too long in Hollywood traffic, went to the right Goth club, dropped my lover in a fountain, and spent 3 hours going up and down Sepulveda Blvd trying to get to a hotel room that never was.

I could give the diary entry that followed that night, but to be honest it’s too dark. Maybe it was the Goths, or maybe it was because a San Diegan in LA with only scraps for a plan and too much whiskey is destined for shame, baby. Oh, lord, haha my shame.

Because I don’t want to disappoint anyone who may be keeping track of the fact I promise new content every Thursday night (tricked you today by posting last week’s work to Facebook!) I’ll give a more innocuous diary entry. I thought this one was appropriate because I refer to my “audience” a.k.a. my friends <3

Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 6.06.51 PMAlso… 91 degrees — that was in September! Yesterday, I learned that what I have been experiencing this week in the form of “weather” is called, “blustery” and that some masochists people out there enjoy it.

Welcome to Sami Brain:


My face catches, little gestures of sadness, unfinished frowns. Lately. I’m grieved that I spend no time on my book, grieved that I have no discipline. I have nothing to say. When will the words come pouring out? I can draw myself puking black but it doesn’t make it so.

I’m stretched. So thin. I don’t know who I am. I can borrow other people’s words. Gather them in a little brown book. Publish them to twitter. I can become a filter for the firehose. That’s all anyone every wants these days. Discernment.

How do I produce reliable opinions on subjects? Are all prophets just bullshitters? I stared at my words written in red ink, and I didn’t recognize them, just as I didn’t recognize my face in the mirror when I was young and concrete was so cold it ached inside your lungs are fibers* your bones are glass.

If only, if only, I can become such a celebrity that people will want to read my diary. Then, maybe I am being productive. Gathering a fan club, generating mythos, larger than my ego, 50 feet tall, a giraffe of a girl. I will be so desirable, you will all read my diary. Whatever I write, you’ll eat it up like I eat pussy. It’s not that I want people to worship me, it’s that I’m lazy. I prefer to craft my audience to my existence than my writing to an audience. Love me as I am and let me be as slowly and lightly as I like. I don’t want to filter my firehose.

Anyone reading this would add so much more melodrama than I actually feel. I am just a little tired, a little hungry, a little naked and bored. My insides are immovable and I won’t feel better until the rocks come out of me. Stress and fucking, I suppose. I don’t think it was the cheap food. I feel instead pounded like a slug of clay into a hard lump.

I’m so close to the finish line. I am chewing on ambition like an overworked piece of meat that I’ll never be able to swallow. My mother will offer her hand (to me, as a toddler) and I’ll spit out the soggy, heavy chunk.

*Reference to a poem I wrote in 2008 or 2009. I’m not sharing the whole thing because I’m pretty sure the only people who like poems are people who write them, and then, only their own poems. When I read my own poems I am convinced I am a genius, and when I read other people’s poems (except Matt Steele’s or Rachel Dexter’s) I am pretty sure they are talentless puffs of cotton candy or that I am an asshole who doesn’t appreciate poetry.

Anyway, since you’re not living inside of me with me, and you can’t read my mind, you might benefit from a little context. Here’s the excerpt:

this slick demon
sucked air from my
tiny fibers were my lungs
scrambling like fingers toward a pale

It goes on, and basically it means I should have listened to the doubts telling me to dump my boyfriend.