Writing

The Apartment Life

“I really wish you would settle down….at least a little bit,” my Mom snuck into the middle of our conversation.
“Mom. What does that have to do with the closing ceremony of the Olympics?”
“I mean, really. It’s time for you to find a real apartment.”
She was right.
Having just escaped a living situation that dealt with five dead mice, a housemate who was escorted out by the police, and a boisterous and jealous 70 year-old landlord who refused to lock up the house, I couldn’t agree with her more.
Even my Grandmother chastised me recently for filling up a full page in her address book.
“I keep writing down and crossing out addresses, Lauren! When is this going to stop? I don’t want to go onto a second page. It looks messy!”
When I first moved to Los Angeles I wanted to nest.
I wanted the old Hollywood apartment with the brick walls and the earthquake reinforcement beams protruding through the hardwood floors. I wanted to stand at my window and overlook Los Angeles and feel inhabitantly superior to everyone around me (I don’t think that is a word, but I’ll take it!).
Eventually I got that. Then I didn’t want it at all.
I abandoned all my things, put what I could in my car, and drove straight to Austin, TX.
I moved to Austin with the idea that I would give it three months, then go somewhere new. Eighteen months later, I’m still living in Austin and can’t imagine a more perfect place to be.
Sigh.
Guess it’s time to nest again.
Thinking about all of this brought back old memories of my various living situations in Los Angeles.
1.) Oakwood Apartments aka Cokewood Apartments aka Child Actorville in Burbank, CA:
Soon enough the Oakwood Apartments will have it’s own screenplay. One fourth child actors working at the nearby Warner Brothers/Disney lots, one fourth college students from the East Coast and clueless, one fourth porn film set, and one fourth retirement community. Throw in an OD by Rick James and you have one f’ing party! Dad tried befriending the “dogs” that lived in the parking lot, even after I explained to him that they were coyotes. I found my green Ramones t-shirt on someones front lawn here. I think I was in the hot tub with Shia LaBeouf once. I think maybe I winked at him. I think maybe his Mom who was sitting in between us got pissed.
2.) Archstone Apartments aka Cokewoods II in Studio City, CA:
A new and expansive apartment complex in the base of the Valley, this was the first place I ever threw up from drinking too much and my Mom and Grandma were conveniently visiting me at the time. Ever since that day, my Grandmother ends our phone conversations with, “Alrighty, I love you, honey. Bye bye. Oh, anddon’tdrinkandthrowupeveragain. Bye!” I lived in the loft section of a one bedroom with a couple I knew from back home. My loft didn’t have a fourth wall and the shower was in the middle of the room. We lived next door to Ashlee Simpson. My roommate stole her Emergen-C packets. I think I still have them somewhere.
3.) Two Bedroom aka We Ho’s in West Hollywood, CA:
This was a two bedroom apartment in a converted house. The house was built in the 1940’s and was smack dead in the middle of West Hollywood. Still probably the best deal I’ve ever scored, though it came with it’s quirks (fleas, mold, leaky pipes, windows that didn’t lock). I inherited furniture from my actor boss at the time, which my roommate’s cat promptly ripped up. Same roommate also got drunk off of champagne and tried kissing me while I plucked my eyebrows in the bathroom. He was 37 and loved his cat. This is the place where I drank myself to sleep on Friday nights at 9PM. Oddly enough, our neighbor Andy Dick was probably doing the same thing.
4.) “Loft” aka Purgatory aka Place Where You’d Most Likely Find My Bludgeoned Body in Downtown Los Angeles/Boyle Heights:
This goes up on the list of most idiotic decisions I have ever made. I decided that I wanted a loft in a sketch part of town because I wanted to be cool. Simple as that. I wanted a place where my friends could come and create and I could have conversations like this at parties:
“Well, at my loft downtown….,”
“Wait a minute,” the party goer grabs my wrist, “You have a loft downtown?”
“Oh, yes. It’s not just downtown, my dear. It’s in the ghet-to.”
And everyone would applaud and commend me for my avantgarde actions.
However, it went nothing like that.
The Loft had rats. It had fleas from the rats. It had radioactive mosquitoes the size of quarters born from the nearby recycling plant. It had no hot water. It had sweat shop workers that would sit underneath my window at 4AM and most likely make jokes about the stupid white people living in the “loft” complex. Someone set fire to a van twenty feet from my unit. I’d wake up with giant welts all over my body that I have no idea where they came from.
God, I miss that place.

The magic parking lot- I could leave things in the parking lot and five minutes later, they’d vanish into thin air.
The window that could not close

Never got to move in

4AM, trying to snap a picture of the rat that was eating my food

Billy

This was the first time I lived alone and I f’ing loved it! I had a three piece faux-suede living room set! A stainless steel, double-sided refrigerator! Brick walls! Hard-wood floors! Sure, the place had cockroaches, homeless people that would violently fuck in the back alley, and the occasional drunken driver plow into the nearby building and set it on fire, but it was Los Angeles! This was my heaven. I’d lie in my bed in the closet and listen to the sounds of city life below me. The bright lights of Wilshire Boulevard brought me comfort. I loved this place so much that when I moved to Austin, I couldn’t let it go.
Anyone need an apartment in Koreatown?

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27 Comments

  • Reply Christine Macdonald March 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Ohhhhh that brick is stunning. You have excellent interior decorating skills, my love.

    Being from Hawaii, I can tell you… I know Billy and his family well.

    Aren't nightmare housemates FUN? I once lived with a woman who was sick of me using her hairpsray for 'last minute out the door' spritz's. She substituted bleach for her Paul Mitchell one day. I also came home to my entire closet emtpy. To this day, I have no idea what she did with those close, and how she thought of the bleach trick. Brilliant and Evil.

    Congrats on the nesting.

  • Reply Christine Macdonald March 4, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    *clothes*

  • Reply Apryl March 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I love living vicariously through you. Just saying.

  • Reply Apryl March 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    (and Boston is a fun city to try…also just sayin)

  • Reply WILDasaMINK March 4, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I can't decide which living situation I like the best from what you described here. I mean, I AM wearing a green Ramones t-shirt today (so maybe I'm bias to the one where you found your shirt on some else's lawn…did you take it off to flash Shia before entering the hottub?). Although I do have to admit the creepy skeeze factor of a 37yr old roomate trying to kiss you (when he loves his cat, meaning he probably tried to kiss his cat too)makes me laugh.
    And then there's the unexplained welts all over your body–maybe bedbugs? NYC has a horrible issue w/bedbugs-fingers crossed they don't find their way into my apt.
    ANd when we get down to it–I can't decide if I like the loft or your beautiful Koreatown apt better…the Koreatown apt pic makes it look very inviting.

  • Reply Heidi March 4, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    eeek… I'm starting to appreciate my boring side. Thanks Lauren!!!

  • Reply [email protected] March 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    The Koreatown apartment is beautiful!!!!
    As for the rest…you are a brave girl.

  • Reply Impressions Of My Life At The Moment March 4, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Eeek, that loft sounds horrendous. However, your last place sounds like magic. I would covet it too.

  • Reply inflammatory writ March 4, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    OMFG. That roach. I screamed out loud. Everyone in my cube farm stared at me and I was like YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND and then showed them cockroach photo. More screaming. I am really glad you got out of there.

    One day, I will have to post about the nightmare railroad apartment I lived in that made me 1) never have a roommate again and 2) hate Brooklyn.

  • Reply That Chelsea Girl™ March 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Wow, that's a lot of different places in one city. The Koreatown place does look lovely. I'm curious as to your digs here in Austin now. Take care!

  • Reply IT March 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Well… I lived in East Palo Alto during the '60s.
    He said smugly

    I know that's way too much about me, but I survived there for over five years.

  • Reply jules March 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    You are bad ass!

    LOVE the pics of the last one. I am so jeal!

  • Reply j March 4, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    the picture of the cockroach with the title "billy" in italics was hilarious.
    and frickin frack, i'd take any of your apartments you nomad you.

  • Reply T!nK March 4, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    umm. i need that marilyn monroe print in my life. jus sayin.

    i would SO move to your apartment in LA. I need to find a job first. 🙂

  • Reply The Mad Dame March 4, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    The Loft and Studio I'm in love with. It sucks with ick factor of them.

    *makes notes of where to live she comes back to LA*

  • Reply AVY March 5, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I just want to get out of LA.

  • Reply Aimee March 5, 2010 at 1:41 am

    These are amazing. I want that Koreatown apartment. Well.. if I lived in LA. But like you, I'm in Austin. Here I dream of living on the Eastside close to El Chilito or.. really fancy dream of living South Lamar close to Zilker.

  • Reply Jane Duke March 5, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I don't know how I ended up reading this but it is hilarious — especially what you say about your conversation piece of a loft. Last summer I committed to living in oh-so-trendy SoHo on a very small budget, which eventuated into my residing in a 6th floor roach-infested walk-up with no air-conditioning. So I can relate. I never thought of naming the bugs though.

  • Reply Mel March 5, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Every time I find myself in a crappy living situation (and there have been many) I console myself with the thought that it's going to make a great chapter I'm my memoir.

  • Reply cjschlottman March 5, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I've been secretly been planning my escape from The Heart of Georgia. I don't think I can do LA, but Austin sounds like a possibility, so could you have the Koreatown place shipped there so I can move into it and start living my own life instead this piece of crap I'm living here?

  • Reply rae March 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Maybe you should write a screenplay about your various living situations. Because, as a whole, they are epic.

  • Reply Colleen March 10, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Not only are you hip, you are uncommonly brave as well.

  • Reply Murr Brewster March 10, 2010 at 6:01 am

    The house was interesting enough, with a round tower and sagging floors, and when all four of us bought waterbeds and filled them with a hose on the same night, we left for pizza in case the whole place came down. It was that confluence of like minds that really sealed the deal. We were all so lazy that the only cleaning we'd ever do would be to take a sponge to the counter and clear a space 1/2 inch bigger than a piece of bread, pin it down and spread the peanut butter, and call it a night. Then a well-brought-up person moved in and ruined the whole deal.

  • Reply Rebecca March 12, 2010 at 5:35 am

    This reminds me of all my diverse living arrangements in Los Angeles as well… the valley apt, the weho place, the sketchball roommates… good times.

  • Reply time for our college internship | lookyloo diary March 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    […] The Hipstercrite website had this to say about the Oakwood:  ”Soon enough the Oakwood Apartments will have it’s own screenplay. One fourth child actors working at the nearby Warner Brothers/Disney lots, one fourth college students from the East Coast and clueless, one fourth porn film set, and one fourth retirement community.” […]

  • Reply joeanne September 22, 2013 at 1:38 am

    loved this. wheres the koreatown studio you lived in? im looking to live around that area and this helped a lot! please let me know! id love to check it out 🙂

    – joeanne sung

    • Reply hipstercrite September 23, 2013 at 10:38 am

      hi, joeanne!
      i used to live in the 3rd and western area! the area around western and wilshire is cool too!

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