“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.
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 avant–garde 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
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?