A year or two ago, I was asked to write for an L.A.-based website. The brand was super masculine and often featured scantily clad “hotties of the month”; so, it’s no surprise that my pitch to do a humorous advice column from the point of view of a miserable, bitter native didn’t last beyond two entries.
I got a lot of interesting questions ranging from “Where is the best place to get organic llama meat?” to “How do I prevent myself from being angry all of the time?” and was so excited about the column that I answered several readers in a few days. Here are my unpublished responses…
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“Where Should I Move?”
I’ve been living in Echo Park for the last couple of years, but I’m tired of being woken up in the middle of the night by police helicopters, gun cross-fire during the middle of the day, and the sports fans beating up people who have the audacity to wear an opposing team’s jersey. I’m thinking of moving to Venice to be closer to the beach (and pot shops), or the fertile and homogeneous Pasadena. Of course, Hollywood seems to be where the best concerts and clubs are these days. Please help me decide where to move!
Ready for Change
Listen, Ready for Change –
You’re in a good position here. You’ve managed to blame your unhappiness on external factors: noise, questionable characters, distance from pot… The minute you move to a nicer area, the sooner you’ll start to introspect. You’ll focus on your age in relationship to your success, you’ll reflect on all of your failed romances, and you’ll grow increasingly irritated over minutiae, like, “Why is that bald dude at Trader Joe’s so Goddamn happy? He’s bald, for Christ’s sake! You can’t be both bald AND happy! Stop trying to give me a high-five, you oblivious greeter!!!”
This is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, my friend. Don’t take care of your food and shelter needs unless you want to worry about more psychological stuff — because I can tell you from experience, it’s easier to want food and get some food than it is to want emotional fulfillment and get some emotional fulfillment — especially in L.A. So remember: it’s best to keep your needs on the lowest possible level.
If that isn’t convincing enough, here’s some more bad news for you: there is no “nicer area” in L.A. If you move near cool restaurants and clubs, you won’t find parking anywhere. If you find a spacious apartment in a quiet area of town, you won’t be able to afford it. And if you manage to find a reasonably priced place with lots of space, parking, and fun things to do nearby, you’ll end up with the worst landlord imaginable — the kind that’ll call the cops on you for no apparent reason, the kind that won’t respond to your request to phone an exterminator to get rid of your cockroach infestation, the kind that’ll show up at your door at 3:00 a.m. like your bipolar ex-girlfriend and ask, “What ‘cha doing?”
In fact, I’d say the very basis of your question is wrongheaded. You want to move to be happier? Take it from me: true happiness is like a mayfly. It can’t exist for more than a day. Sometimes it only lasts a few minutes…and even then, a lot of people own fly swatters. No one’s happy all of the time, RfC — and if they say they are, then they’re either an idiot, a liar, or they have a mental illness. Or they’re a religious fanatic, but I guess I already said, “Idiot.”
What I’m trying to say is, happiness doesn’t come from the outside; it comes from lapses in self-awareness.
Still, if you really insist on deluding yourself into thinking that you can be happy, find the positive in the negative. You hear gunshots in the middle of the day? At least you live around passionate people. Police helicopters are surrounding you? At least you live in a town where safety extends to the air. You’re surrounded by people who have ironic facial hair?
No, I got nothing for that one.