A week later we plunked the rest of our cash down on an apartment across the street from some chickens on the north side of North Hollywood. (We didn't notice them till the morning after we moved in, when the rooster crowed.) I spent the holiday season on my laptop at the public library looking for work, and landed a NYE gig on the Paramount backlot with a caterer for The Killers, and another lighting cigarettes for Leonardo DiCaprio at the People's Choice Awards.
A week after that, during a temp job as receptionist for the Cartoon Network, I discovered the Hollywood Reporter and Variety, and spent a sunny week in January studying "the big five" and sending my resume cold to HR at WME, CAA, UTA, and ICM. I bought a suit and because the HR head liked that I went to Brandeis, I started at ICM the next week, working in celebrity endorsements and branded entertainment and trying not to drool on Kate Walsh, Neve Campbell, and Smokey Robinson when they came in for meetings. Though my desk was right outside her door, the agent I worked for enjoyed screaming my name as if everything was going to bloody hell, which may have been the case in Sharon Stone's world, though you wouldn't know it from the gorgeous candid photo of her that went up later that year for her Dior watch endorsement. Whenever the agent yelled for me, another assistant on the other side of the building IMed me, "Are you okay?" We were working on Ellen's Covergirl endorsement then, and my mantra was "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." (You have seen Devil Wears Prada, right? That.) Possibly because she felt sorry for me, or possibly because after the agents went home I organized the files and made one sheets for our clients, about 5 months in the dept head promoted me out of the firing zone. By then the writers were on strike and ICM was cutting hours, but I was thankfully safe to make overtime until I found a job for more money and fewer hours in an office with a door in the music industry on the other side of town.
Sometime later, I got a new car, the ex moved out then moved back east, and I became so many things I'd never considered: a yoga teacher, a writer, an editor, a grad student, a wife (again), a stepmother. It's weird to use labels to sum up. I could just say that I've become who I am now, with a life very close to the one I dreamed about having when I was a kid.
If the act of transformation is miraculous, these 10 years have been filled with miracles. I don't know if I yet call it home, but I've lived in Los Angeles for more consecutive years than anywhere else - longer than my native state of FL, longer than my childhood years in NJ, longer than my 7 then 5 years in MA, longer than the stints in PA, NY, NC, TN, and MD combined.
I still feel like I barely know the city, but I have some spots I love, and many people who I could not imagine living without. It is a city of angels and I arrived just in time to meet the love of my life. On Thursday night we're going to celebrate, just a tiny celebration with a drink or two, to mark my 10 year LAnniversary. If you're in the hood, we're going to a quintessential LA spot for a drink and a song with Marty and Elayne. (You have seen Swingers, right?) I mean, come on. Los Angeles. <3