Twenty Two and a Few (Part 1)

I wake up to the sound of ringing. It could have been the ringing of my ears as a result of last nights party but it’s louder and of course it’s my phone and of course I have no idea why it’s under my pillow.  Oh, cell phones: cryptic tools harboring text messages in Shakespearean lingo like LOL and WTF, blurry photographs of bands I don’t care about, and phone numbers for people like “BurningMan”, Bob Closetalker”, “Jody Stylist?” and “Ryan #4”.

I find a pair of jeans on the floor and crawl into them while darting my half-open eyes around in search of a clean T-shirt. I don’t know why I always look on the floor for clean clothes, a social reflex that only Saturday mornings can provoke.

Put my contact lenses in, do the robotical AM washup.

Saturday morning traffic is great. I sip coffee from behind over-sized sunglasses and pretend to listen to NPR when really in my head I’m rehashing the sociopolitical interactions between acquaintances of the previous evening.

I roll into a parking spot and put all the change I can dig up into the meter. It amounts to 29 minutes total as I conveniently forget that I’ll be there over an hour. “At least it’s not raining”, I irrationally think instead.

My acupuncturist knows I’ve been up late. I can see it at the corner of his smile. I’ve been visiting him since January, in staying consistent with my absolutely inconsistent lifestyle. I wonder when the Friday night pass expires in life – when is it unacceptable to be out until 4:30 am? Perhaps until the wrinkles become faintly apparent in mid-morning to late afternoon light? You know, the light that makes you think to yourself “Wow, times are tough” no matter how much sleep you’ve gotten the night before.

After the session, I leave the office and take a walk down the street. The sunshine is always perpetual in Beverly Hills. It’s like those gaslamps on Beacon Hill in downtown Boston that that never go out. The never-ending light of the affluent.

There are nail salons everywhere and the sun is shining and I feel the post-acupuncture haze combined with my Midwestern consumerist upbringing lure me into a salon. I chose the brightest pink color I can find.

I consider the nail technicians to be a cheap alternative to having an actual therapist. I sit and we talk, or I talk, lamenting about my job, relationships, social scenes. I complain and the woman tells me to be patient and as I glance at my nails as they seem dry but then realize she’s talking about life.

I slightly feel the three pins sticking out of the top of my head leftover from the acupuncture session. I realize the woman with the two toned sunglasses coated in gold jewelry waiting in an armchair for a pedicure is trying not to stare at them. I look back at her and we both smile, silently acknowledging each other’s crazy.

I have an hour to get to the gym prior to meeting the gang at Saddleranch for brunch. Brunch is a loose term for any meal happening before six. This only makes sense because in a town like LA, the traffic is so bad that you can only really make time to do one or two things during the day. Unless of course it’s a holiday in which case the roads are yours for the taking. “Today”, I’ll announce as I walk to my car, “I’m going to the bank.”

If I’m lucky, I’ll make it to Starbucks where I’ll inadvertently wait another twenty minutes for a latte, because let’s face it, everyone in this town is on Venice Standard Time.

This is Part 1 of a series. “22 and a Few: Life as a 20-something in LA”

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