Say hello to the new dogs I'm dogsitting. This is Fifi. I hope I'm not giving anything away here by saying she's a touch neurotic. What, is it the ears? The ears? The fact I'm sitting on a table next to a candelabra and crystal vase and therefore I look like a women's accessory to her purse? Is THAT it?
Fifi's sibling is Winston, The Elder Statesman. And when I say Elder, I mean 14 or so. I'm terrified that he's gonna die on me, since this gig is two weeks long, and my first time dogsitting for these critters, because that would be my luck.
There's always a period of adjustment when dealing with any new element. Fifi and Winston have decided to deal by pouting and otherwise ignoring me. I don't think they understand that they're stuck with me for two weeks.
And then I have to remind myself that the first few times I dogsat for Basil Diva Dog, he was none too thrilled to have me around either. Matter of fact, he only really warmed up to me after the one two shock of moving to a new place, and the onset of Ginger Puppy into his life, wrecking the furniture and taking up all the attention.
So yes, it is a little bizarre to wander through this new house, and not have the dogs follow me from room to room as Basil and Ginger Puppy do. But it's just a period of adjustment, right? Right?
I got an email from My Mother, The Phone Harpy, Whom I Love Very Very Much, wishing me Happy L.A. Anniversary. The first few years I was out here, she and My Dad, The Great Stoic Wonder, would send me cards in the mail, marking the day I moved out to L.A. The cards would always say “You can move back whenever you want.” But I think they’re starting to get the idea that I’m staying out here.
But you can make somewhat of a nifty metaphor – me moving to L.A., and me in a new housesitting house with new housesitting dogs. So while Winston snoozed on a couch, and Fifi pouted in the closet, I decided to go look up in my journal to see what I had to say about moving out to L.A. X years ago (no, I’m not saying how many.)
I’ve journaled at least a page a day ever day since I was 16 (there may be a few lost days when I was on benders in college, but no big deal.) I have my entire college experienced documented. I have every single day I ever worked for the Big Theme Park Corporation documented. Every crappy date I’ve ever been on, every great date I’ve ever been on, every time my heart’s been broken, it’s all written down in my journals (and occasionally on my computer when a lot of stuff happened that day.)
First off, My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much is mistaken on the date of the anniversary. She put me on a plane on October 2, not 5. Quelle horror! I am not mistaken on anniversary dates!
Gack, I’m getting anxious just re-reading the journal entries. Mom loves to tell the story of how she put me on a plane to L.A. with a one-way ticket, two suitcases and a computer. What she probably doesn’t remember is that we ran into friends of hers at the airport (My mother knows everyone in town. We can’t go anywhere, the grocery store, the airport, the gas station, without her running into someone she knows.) Mom’s friends were off to visit their daughter in Cancun, and very nicely helped me carry my stuff to my connecting flight when we landed in Memphis.
From the journal entry: “Lots of luck” they said. Everyone seems to say that. The guy sitting next to me on the plane to L.A. says it. Lots of luck. As if going to L.A. is some impossible dream, and I’ll need a lucky rabbit foot while I’m at it...
...and once I woke up as we were about to descend, I saw the brown haze covering, the large large, larger than anything I could possibly imagine city, and I started to freak internally. Shit, what’ve I done? How could I possibly get to know my way around here? (...) It’s like I’ve hit this dead end, and I can only go upwards towards success, or down towards despair and ruin, but I can’t turn around and go back.
You guys know how I hate flying back to L.A. and not have somebody there to pick me up? I think it all stems from this very first flight into L.A. I came in on a Wednesday, the guys I was going to crash with had fed-exed me a set of keys to their place, as they were both working and couldn’t come get me. (I also needed a rental car until I could buy one later.)
So it’s me, stepping off a plane with my two suitcases, one computer, and navigating my way to some car rental place and getting a tiny blue rental car that I swore was made of plastic, and figuring out how to use the 405 to the 101, and then finding the place where I ended up staying for four months or so.
I was so scared. I was scared, because I was alone. My best friends had declined to make the trip out with me. Almost like they were using me as a guinea pig, “Let Amy go first and figure out how to live out there, then we’ll follow her and she can tell us everything.”
Some people dig change. Some people hate it. I’m one of those types that are initially apprehensive about it, but recognize that it’s for the best, and yes, I will get used to it, so I kinda grit my teeth and tiptoe through it.
So I found the place where I was gonna be staying, and tiptoed through it. I was gonna be sleeping on a couch. Using a milk crate as a desk for my computer, and the floor as a chair, because there was no kitchen table or chairs, because these were guys I was living with, and they ate all their meals on the couch (my bed) in front of the TV.
From the journal entry: I call Mom, tell her I’m O.K. and what I’m looking at. She says it’s okay if I find a place of my own.
Just like I’m tiptoeing through Fifi and Winston’s place. Obviously much nicer than a two bedroom in Valley Village with two guys. But it’s new to me, and I don’t know where things are, and Fifi’s pouting in the closet, and Winston looks like he’s got arthritis, and there’s so many windows! I feel exposed!
My circle of college acquaintances helped me in so many ways. They let me crash on their couch, they gave me job leads, they took me to movies and bars. But they were acquaintances, not best friends, and so I spent more than a few months scared out of my mind and not really being able to confide in anyone. It all worked itself out, eventually, just like I’m sure Fifi’s going to come out of the closet eventually, and I’ll be able to find a washcloth for my face, and figure out what I can cook on the grill outside.
From the journal entry: How am I gonna get through this? You have to. There is no other option.
Sounds pretty harsh now. But it worked, didn’t it.