For a place that is so incredibly beautiful, there is something about Southern California that I find relentlessly lonely. More than New York. More than any city of Europe. I find Southern California to be a terribly isolating and ungrounded experience.
Which isn’t always a bad thing. There are times when it does a world of good to be alone. I just need to expect the sensation. Rather than stumbling through it for three days, wondering why I feel so off.
The irony is that on the whole I find the people in LA to be very friendly (with a few extreme exceptions). On this trip one of our servers at a sceney restaurant invited us to the New Year’s party she was hosting at a friend’s apartment (and we went). I can’t imagine that happening in Minneapolis or Denver.
So it’s not a question of people being rude or cold (Germany and the Czech Republic are immensely more standoffish). Instead, it’s the feeling of everyone and everything being on display. The feeling of being watched, and of people expecting to be watched.
It’s a sensation that’s inescapable in a one-industry entertainment town. A judgement inherent in the whole process. A few winners. A lot of servers.
It’s hard enough under normal human circumstances to be rejected. Now, add in hopes and professional purpose and a paycheck, and the need for external validation goes from a want to an existential threat. The stakes are so high that it makes places like SF or New York seem chill by comparison.
Everything here is very cool. And nothing is chill. It can be hard to look at people who have something to prove.
Probably because it hits too close to home.