2003-02-12 6:11 a.m.
Andie and I went to the SF MOMA on Saturday. It was the most beautiful sunny day I had seen in San Francisco in far too long—reminding me that I needed to move somewhere warmer. We both felt like slackers because it was the first time we had ever used the 12 month museum membership Andie had bought me for my last birthday—almost exactly 12 months ago. At least we would get one use out of it!
The museum was boring this time. None of the exhibits really struck me, except for one. I was beside myself with excitement at getting to see Jeff Koons' sculpture Michael Jackson and Bubbles.
On our way back to my car, we got a call from Emmett. He suggested that we should come to LA for a visit. Andie and I ping–ponged the idea back and forth for a few minutes. Then, with no change of clothes, no toiletries, no maps, and no plans, we got in my car and headed south. We were going to LA!
It was dark by the time we arrived, and our mobile phones were being wanky so we were unable to reach Emmett. So we checked into a cheap suite in Hollywood and let our road–weary bodies rest some.
But soon Emmett called and met up with us. We were exhausted, but we mustered the energy to go for a walk up and down Sunset Blvd. We wanted to get a chance to gawk at the wannabe rappers in huge gold–plated SUVs as they gawked at one another.
The thing about LA is that their measuring system is screwed up. In order to be a "winner" there, you have to be more beautiful, more rich, and have the most luxurious possessions. No points are given for creativity or individuality. The problem with this is that there will always be someone richer or better looking with a bigger SUV and more gold jewelry and a nicer Rolex. So, individuality erodes in the pursuit of a goal state which is homogenous by design. Rich, beautiful people with couture garments and decadent transportation. At that echelon there isn't a lot of room for creativity.
This is so different from San Francisco and the Bay Area in general. Even in suburban areas of northern California, a guy wearing makeup is thought to be a weirdo, but maybe an artist or musician. People may tease him, but many wonder what does he know that I don't know? In LA, if you look different, people just think that you are poor, which means that there is nothing else worth knowing about you. Like I said, no points are given for creativity or originality.
Soon it was 2 AM. Our tired feet carried us through the sea of bar–dwellers—just evicted from their loud, dark alcohol caves and forced out into the beautiful Hollywood night. They looked like they hated it outside. People shuffled back to their cars; men tipped the valet. Some young women laughed at Andie's cat ears hat.
A Persian man threw up over a ledge as his friends comforted him. I stopped and watched the three of them, all with their backs to me. Their clothes screamed out expensive as if they had neon signs to transmit the dollar values spent on each item. But, they still looked ordinary—everyone else was around was wearing the same things. Shredding $20 bills ad infinitum yielded only the prestige of knowing what you own is cost–prohibitive; but, it promises no single–user license or individuality. They displayed sparkly, flashing new mobile phones in holsters on their belts, rather than tucked away in their pockets—phone shaped electronic status medallions.
The crowds thinned as the night continued towards morning. Finally we crossed the street to our hotel. We went up to our room and collapsed into our beds, the sheets soft and white in a way that only happens in hotels. The pounding of woofers from Sunset Blvd. was our lullaby. We drifted off into our own heads and, eventually, to sleep.
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