rat tv

for Sarah, in Montreal

The first several months I lived in LA was undoubtedly the loneliest period of my life. I didn't know a soul when I moved here, and had no one to hang out with. Well, I sort of knew another blogger I'd had some interaction with previously, but she turned out to be nothing whatsoever like her online persona - so that went precisely nowhere. My (now ex-) husband was gone, all the time. He worked a lot, but it wasn't until the end of last year that I found out he had some extracurricular activities going as well. Christ I keep getting off track. Let me try again.

I worked from home, for myself, running a dumb little design business that nearly killed me. I'd wake up, start coffee, and be chained to my desk until bedtime. I barely left the apartment for food, much less to go meet people. Our first loft in downtown was across the street from a popular bar. At night while I'd be working I'd hear everyone pouring out of that bar, joking and talking. I'd hear the music and laughter and my heart would just ache. Sometimes I would sit in the window and look down, watching people drift out onto the sidewalk, wishing more than anything I had some friends to get a drink with. After the bar would close I'd stare at the dumpster in the alley behind the bar, where the rats would scurry to and fro, scrambling for trash to bring back to the sewer.

I called it Rat TV.

That was my life. Rat TV.

Mason used to give me hell. You can't tell me there aren't cafes around there. It's LA, there must be a cafe nearby.

There's one literally below my building.

Then go there! Take your computer and go work there. You will meet people, I promise.

I never did though. Social anxiety and a feeling of being terribly, irrationally intimidated by the cooler-than-I denizens of Los Angeles kept me cloistered up in my aerie.

Eventually we met some people in our building. They were lovely, decent people - but it wasn't a love connection. They were just cool, friendly couples to socialize with, until I met others with whom I really, truly clicked. And that? Took years. And a hell of a lot of good luck. I didn't feel like I had a "tribe" until a solid 2-3 years after I'd moved to LA. Much of it has disbanded nowadays but I've stayed tight with those who are worth the effort.

The point I'm trying to make is making friends is a fucking bitch. Moving to a new city can be so brutal. And I guess I don't have any advice or insight, and hopefully it isn't grossly patronizing to say, but I'm not too worried about anyone with the chutzpah to go a music festival alone. I'd wager that by the time Osheaga rolls around next year, you'll be cross-checking your schedule with another music fan or two. Or three.

Rock on.