California II

I’m going to Los Angeles on Monday.

Used to be L.A. was something of a break for me, even if I was there on business. Once upon a time, I dated a woman there (she of “Intent on St. Paul” fame). We met at my buddy James’ wedding in Kauai. (Who wouldn’t fall in love in Kauai?) And carried on a doomed but exciting bi-coastal relationship for the better part of 2002-3.

After a few days in the Santa Monica office, she and I would steal away to Palm Springs for the weekend. We stayed at the great mid-century motel called The Desert Star. There were no sounds: no traffic, no airplanes, no crowds. We’d lay by the pool and read Vanity Fair. When it got too hot, we’d go inside and watch Oscar screener DVDs from the motel owner who was a member of the Academy.

I may be one of the few guys who a) isn’t over 65-years-old or b) doesn’t play golf who really digs Palm Springs. I love the desert heat. I love the mountains. I love that I keep ending up there (like Vegas, only better). I mixed “Crash Site” there. And some day, God willing, I’ll have a (very tame) bachelor party there.

So she moved to New York and we broke up. And L.A. lost its luster. Not just because of her. Honestly, the thing that broke my back was staying at The Mondrian and working in Santa Monica. It was a ten mile commute, but it took over an hour. That’s a lot of KCRW. I used to fantasize about living in Santa Monica and riding my bike to work. That I would do. But car culture? No thanks. All that and The MTV made it clear that they wanted me in New York.

But I do love the mountains, and the sea, and the desert. And I do love the sun. And I’ll see my buddies James and Matt, and a whole crew of great MTV colleagues. And I’ll run on th beach. And sure, I’m like Hollywood. So that’s cool. But … but, I dunno’. But I’m digging my home here. It’s taken a long time for me to feel like it’s mine. I finally have my own place, my (ha ha) “big boy” apartment (thanks, mom). I like my little quiet life.

I distinctly remember being a little kid and saying to my dad, “You’re so lucky you get to go on business trips!” And he said, “It’s not a vacation, Ben. You don’t really get to enjoy where you are.”

So … I’m going. On Monday. For a week. And I’m taking the red eye home on Friday night so that I can be back in time for The Smith Family show at Hank’s. I’m tired just thinking about it.

And I know what you’re thinking, ‘You can go to the The Museum of the Jurassic Technology with Michael Penn!’

I won’t have time.

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