Five years ago, this exact week, I arrived in LA after four days of driving from Boston. Tomorrow morning, I’m getting back in the car and heading back to the East Coast. To New York.
I’m a big fan of cross-country drives (I’ve done four), especially when they represent the transition from one era of life to another. My life has basically had three eras:
1) Growing up in Newton, MA for 18 years
2) Going to college for 4 years
3) Living in LA for 5 years
Between the first and second era was a 15-minute drive from my parents’ house in Newton to Cambridge with all of my stuff. I tried really hard to appreciate the significance. This drive from my childhood home symbolized my departure from childhood—the next time I was in Newton I’d be “visiting my parents,” after having lived with them for my whole existence. Unfortunately, my Dad and sister were in the car and kept yapping about something dumb and refused to let me soak in the moment. I remember my Dad clearly thinking to himself, “This d-bag is acting all dramatic about this drive.”
But after Era #2, I had some serious time to reflect on the transition. I packed everything I owned into my dumb Honda, convinced my sister to come along, and headed West. Having to actually drive 3,000 miles to LA was a good way to underline the significance of the distance I was moving—to help appreciate the magnitude of space that separates the two coasts (then, upon arrival, I had nowhere to sleep and stayed in one of the worst motels that could possibly exist).
So I’m happy to be making the move to Era #4 via dumb Honda once again.
LA and I have a weird relationship. LA doesn’t really bother me, and I don’t bother LA. We coexist pleasantly together. And we hardly ever fight. But our relationship lacks inspiration. There aren’t enough highs and lows. Over the last year or two, I’ve begun to yearn more and more for the excitement and misery of New York. And though I leave LA with relatively little attachment to the city, my last day here has suddenly made me pretty emotional about the whole thing. You’re alright, LA. You’re alright.