..[Los Angeles without a car, work permit or superpowers]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You Wake Up At LAX

Tyler Durden gave insomnia a bad name. It's really not that terrible if you don't have a job in the morning, or any father-issue-related latent aggressive tendencies which eventually lead you to develop an alter-ego who destroys your IKEA furniture.

(And Tyler 'your condominium is holding you back' Durden would get short shrift in this household, where any savings we might theoretically possess are eternally locked up in rental deposits. Sizeable rental deposits, because we didn't have Social Security numbers when we moved in, and had to put up extra cash to reassure everyone that we were real people. I bet even Tyler Durden had a Social Security number.)

Dr Strangename has retired to bed with all the moral righteousness of the recent convert -- he was notably nocturnal throughout his PhD, which was convenient, given that he was in England and I was in Japan. Now he's a functional adult who starts work at 9am,  but he still has guilty little lapses at the weekend; staying up until 4am reading football blogs and dispatching lines of code to supercomputers, then concealing it the next morning like another sorry addict.

Insomnia in California beats insomnia in Germany, hands down, because we have cable TV. I feel perfectly entitled to watch as much TV as I like, since I own many leather-bound books and several college degrees. With my magical remote,  I can study Organizing With Ease, Painless Hair Removal, or Summer Sexy Abs. I could be Discovering the Bible or Exploring Society or watching Southland whilst reading the LA Times Homicide Report online and having a panic attack.

Actually, I may just put on Entourage and feel mildly depressed that that LA, the sleazy/glamourous one, is still a different country, even if I do volunteer at a school that's convenient for the Viper Room. Speaking of which, Johnny Depp was in Westwood for a premiere last night, and owes many people an apology for causing utter gridlock throughout the area. Certain non-resident legal aliens were forty-five minutes late for their Valentine's dinners, which would have caused husbands to become apoplectic had they not consumed large bottles of Asahi whilst waiting. When I finally arrived, the waiter was rather short with us, but that's ok; we're European and still forget that tipping isn't optional.

(In Germany, one of my visiting friends mistook a 0 for a 6 on our restaurant bill and inadvertently left a huge tip, which led to the young waitress giving us a stern lecture on Teutonic gratuity etiquette and essentially making my friend feel as if he'd handed her an obscene proposal on a napkin).

Is traffic any more glamorous because Johnny Depp is causing it? No. Especially not when you're on the bus.

Insomnia in California doesn't beat insomnia in Japan, though. If you want to stay up all night in Japan you'll at least have a vending machine within slipper-walking distance, and the opportunity to make ridiculous amounts of money, without compromising too many morals, doing night-shift English classes. Teaching eight lessons, from eleven pm to seven am, you pass through interesting strata of Japanese society:

Before midnight your clients are overworked or drunk or both.
From midnight till two your clients are insane.
From two till four your clients are rice farmers.
From four till six your clients are retirees who like to get in at least ten self-improving activities before breakfast.
From six till seven your clients are school children who really wish you would drop dead.

At seven you walk home though all the daytime commuters, your tiredness simply a mirror-image of theirs.

Oh god. Another trailer for Battle: LA is on the television. I don't need to see dramatizations of local landmarks being reduced to rubble, thank you very much. I have a husband here tinkering with the fabric of the universe, and did I mention my security deposit?

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