Back to the Belly of the Beast

Two months ago I got a phone call from my former supervisor: “Would you be interested in coming back?”

pause-button

Right here. Just for a moment.

Yup. It happened.

So I could look at this two ways, right? 1) All those hard years trying to avoid this very industry, all that work, thrown away? Ha! No thank you! Or 2) You can’t throw away education and experience, and dammit I need a job. Bring it!

And what happens if I do go back? Do I have demands? Do I have strategies? What kind of attitude should I project? How do I stand? What do I do with my arms?

stratego-multiplayer-screenshot1-300x225

Get it together!

But I didn’t have time for any of it. Robin hardly had a chance to get the words out before my brain sent the order to my mouth and my mouth blurted, “YES!”

So I am once again gainfully employed. I feel like I’ve been treading water in the middle of the ocean for the past 5 years, and the tiny islands I managed to wash up on never had enough coconuts to sustain me long. And now I’ve hit a continent. The very continent I was sent adrift from, yes, but a continent nonetheless.

How many times have I seen something on the news or heard a story from a former coworker, and thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t part of it? How many times have I said, “Whew! Dodged a bullet there!” or “Glad I’m not a part of that mess!”

But the truth is that I’m grateful. I don’t know how to survive without a job, or without someone else picking up my slack. I’m not the gypsy or “portfolio career” type. My family has sacrificed so much. I’m beyond ready to get my life back on course. So when this opportunity presented itself I jumped on it, pride be damned.

I just completed my first week back. I need to start journaling because I’m definitely going to get some good writing material out of this.

journal_fountainpen.jpg

I need to journal with a fountain pen like this.

In related news, I decided to change the name of my blog to reflect my return to the heart of Los Angeles. J9inLA is my Twitter handle, which I don’t use much but which I created with my employed self in mind. So here we go!

fighton.jpg

Fight on.

 

 

How to Impress an Angelino

My friend Tresa recently hosted cousins on a weekend visit from Indiana. Her daughter planned a schedule jam-packed with as much Los Angeles spectacle as possible: Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica, In N’ Out…the typical touristy stuff.

innoutburgers

See the burger in the middle? Animal style: it’s the only way to go.

The cousins were dazzled, but they also ooo’ed and ahhh’ed over simpler sights, such as scrolling wrought iron fences, gracefully aged apartment buildings, or whole neighborhoods perched on hillsides.

savoy

What, this old thing?

It made me think of a visitor we had from Kentucky. The very airport he flew into took his breath away. Like Tresa, we took our guest to places that were uniquely L.A.  What really impressed him, though, weren’t the sights themselves but the immensity of it all. The enormity of singular spaces; the diversity of people and food and things; the way the air buzzes with giddy energy even through quiet nights.

hollywdlights

It’s just an overabundance of electromagnetic fields, really.

Tresa and her daughter are planning a trip to Indiana this summer. The cousins say they can’t imagine how they’re supposed to impress people who live in such an exciting place. “Let us relax!” Tresa said.

That. Right there.

I’ve always lived in some or other suburb of Los Angeles. It’s an incredible place, I know! But it’s also expensive and downright exhausting.  We Angelinos are probably more impressed with small, simple things than our small-town counterparts.  You know what excites us? Trees. Horses. Open spaces. A full night’s sleep. The color green. Rivers that aren’t encased in concrete. Storms. Silence. Affordable housing.

treeview_smaller

But mostly the nature things.

I imagine it’s the same for any workaday person living in a big urban or suburban area. What people from smaller places think of as mundane, we find fascinating. Forget the fancy wrought iron fences…how do you live with NO fences? Aren’t you worried about people coming into your yard? How do you know where your property ends?

And how lucky are you that there’s a creek in your backyard! No, that’s not next to your yard, that’s in your yard; there’s no fence!

What do you mean there’s nothing exciting to do around here? I thought we were gonna play cards and drink beer?

OMG you have a porch swing! Does it work? MOM! C’MERE! They have a porch swing that works!

You are so lucky that you get to drive a half hour to the grocery store.  All that scenery, no traffic, no noise…

What the hell is a potato cannon? You let your kids play with that?  Waddaya mean your kids built that? Your kids are crazy smart. You are the best parents ever.

You paid how much for this house?!

Quiet. Space. Simplicity. That’s how to impress and Angelino.