Hahaha! yes! Stay inside for the rest of your life. It’s dangerous out there…
The holidays are here. Yayyyyy. And that means holiday parties. Joyous, food-filled, awkward-conversation-having, booze-fueled, ex-boyfriend-seeing, holiday parties. And that also means those dreaded six words are lurking around every corner:
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO?
First of all, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I love being invited to these parties. They’re currently one of the only reasons I get out of bed and turn off my television that’s continuously playing TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting. Which should tell you a little bit about “what I’ve been up to.” But this question has to die.
There are many forms of this question:
“What’s been going on?”
“How’s everything gong for you lately?”
“How are things?”
But they basically all translate to: “TELL ME A VAGUE RESPONSE THAT SUMS UP EVERYTHING THAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS.” It’s a simple question that somehow shakes us to our core as social individuals.
Now, I bet some of you are thinking, “Just because your life sucks and you still sleep with a baby blanket doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t mind talking about our lives!” But what they don’t understand is that my blanket keeps monsters away. Regardless, whether or not things are going terrible or awesome in our lives, it shouldn’t be the first thing we ask someone after not seeing them for a while. I mean, if things are going shitty for me, I don’t want to depress the poor old co-worker or mild acquaintance I’m talking to. And if things are going really well for me, I don’t like to rub it in Ryan Gosling’s face while he’s pathetically trying to hit on me! I mean, come on, work on your abs a little!
It’s a stock question that we’ve made up as a culture to perpetuate small-talk and to take the responsibility off of us in social situations. It’s the easy way out and a lazy question, right behind “Can you get me a pizza, Mom?” You exemplify just enough social etiquette to keep things on a surface level, but you don’t use any effort to find a common topic with the goal of eventually getting to know one another better. This behavior is reserved for one place and one place only: your gynecologist’s office.
But this is real life, not my gynecologist’s office (But how cool would that be if it was?). We should be doing more than just skating by with enough empty questions to keep on someone’s good side. Ask me about my day! Or my outfit! Or how on Earth Michele Duggar has popped 19 kids out of her body!! ANYTHING other than, “What have you been up to?” Because as soon as you ask me that question, my mind races through my internal rolodex, feels bad about what I’m not doing, and then makes up some fluff answer about how things are going “great” and “really moving forward.” And it brings me no steps closer in getting to know you or having a fun and interesting conversation. It keeps us on the surface and I don’t want to have that type of relationship with you. I want to be best friends FOREVER.
Now, it’s obvious that I am a crazy person. We can all agree on that. And by “we” I mean the voices in my head. But this has seriously been on my mind lately! Along with: gummy bears, multiple flavored popcorn tins, and Michele Duggars deflated beach ball of a body. Seriously, it probably looks like Sylvester Stallone’s face.
Maybe I just don’t know normal social cues and I fall somewhere on the Autism spectrum. Or maybe I’m a genius, like Rain Man. Either way, I wont be asking anyone I know “what they’ve been up to” any time soon. I might ask you about your hair or if you think Ryan Gosling and I would make a cute couple (after he works on his abs, of course), or who your gynecologist is, because mine is amazing and I’m a competitive person.
Anyway, I hope everyone that reads this blog (mom) has a really great time this winter celebrating whatever it is that you celebrate. I hope you can be around friends, family, and love. This will be my last post until after the New Year and I just wanted to say how much it means to me that people I know and love actually like reading this silly little thing.
And just incase you were wondering, I’m doing great and things are really moving forward for me.
A couple weeks ago I walked outside to find a crack in my car’s windshield. I was so freaking happy. Not only was this going to cost me a lot of money, but it would also take time out of my life. And because I only make about a million dollars writing this blog every week, I had to dip into my savings to pay for this new windshield. I don’t like using the trendy hashtag “#blessed,” but if there was ever a chance to use it now would be the time.
So, I ended up buying a Groupon for the windshield, because that’s where my life’s at right now. I was $200 in the hole for literally doing nothing except being an amazing person and role model to young children. I was about to go get a burrito and eat my feelings away, when I got to thinking about ways that I could save money. Maybe running out to Del Taco, to Silverlake Coffee, or to grab a drink every time I felt like it was the reason I had to repair my windshield using a coupon.
So, I made a plan. For one week I was going to curb my frivolous spending. I wouldn’t spend any money on things that I didn’t absolutely need. I was like a mountain woman about to climb Mt. Everest with a baby on her back. Except this would be much harder and I’d need an extra pair of underwear.
After one week I ended up saving $67 dollars. Now, that might not seem like much to my high-roller, soul mate, best friend- I’m looking at you P. Diddy. But just to put it in perspective: if I did this for an entire year I would save $3,500. That’s like 17 windshields! Or a million tacos from Taco Bell! I’ve never been great at math so I’m not sure what else to say right now!!
And it’s not like I was even doing anything. I was basically just not being a gluttonous toad. Not buying everything I wanted, anytime I wanted it. Aren’t I so great?
Here’s a breakdown of things that I didn’t “indulge” on:
I want to say that I’m not embarrassed by this list, but then I’d be lying. And liars are bad people, like NFL stars and politicians. I AM embarrassed about this list. About how I can’t park a block away from yoga for free and save $1.50 a week or $78 a year. JUST FOR NOT WANTING TO WALK. NAMASTE.
I’m embarrassed that it’s a challenge for me to go out to a bar with friends and be okay sitting there and talking, without clinging to a drink to quell my insecurities.
But then I got to thinking some more (I know, a lot of thinking going on inside this beautiful blonde head of mine), having a hotdog at Costco, or buying the newest Lady Gaga song makes me happy. I like having part of my income being able to go to more “disposable” things. So if I have to allot $3,500 *gulp* a year for my happiness, then so be it!
I have a savings account; I donate money to Planned Parenthood (and so should you); why can’t I also have a little fun sometimes? And just because “having fun” to me means advent calendars, ice cream, and Subway sandwiches, that doesn’t make me a monster. It just makes me a really sad person. Sad like the magazines tell me Jennifer Aniston is. Or sad like this guy:
But alas, it was a fun experiment. And my car is doing fine with it’s new windshield. And me? Well, I’m just happy and healthy and #blessed.
It happened about a month ago. My boyfriend and I sat down to discuss our impending anniversary trip. A cold shiver went down my spine as he suggested that we “get out of town.” This could only mean one thing: we would have to leave Los Angeles. Leave the air quality, the people, and the traffic… Lets just say that I didn’t handle the news well.
After 13 glasses of wine I calmed down and obliged (I also drunk dialed my mom, but that’s a different story).
We decided to travel up to Big Sur for two nights and three days. 72 hours away from my lovely freeway onramp of a town. I can’t tell you how many times I sat awake that month wondering if I had made the right decision.
Then, without warning, the day we planned finally came. We packed up my white 2010 Prius. Such a trendy car in city of meth angels but, would it be accepted once we crossed county lines? I didn’t know. There was no way of knowing.
We set off on the 101. After about an hour I no longer recognized the freeway that I had once spent 2 wonderful hours on to go 10 miles. There was fresh air, ocean views, and the worst part? No dudes in convertibles swerving by me and cutting me off.
As we headed further north my emotions went south. I was going through possible exit plans when we pulled into our destination.
I took a nice long look at my Hades away from home, or the Treebones Resort as the foreigners liked to call it, and slowly my “exit” plans turned into “suicide” plans.
As the sun went down that first night the terror set in. Was I really expected to stay here? Where were the noises I was used to hearing at night? The helicopters overhead that put me to sleep like a lullaby? Where were the buildings and lights? The views I was used to seeing that put me to ease.
Now I had to deal with this:
The way the ocean waves crashed on the shore below and how the twinkling stars lit up the night sky made my stomach ache for my own full sized bed with my own moderately priced Ikea sheets. That is until I woke up the next morning to this:
I unzipped the tent, took one look at the view, and then I knew I was in trouble. All I could do now was shake hands with the devil and hope he liked my racially sensitive jokes.
We made our way up to the lodge (yes, the lodge) and here’s how I ate my breakfast:
Not in my lap as I’m swerving through traffic to make it to work on time or at a stuffy, trendy brunch spot where I had to wait 45 minutes to get a table. Like THAT. With an ocean view perched on top of some chair made out of wood, eating all organic food. Where were the faux-vintage leather arm chairs and the waitress who had a cooler hair cut than anyone I knew?
This was all becoming too much. I had to retreat to my cell phone and check my various social media sites to relax and feel bad about myself given what all my peers were up to. Then, something truly horrible happened. I. HAD. NO. SERVICE.
At this point the situation I was in almost became laughable. But, I mean, I’ve been through much harder things than this. One time I woke up for a yoga class at 6:30 in the morning.
I could handle this. If there was one thing LA taught me it was that I was a nobody and this nobody wasn’t going to take Big Sur lying down. So I grabbed my book and went to the beach to lie down and read for a few hours.
Maybe it was something in the sea air but later on that day, things really took a turn for the worse… my boyfriend and I started enjoying each other’s company. And not in a way that I was used to in LA, we didn’t take a seminar on tantric sex or rush out to see the newest movie that you had to see in IMAX or else you were a garbage couple, we just relaxed together and talked and joked. It was overwhelming to say the least.
As night fell on our last evening in Big Sur I couldn’t help but feel changed. I was like a small town girl who had gotten out. You see, you have to leave your comfort zone every once in a while to truly know how good you have it.
So, thank you, Big Sur. You were like a book I had to read but, that was also filled with garbage. Basically, I hate garbage, but you can learn a lot from it.
As we got back into Los Angeles the following morning I couldn’t help but feel at ease as I slammed on my breaks to let a dude with awful hair plugs pass me in his Beamer. He had places to go…
And now I did too.
I have a confession to make. I’m in love. Obsessed. Addicted. Super cool - WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL ME. I love television. I have ever since it became my babysitter when I was a kid. That little box in my living room was my buddy, my best friend. And I don’t even care if you feel sorry for me because I know how super cool I truly am for it.
Ever since the invention of Netflix my life has slowly gotten more amazing. This is not a brag but, I can spend a whole day on the couch watching episode after episode of a show. Friends? Boyfriend? Work? Human interaction? Creative fulfillment? NOT FOR ME! I’m fine bettering my life away.
I even created a new term for my addiction, sort of like a metaphorical tissue for my metaphorical tears. I call them my “creative absorption” days. On one of these days you might find me in bed, on the couch or some combination of the two. Just absorbing television. It’s truly an enriching experience.
You know the feeling of when you first fall in love? You can’t wait to be around the other person? You find excuses to call them? Your mind is constantly racing with thoughts of them?
Now times that by 10 and that’s how I feel when I find a new show to binge watch.
First it was Mad Men. It was like a lover who introduced me to history, good whiskey, and dark downtown bars. I’ll never forget those nights and days on the couch learning about Don and feeling sorry for Peggy and Joan. I even got to relive the 60’s! For the first time!
Then there was Breaking Bad, what a wild crazy ride that turned out to be. Have you ever had a one night stand with a tatted up drug dealer in the back of an alleyway? Well, I have. And his name was Breaking Bad.
Then Friday Night Lights fell into my lap unexpectedly. I went on a soul journey with that show. I packed my bags and moved out to Texas for the summer. That show turned this city girl into a strong willed, deep hearted, country dame. Go East Dillion!
And The Wire? Don’t even get me started. That show taught me patience, made me think outside the box, and opened my eyes to the politics that plague our nation.
Just get past season two and clear out your schedule for the next month. TRUST ME.
But don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all ice cream and puppies. Although, I did consume a ton of ice cream. There were some bad shows too…
Dawson’s Creek? I’m sorry but Katie Holmes is like if diarrhea became an actress. And that show is LONG and I watched the whole thing. Also, Netflix didn’t get the rights to Paula Cole’s “I don’t want to Wait” so the theme song is different. Buzz. Kill.
Then there’s Lost. I am honestly so mad at this show still that I don’t even think it deserves my time to write about it. This show took time out of my life that I will never get back.
I’m currently infatuated with the show Parenthood. It’s like if Friday Night Lights and my childhood had a baby. Literally nothing sounds as good as watching episode after episode alone in my room. I find myself weighing out social obligations to see if they’re worth getting up from my Parenthood black-hole. The sound of Parenthood’s end credits literally makes me sad because I know that another episode is coming to an end and I will have to make the tough decision to either keep watching or I don’t know, GO OUT AND LIVE MY LIFE? Yuck.
But, alas, I make the same mistake every time. I pace myself like Elvis at a Vegas buffet filled with prescription drugs and isolate myself from the world for a month while I’m busing inhaling a T.V. show. Then, when it’s over I don’t know what to do with myself. I fall into a depression and have to actually go out and see people to get out of it. It’s awful.
But then, just when I think I’ve had enough dinner parties, brunches and family gatherings to kill myself with I get that feeling again. Maybe someone mentions “this great new show I need to check out,” or I stumble upon a new “recently added” hit show on my Netflix list and I’M BACK. I get that feeling again and I’m hooked.
Some might call me pathetic. Say that I’m the problem with America. But I could care less because Uncle Adam? Don? Jesse? Coach Taylor? McNulty? They get me. And it doesn’t matter if anyone else ever does.
We’ve all seen those lists online. And no, I am NOT talking about ones like this: 26 Costumes That Prove Pugs Always Win At Halloween.
Those lists are sent from baby Jesus to take our minds off of our everyday depressing lives.
I’m talking about those lists that are like mirrors that not only point out what you haven’t done with your life but also show you pictures of better looking, more in shape women with much better hair talking to your boyfriend.
So I’m making my own list. You might just want to start calling me Craig or Schindler from here on out. Wait, I don’t know if that makes me racist. I’ve never actually seen that movie. On second thought, why don’t you just call me Whitney, okay? Or Whit if we’ve been friends for a while and we have that kind of relationship where you feel like we’ve known each other long enough to give each other nicknames. You know?
Anyway, here are my, “Top Three Reasons that Top ____ Lists,” are bullshit:
1) They put time limits on things.
I already freak out all day everyday about how I’m not fulfilling my potential and how my career isn’t exactly where I want it to be. I don’t need a list filled with a bunch of pictures with people having the time of their life to tell me what else I haven’t done and that time is running out to do.
And what if I go to Bali and swim with sea sharks when I’m 31? Is it null and void?
2) They can create unhealthy competition between women.
This might be my biggest hate of all. First they write news articles like this Vanity Fair gem: “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” to make us all feel so wonderful about ourselves THEN they make these types of lists to let us know that, okay, women can be funny BUT only 25 at a time, little lady.
It’s never been a more weird time to be a lady in comedy. Yes, there is SO much opportunity out there BUT we’re also still tied to this awful, outdated idea that we’re not even fully supposed to be here in the first place.
Also, I’m bombarded daily with pictures of beautiful women in their 50’s who have better bodies than I will ever have (I’m looking at you Cindy Crawford). I don’t need to be told by a bunch of dudes who work at some online magazine and smoke weed in their cars on their lunch breaks that the craft I’ve turned to as solace from the evil world is still not gonna welcome me because I didn’t make the list.
3) People don’t realize that one year you’re hot, the next you’re not.
I want to get “ebb and flow” tattooed across my forehead (or “Baby Jesus was a Pug” haven’t decided yet). Because that’s what you need to remember when you read one of these lists that you’re not on. The Sherminator is a waiter at a sushi restaurant now!!!
Sometimes great things happen to you, like finding the PERFECT pair of heeled booties. And sometimes bad things happen, like ordering them online a half size too big. NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW.
The important thing to do is just keep your head down and…
Who knows? Maybe I’m the asshole (which is usually the case). Or maybe I’m the one who can’t be happy for other people and wait my turn (which is always the case). But what these lists do, is they exclude. And I’ve never been a fan of people who exclude others. I’ve spent way too many years trying to “fit in” like that time I wanted to dye my hair red too:
I’ve found it better to “fit out” and be okay with that than trying to fit in and never being okay with it.
I almost got into a fight this weekend with a woman who was texting during a screening of Little Mermaid 3D. I think in terms of toughness it goes me then the Crips gang.
Here’s what happened: Saturday night my boyfriend and I had a date night. BECAUSE WE HAVE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP AND LOVE EACH OTHER. We had tickets to the 7:30pm screening of Little Mermaid 3D at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, like normal 27 and 28 year-olds do.
We sat second row center - and before you go judging us there was a man in his 70’s sitting alone right next to us. So we weren’t the weirdest people there. However, I did imagine that he was one of the original animators on the film who went for nostalgia purposes so I didn’t have to feel as bad for him. I wonder what he imagined we were there for?
The El Capitan is amazing because they always put on a live pre-show. Again, perfect place to take your 28-year-old boy-man-lover. During our pre-show a lot of people took out their phones to take pictures - including a mom, who we’ll call Ursula, and her 8 year-old-ish daughter who came strolling in half way through the pre-show and sat down right in front of us.
My boyfriend, who we’ll call Prince Eric, took out his phone to snap a pic of the show but I warned him to put it away just because I wasn’t sure about the theaters policy on filming their shows. JUST TO BE SAFE. Like when both of my roommates are out of town and I check under their beds to make sure there’s not a murderer there waiting until I go to sleep to kill me. Totally normal.
When the movie started I was so excited. Just like how a child would be excited at say, a screening of The Little Mermaid 3D. But, as soon as the lights went down Ursula took out her phone and snapped a picture of her little girl watching the movie. “Okay, that’s a stretching it,” I thought. But I didn’t really think twice about it.
It wasn’t until Ursula immediately got onto Instagram to post the picture and presumably brag to her friends about what a good mom she was for taking her kid to the movies, that I sort of lost it. Prince Eric and I looked at each other and debated what to do about Ursula. We still said nothing. Then after about 5 minutes of her STRAIGHT UP BEING ON HER PHONE we broke. “Should we tell the usher?” I asked. We decided that would be the annoying thing to do so Prince Eric gently tapped her on her shoulder and asked if she wouldn’t mind putting her phone away because it was ruining the movie for us.
Now, most normal people would simply realize their mistake and maybe even think to themselves, “Hey, I brought my kid to this movie, why don’t I actually watch it with them so we can have a meaningful experience together instead of looking at my friends lives on the internet while I bother everyone else in this theater.” But not Ursula, she was pissed.
“It’s really affecting you watching the movie?” she barked at us. “UM YEAH, your light omitting devise two feet in front of my face IS affecting the movie for me,” is what I wanted to say but Prince Eric graciously replied, “Yeah, actually it is, sorry.” Then she gave us a look like we had asked her to stop breastfeeding in public, turned around, and put her ‘tentacles’ back on her phone, I presume just to spite us, and then eventually put it away. I could feel her hate fueled tension seeping back at us. Just like that one time I unfolded one too many shirts at The Gap in front of the sales lady.
After about 5 minutes passed, Prince Eric and I were eating our snacks, enjoying the movie when Ursula glared back at us and said, “Um, if you guys are going to be mad at me for using my phone can you please chew with your mouth closed because it’s really disturbing the movie for me.” We both laughed. Was she f-ing joking? This really sent me over the edge and I sternly told her, “Listen lady, it’s against the rules to use your cell phone in here. You are breaking the rules. We are not.” At this point there was so much anger boiling up inside of me that I felt like King Triton after he found Ariel’s stash of human things.
Who are these people that think they are entitled to break rules that everyone else is suppose to follow? I mean, who did she think she was, a professional athlete?
And then I realized that a lot of people agree with her. Just like this person who was recently kicked out of the Alamo Draft House in Austin for breaking their very strict no talking or texting rule.
See, I come from a group of moviegoers who believe that you go to a movie theater for viewing experience. (We like to call ourselves the “Cool Movie Guyz,” we’re getting matching jackets next month. Check us out on myspace.com/coolmovieguyz)
When you’re in a movie your behavior- texting, talking, etc- affects the other people involved in the movie going experience as well. Some people forget that this is everyone’s experience, not just theirs.
We ended up moving because this woman was obviously very misinformed on movie theater etiquette and just seemed like an all around loose cannon. About half way into the movie I got up to use the restroom and on my way back I spotted Ursula still on her cell phone while her poor daughter watched the movie all alone. Poor woman, even poorer little girl. Why couldn’t her mom just want to be… part of her world?
I did a juice cleanse last week. And I know what you’re all wondering and the answer is yes, I do live in L.A. But, I also wanted to be healthy and as I pointed out to my friend Eden, it was something to do. I feel like enough time has passed now that I can talk about the cleanse without bringing my emotions into it, just like I hope to do one day with my parent’s divorce.
A couple weeks ago I brought up the brilliant idea of a cleanse to one of my best guy friends, Matty. My boyfriend had been out of town for two months and I thought it was the perfect way to “reset” before he came home. Also, I’d been eating my feelings for some time and dropping a few LBs wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world.
We decided to do it. We were going to juice all of our own meals, just like the Native Americans did. We’d be following Dr. Oz and Joe Cross’ 3 day cleanse. Joe Cross is the dude who drank juice for 60 days and made a documentary film about it called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.
Here’s the recipe list we followed:
The night before we started was awesome, sort of like how September 10th, 2001 must have been. I went to the grocery store and bought all organic fruits and veggies. I even went to the 99 Cent store and bought a bunch of cute containers to hold our juices in. It was like Christmas Eve… if Santa were a vegan organic juicer (movie idea up for grabs here people!!!)
We followed the directions and juiced all 5 of our drinks. I even took a picture and Instagrammed it because I live in LA.
I went to bed that night thinking of how good I was going to feel, how much of a triumph it would be when I was finished, and how great my body was gonna look when my boyfriend got back to town. I was so, so dumb.
The following are excerpts that I wrote during each day, curated by me:
It’s 2pm on day one. I feel exhausted. Given, I’ve been at work all morning but still. I’m exhausted. And all I can think of is cheese fries. I’m literally 5 hours into this thing and the only thought going through my mind is why I haven’t eaten cheese fries for every single meal I’ve ever had. Also gum. I’m DYING to get off work and go chew some gum because I haven’t chewed anything all day! It’s a weird sensation that you don’t miss until it’s gone, like human interaction.
Okay, sounds pretty normal, right?
DAY ONE NIGHT ONE
…Or as I like to call it, into the darkness. For the past hour I’ve felt like shit and shit. That’s all I’ve done. I want to die and I’m seriously considering giving this all up for some Del Taco.
You wanted to die? But, Whitney, everyone told you that doing a cleanse was suppose to make you feel like a princess who was just told that she’d never have her period ever again?
Here’s what was going on, the recipe for our lunch drink called for limes. Limes, the same thing my allergist (did I mention I’m from LA?) told me a year prior that I was allergic/intolerant to. Now, dumb, naive, baby Whitty knew that there were limes in the drink but thought that a little wasn’t going to be that big of a deal. Just like how I have a beer every once in a while, even though I’m allergic to barley, but my butt doesn’t end up throwing up for three hours afterward. So I brushed aside the pain, like a Miley Cyrus, and soldiered on.
Last night was bad, like really bad. I had a headache all day; I was light headed, moody, and nauseous. And I was basically on the toilet for most of the night, which is nuts because all that I’ve been ingesting are fruits and veggies. My friend who I’m doing the cleanse with said that it’s because all of the toxins that have been living in your body are now being forced to move so you’re body is like, “what the fuck” and makes you feel like crap because of it.
Hahahaahahhhaah I was so dumb and knew nothing.
DAY TWO NIGHT TWO
Things are really dark. I’m pissed and I got in a fight with my boyfriend and I feel like shit. I just realized that we’ve been using a few ingredients that my body is intolerant to and they’ve been making me and my life crap over the last 2 days. I’ve realized that I can’t drink the lunch juice because that has lime in it, which I’m allergic to. So I bought a salad to eat at lunch for day three. I feel stupid for not realizing it, and I wanted to just give up because of it.
Poor baby, emo Whitty. Needless to say, day two was a pretty dark time. Sort of like that time my face swelled up after I took some medicine I was allergic to:
But what would a good comeback story be without the third act?
I woke up feeling a lot better than the night before. It’s the final day and tomorrow morning I get to eat a really yummy breakfast that I bought all the ingredients for already.
You go girl.
And I decided to leave my salad at home and dig-in and juice the rest of the time.
You GO girl.
I’ve been exhausted all day, really low on energy. I’ve lost at least 3 pounds and that’s great and all but what I’m most proud of is that I did it. I followed through and now I can say that I did it. I had enough mental perseverance to keep going and finish it.
Is anyone else crying? Or just me as I think about my bank account balance while writing this for free? All jokes aside, I did learn a lot from this cleanse. Mostly, that I never want to do a cleanse again.
I really hate when people move to Los Angeles from the East Coast and immediately start complaining about the lack of history and culture here. I was born and raised in the greater LA area and I know it has more to offer than Pinkberry, Ugg Boots and cocaine.
But listen, I agree. At first, LA can seem like a vapid piece of disgusting garbage. But you know what? There are actually a ton of hidden gems that make this city just a tad more bearable. You just have to look for them. And as any good hipster knows, when you find something that not many other people know about, it’s like automatically growing a mustache.
The Los Angeles Central Library is located in the heart of downtown LA. It’s just one of the many public libraries in the greater Los Angeles area. The Central Branch was constructed at the turn of the century in 1923. Architect, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, designed it. However, Goodhue died midway through construction and none other than architect Carlton Winslow, took over. I swear to god that I am not making that up.
The theme of the library is “The Torch of Wisdom” or “The Light of Knowledge,” depending on translation. With the original 1923 tile still intact, the outside of this building is a truly wonderful sight.
I decided to go downtown to the library to see what I could find. And other than a place that seemed like a transient hotel for homeless people, I learned that the library provided free walking tours every day except Sunday at 12:30 p.m. FREE! And you thought the only thing free in LA was that cold sore you got from that dude at Chateau Marmont.
The tour was being lead by a nice, older woman who informed us that the library still had most of its original lighting fixtures and furniture.
However, there were some items that were destroyed in the fire. Yeah, a FIRE. Turns out in 1986 some homeless crazy set fire to the library destroying over 400,000 books and the library was shut down for 7 years until 1993. Some of the ceilings even still show signs of smoke and water damage. Probably just like Lindsay Lohan’s lungs.
In 1993 a new branch was added on to the existing library and was dedicated to Mayor Tom Bradley. The wing is called - you guessed it - the Tom Bradley building. Man, that guy better have saved like 100 baby puppies or something. Now, I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for old buildings so this one constructed in 1993 is not as spectacular to me. Like, the 1923 wing is the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and the Tom Bradley wing is like Johnny Depp doing a Michael Jackson impression with no face.
To me, the beauty of the original building is how the historic, architectural elements have archived a time in history when the building was constructed.
This magnificent dome and chandelier, with a little help from my Instagram filter:
(Interesting fact, during WW2 the library officials took down the chandelier for fear of enemy invasion.)
The old index cardholders (Don’t even get my mother STARTED on how technology is ruining EVERYTHING:
“That you can have your name engraved on for only $5,000 dollars,” the tour guide mentioned. Yeah, right. One time I gave a homeless person $5 dollars and I was mad at myself for weeks.
The marble floors:
Even the freaking drinking fountain is cool:
So, next time you and your friends are at brunch complaining about how there’s no history in LA, and you’d move back to New York in a heart beat, but as an actor that would be career suicide, head down to the Los Angeles Central Library for a free walking tour. Or just go and get lost in the hallways with a good book. And yes, I really just wrote, “get lost in the hallways with a good book” I officially hate myself.
Other Notable Branches Worth Checking Out:
Silver Lake Library – 2411 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Hollywood Library – 1623 N. Ivar Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Cahuenga Library – 4591 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90029