Two weeks ago I went to Los Angeles for a visit. It was the first time I had been back since I had moved in December 2009. I had only been gone about 13 months and that’s an amount of time that felt pretty much as if not much had changed. Everything felt….familiar. When I landed at LAX I felt that familiar anxiety creep up in my tummy. When I stepped outside of baggage claim I was greeted with that familiar smell of exhaust. The weather was perfect….and familiar. As I drove my rental car up La Cienega then to Fairfax and on to the Farmer’s Market (where I had a Voiceover audition- how familiar) I thought, “Oh, I need to get over a lane because this one is going to disappear.” And it did. It was eerie. I had gone back in time but only 13 months. Who chooses to do that? Marty McFly went back 30 years to change his life. What would I have been able to change in going back only 13 months? There were things that had changed, of course. There are about 5 more babies in my close circle of friends than there were when I left. Three friends had moved to new places within the city. That Thai place on the corner of Hollywood and Ivar is now a hamburger place. But aside from that? Not much. I had this feeling that I could slip back in and no one would notice that I had been gone. I could, too. I saw my commercial agent and she suggested as much. How weird. I mean, to be gone for a year and then realize that you could act as if that year had not existed and slip right back in to a previous life. It’s an exciting prospect. That’s the seductive thing about Los Angeles. It’s timeless. Really. Time stands still there as you continue to slay dragons that keep getting slightly bigger and bigger without you even noticing. One of the reasons I left is that I felt like I was treading water. I realized on this trip that I could get right back in and the people in the deep end would just think that I had been treading water in some other part of the pool for a while. Should I?
It was SO GOOD to see my friends. As much as I love my life here in Austin, I recognize that I have not replaced those friends. Not that I ever could and not that I want to. I was there for 13 years. I’ve only been here for 14 months. Aside from the lingering déjà vu that I experienced the whole trip, I was also exhausted because there were too many people to see. You can’t see 13 years worth of friends in 5 days. I know. I tried. And I ended up feeling frantic and a little disappointed. But despite that, as I drove around and saw the Hollywood Sign, the Bodhi Tree, even the 405, I felt a flicker of the excitement that I had felt when I moved there in 1996. (An excitement that had been replaced by anxiety and discouragement for the last 5 years of my life there.) You know, when 213 and 310 were the only area codes, “Caroline in the City” was still on the air and when I was a temp on the switchboard at Paramount Studios? After taking phone calls from people asking to speak to Tom Cruise, I would take my lunch break and walk around the lot. I was giddy and completely so full of hope that I could burst. And oddly, I felt THAT when I was there just two weeks ago. Maybe I went further back in time than I thought?