Tuesday, February 21, 2006
diary of the world’s worst vacation, volume three: los angeles
I love Los Angeles. The first time I visited LA was in the summer of 2001, when I went to an ex’s sister’s wedding. I liked it well enough, but was only there a short time and had to do wedding-type stuff (though I managed to get in a few trips to the In-And-Out Burger).
The second time I visited I spent a week in Marina Del Ray with a friend who had recently moved out there and the city blew me away. The vibe, the people, the scene, the weather – I ate it up. That, and a lot of cocaine. But that was a long time ago. And I didn’t actually eat the cocaine, but you get it.
(I’m clean now, Mom and Dad. Swear.)
(And readers, say no to drugs. Seriously. We here at jasonmulgrew.com are anti-drugs. I’m just going to stop talking about this now because I’m pretty sure that at least one person I work with is reading, so enough.)
But recently, my relationship with LA has changed. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on the site or not, but I’m kinda famous. This past August I went out to LA to pitch my show (which, because of the confidential nature of the project, I can’t get into). And my view of Los Angeles changed dramatically.
The whole experience of pitching gave me a 24 hour, 7 day a week boner. I’m not typically a star struck person and don’t really care about the entertainment industry, but that was before I was in the entertainment industry. While out in LA for that week in August, I had something like 23 meetings in five days, meeting with people who were responsible for creating some of the best television shows ever. I spent the week driving around town with my buddy Joe in my rental car, talking on the phone to my agent having conversations like:
Agent: "So your next meeting is with [person] over in [location] at 1:30."
Me: "Ok, what can you tell me about this person?"
Agent: [trying to make me feel like a dick] "Oh, I don’t know...he only created [my favorite show of all time]."
Me: "Oh, um, yeah. I’ve heard of that. Thanks."
[hangs up cellphone, looks over at friend Joe driving car]
Me: "I think I just pooed in my pants a little bit."
Joe: "I thought something smelled like those nachos we ate last night."
I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to express how there was a major shift in my perception of LA. It wasn’t actually a shift per se, but an amplification. While I may have been infatuated with the city before, all this Hollywood-type shit made me fall head over heels in love with it. Not to get "Aw shucks!" on you, but there I was – a fat dude with a beard and a blog – having all these serious conversations with some serious (and awesome) people, and I was happy. Very, very happy.
And so with stars in my eyes I arrived in LA on the afternoon on Thursday, February 9. My plan was to fly back to NYC on Saturday, February 11, with just enough time to go out and get blasted once more before returning to work. All was right with the world. For the next two days at least.
I met up with my agent Joel and some friends for dinner and drinks on Thursday night. Since contacting me in December of 2004, Joel has become my boy. Not just because I would kill for him because he's presented me with many incredible opportunities, most of which may someday lead to a real-live actual threesome. And not because he buys me lots of drinks and spiced meats. But because we have the same sense of humor and genuinely love each other.
Joel and I met up with some friends, Laura and Johnny, and ate something called "Korean barbeque." I didn't know that Koreans barbeque, but apparently they do, and they do it very well. I enjoyed the meal, but it's definitely one of those things where you need to go with someone who knows what they're doing. While Joel was deftly ordering for the group, I was busy drinking something called Hite and sticking my hand on the open grill in the middle of the table while making jokes like, "You know, I hear the terrier is delicious here" and "Seriously, the lhasa apso is the juiciest I've ever had." I can’t wait to go back.
The shenanigans continued the next night when I met some of the assistants from the agency for drinks. I have to give it to them – the sons (and daughters) of bitches can drink, although some of them (Allan, I’m looking in your direction) are terrible at Beirut/beer pong. But I don’t want to air any dirty laundry here, especially when that dirty laundry involves people who have the power to hold up any payment to me. So let's just move on.
I was able to enjoy myself on Friday because I didn’t have to worry about flying. By that time, news of a major pending snowstorm in the Northeast was widespread. My flight was scheduled to leave LA at noon on Saturday, arriving in NYC at 8pm. But because this storm had some serious potential and was supposed to hit NYC at precisely the same time I was to land, my flight was preemptively canceled. So instead of spending all of Friday night worrying about flying through a blizzard, I was able to go out and order a drink and two shots as soon as I got to the bar. Wonderful.
Worrying about the blizzard was reserved for Saturday morning, afternoon, and night. I woke up with a terrible hangover and after having brunch spent all day in bed, worrying about the flight. I watched the news as the snow approached the Northeast and continually checked my flight status, hoping it would be canceled. No dice. It appeared that by hell or high water, blizzard or no blizzard, I was flying to NYC on Sunday. And it freaked me the fuck out.
I know that I'm going to die young. I'm not saying this for pity or to be weird or anything - I just know this. This thought has so pervaded my consciousness that I don't think about things in the future. For example, I don't think about getting married or having kids or buying a house or anything like that. This is not because I'm lazy (which I am) or because I live in the moment (which I do), but because I know that I'm not going to make it to these things.
But don't be sad - I'm ok with this. If anything, it's almost good. It allows me to live the life I do, which, as you know, is totally fucking awesome. My entire worldview is rooted in this awareness of my own mortality and so I follow a strict regiment of the "If you're going to regret something, regret it because you did it, not because you didn't do it" mentality. So far, so good.
But I didn't want to hear that on Saturday. I knew that this was it. I knew that I was going to fly in that blizzard and I was going to die. Over. Done. I even went so far as to rationalize it by saying to myself, "Well, the good news is that at my funeral, they'll say that I had a lot of potential. I have all this stuff going on, but none of it has actually happened yet. So it's better that I check out now, while in the process of trying my hand at fame or whatever, rather than in a year or so, after I've tried, failed, and am living in my dad's basement, making out with local 16 year olds. Yeah. That sounds good."
So I coped in the only way I knew how: abusing substances. I really don't like to talk about drug use too much (really?), but I can not express how wonderful the drug Xanax is. I actually don't even abuse it, since I don't take it recreationally (I can't drink on it - makes me sleepy) but only when I really need it (when feeling anxious). Saturday qualified as feeling anxious. I went to a nearby store, picked up some ice cream, took two of those magic little pills, and spent about ten hours in bed. The highlight was probably watched back-to-back episodes of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and being so moved that I wept. It just really helped me get through the night.
Sunday morning I woke up, checked out of the hotel, and headed to the airport as the snowstorm raged in the Northeast. I had popped another Xanax when I woke up - just to ease the tension - and was basically a zombie as I moved through security. It was when I got to my boarding gate that I got the announcement: Newark, JFK, and Laguardia airports were all closed. I wasn't going anywhere. Thank god.
I passed the next few days in a haze, riding a roller coaster of emotions. I waited in line for a few hours to figure out that on Monday, I'd be traveling from LA to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Philly, and then from Philly via Amtrak to NYC. Sweet. I checked into the airport Holiday Inn and holed myself up like a true degenerate. I went out and got a twelve-pack, bought the 24 hour porn pass on the hotel pay-per-view for $35, and ordered a chicken alfredo pizza (which was probably the best pizza I've ever had: chicken, alfredo sauce, ricotta cheese, a little onions, and a little garlic). The thing about the 24 hour porn pass was that it gave me a day's worth of access to all twelve pornographic features that the hotel was offering. And I have to say, some of that shit was nasty. There was the obligatory gay porn thrown in, which I thought was tasteful but a little too long, but there were also two types of bondage movies and one movie bordering on violence. As you can imagine, I was in heaven. That is, when I wasn't feeling terribly lonely and alienated.
The next day I flew just about everywhere. Again, many props to Xanax, since I was pretty much in a haze from the moment I woke up until I woke on Tuesday in Philly. I noticed that my tolerance for traveling had been built up by my west coast drive. I didn't bat an eyelash about the four hour flight from LA to Atlanta, and the two hour flight from Atlanta to Philly seemed like nothing more than a quick trip to the supermarket. So that was nice.
When I finally got back to NYC on Tuesday afternoon, I didn't have time to enjoy myself. Site Guy Brendan set about working on our little surprise (which should be up any day now) and on the following day, I returned to work. Which has been - how do you say? - entirely fucking horrible. Just horrible. But that is a topic for another day.
Tomorrow (hopefully and thank god), the conclusion: diary of the world's worst vacation, volume four: how fucking enterprise extorted me out of $1000 (and why it's a terrible idea to write a four-part series of anything).