June 02, 2010

Not Going Home Yet, But Not Staying Here

I'm not sure what I came here to LA to do, but when Steve offered me a free place to stay for a week while he was on vacation, I couldn't pass it up. I said, "I'm in," and figured I'd figure out my purpose later.

Sure, I have some clients here.

Sure, I'm interviewing for a job here.

Sure, I could catch up with some friends who I didn't get to see the last time I was here.

But it's hard to be a tourist in LA. I think, like New York, it's actually easier to live here. And since I don't live here (yet), and spending a week in LA is a lot different than spending even just a week alone in the desert, I'm ready to go. I still don't know exactly what I accomplished, but I certainly filled my time while I was here.

I remember my first week in Joshua Tree, trying to cram in as much as possible before the stifling heat really set in, trying to establish some kind of routine, trying to establish some kind of relationship with someone, and feeling like a month (or, potentially, three) was such a long time.

But I did establish a routine of watering the plants at sunrise, hiking every day, working off the coffeehouse wifi, and watching the sun set with the bunnies and the quails. Having gotten up at 6 or 6:30 a.m. and hiked the life out of me, I had little desire to take myself out to dinner, or go drinking in a bar. I was happy to settle into the evening with a glass of wine and my laptop.

It's not as easy to do that in LA. I kept feeling like I had to be doing something all the time, and so my 6 a.m. waking was followed by walking the dog, breakfast, email, shower, leave by 9, meetings at 10, lunches, hikes, errands, more meetings, more dogwalking, and then drinks with associates/colleagues/friends, putting me back in bed no earlier than 11 or 12. Even last night, on my last night here, after walking the dog, I didn't feel like I could miss out on Taco Tuesdays at the Mission Cantina, finally braving the jalapeno margarita I'd turned down on Thursday night.

I need a vacation from my vacation.

And so I'm heading down to the desert - the low desert, the real desert - today for some R&R before I head back to New York. I'm hoping to spend some time baking in the heat by the pool at the Ace Hotel. But I know I'll be excited to be back in the Coachella Valley, and I won't let myself rest until I've done at least a hike (or two), a scenic drive, and some more urban exploration of crusty, rusted ruins.

Maybe I can sleep on the plane....

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