February 19, 2011

Loneliness Ensues

It's been three weeks since I moved to LA. I haven't really felt lonely, or even missed New York, until now, when I've left Los Angeles.

I'm in Santa Barbara County on a road trip, and it's the first time I've really noticed that I'm alone in California.

There's nothing like a trip to wine country alone to force some self-reflection.

I didn't want to tell my coworkers I was going here alone. But once I was here alone, I had no recourse but to admit it, at least to myself. And those who persistently ask.

A tasting for one please. Just one? Yes.

Two tacos please. On the same plate? Yes.

Is there a long wait for a table? Yes, just for me. OK I'll try the bar.

Somehow I felt less out of place alone in New York than I do in California, maybe because of the friends who were never that far away. In Los Angeles, the anomaly of sitting alone at the bar has worked to my advantage: I meet lots of people and get VIP treatment from the staff. But somehow, on this road trip outside of Los Angeles, being alone has made me feel so lonely. For the first time since moving here.

The parking lot at the restaurant tonight was muddy and full of puddles. What if I got stuck? What would I do? Alone?

I can drink glasses of wine by myself. I can eat a personal pizza by myself. I can drive a couple hours north, find my way around, take pictures and absorb the local flavor, all by myself. I can sleep alone, wake alone, shower alone, and breakfast alone.

And I usually have no trouble traveling alone. But here in Santa Barbara, surrounded by winetasting groups and dinner dates, I wonder: how long can I stand living alone? I don't mean in my (fantastic) apartment, which I'm happy to share with no one. I life.

I've only been here three weeks, so I've got to give myself some time to make new friends, and deepen the friendships I already have out here. And maybe soon enough I'll be asking for a table for two.

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