Thursday, May 10, 2007

A cure for the summertime blues

I need a cure.

I met a friend on Sunday from Italian class to practice (after a rocky start, words started to come back to me) and she asked me if I was looking forward to the summer. I told her summer is the toughest time for me in L.A. She was surprised.

I used to think my summer funk was crazy. While I was in NYC the other week, I was talking to a friend who moved back to NYC after living in L.A. for 8 years. She told me she used to get really depressed during the summers. Now she can't wait. She's renting a house in the Hamptons this year.

I did go to the beach a couple of times during my summers here. I pack my car with a chair and umbrella, grab scripts and head to Zuma. The drive up PCH is pretty. I have also been to a couple birthday parties in Malibu.

I miss the community feeling of Sag Harbor, 'the Shore' or Fire Island. Before I moved to Los Angeles, a friend (a native Angeleno who lived in NYC) rented a house with two couples in a small villiage on Fire Island. You can't bring cars on the Isand and it's accessible by ferry. It was the most relaxing weekend get away. We were far from the day trippers section, Oceanside and the Pines which is the happening gay area. There was really nothing to do but sit on the beach, hike, read, eat, drink and talk. I met some of my closest friends that summer. The guests were eclectic and interesting, a fashion designer, a documentary filmmaker, an exec at a non-profit, a woman who is now a senior editor at Vogue. We would visit one of our friend's parents which how we ended up spending a Friday night playing charades with the 60 plus crowd.

At sundown people go the litlle pizza place by the dock, get a slice, a beer and talk to the neighbors/meet friends arriving. Once the sun sets everyone claps. Those old school red wagons were very popular on the island to cart groceries from the market or young kids. Sunday night we would take the last ferry out, then the train, arriving back in NYC at Penn Station. On Monday I would walk into work feeling like I had a true mini-break.

Other summers the same friend rented a place in Sag Harbor. Sag Harbor is great because it's not so crazy as other parts of the Hamptons. There isn't really a scene, it's just a cute villiage. People are friendly and some of the nearby beaches are just gorgeous. You didn't have to be rich to get out of town. Assistants or poorly paid jr. media execs would do shares in houses. One year my sister and I drove out to East Hampton. I still think about that market in Amagansett.

Staying in the city on weekends was also fun because almost everyone cleared out. No lines at the movies, museums or the supermarkets. I would walk uptown to Central Park or the Met and afterwards just sit on the steps and people watch. A perfect day of doing nothing.

I thought maybe the culture out here was different since most people live in houses. They didn't feel the need to get out of an apartment. However, when we lived in the suburbs most of our neighbors rented or owned houses at "the shore". Every town had it's own vibe. Bayhead was stupid wealthy and kinda Waspy, Long Beach Isand (LBI) cool for families, certain beaches were "the tacky non-ironic beaches". The further south in Jersey you went, the beaches became more Philly friendly. This presented a problem when discussing things like football (Giants vs Eagles). My family went to the Caribbean mostly but we did go to Ocean Grove a couple times. The first week of school, my classmates would go on and on about their shore romances.

I will not go through the summertime blues this year. Hopefully I will be in production. Out of town shooting is usually a 6- day week. Working 16 hours a day plus trying to write an hour before going to set will give me little time to get sad about anything. (like the fact that almost half the year is gone, and I still haven't been on a single date).

If for some reason the movie falls apart, I am going to try and be more social this summer. Maybe I can get a group to the beach for a cookout or something. I can hear the moaning already, "I have scripts to read," "I don't want to drive that far west", "I'm going to be in the office all weekend". I not trying to hear any excuses. Some of these same friends complain they don't have a life. Well, it's time for us to change that.

I can't put my life on hold until I move to Rome, who knows when that will be?


Rose in Cali said...

I can relate to this. I lived in NYC during grad school and enjoyed even just a day out at Jones Beach! Riding the LIRR out there gave me a small sense of community, albeit with total strangers. Cars are isolating: you travel all entombed in your own space, shutting out the outside noise, and not having to deal with anyone until you reach your destination. In NYC, it's difficult to isolate yourself when your apartment is microscopically small, causing you to escape, if only to the street, and where public transportation is the norm. Even taking a cab makes you communicate with the driver.

So, no; it's not you. But good for you for resolving to make an effort to be more social and live your life, regardless of your plans for Rome. (I'm headed there in July if you want to join me!) Hang in there, and take pleasure in the small things. Plus, you have Shelley's book to look forward to! :-)

Anonymous said...

T.K. in Ohio here! Try not to be down and for goodness sakes - don't work yourself to death to dodge sadness! Your talk of your days in NYC sound like pure, simple joy, but it sounds like you also have access to some really cool people & things to do out west, too. It's been years since I lived out there, but I remember my sister & I seeing L.A. thru "new eyes" (coming from the Midwest) & trying everything! We had breakfast @ the beach, went to museums, concerts, plays; anything that sparked out interest that we found in the Calendar magazine. That probably all sounds like an old hat compared to what you're used to doing, but like the previous reader said - "it's the pleasure in the small things" that bring joy. So combine that w/your work and see how that works out for you. Life is too short to work 16 hour days! (LOL!) Have a great day!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Rose - I am so jealous! You must keep us posted about your upcomimg trip.

You are so right. I do think (believe it or not) that my attitude has improved over the last year or so. I used to really get down about living here. That is not healthy and one of my friends said, she is sick of people complaining about L.A. all the time...they just need to move already. Haha. I hear what she is saying and taking the necessary steps.

Yes I hope Ms. Adventures doesn't take forever to read Shelley's book :)

T.K in Ohio - Thanks for the advice, I am going to make more of an effort to check out galleries, new restaurants and different hiking trails. Well, once we are in production I have no control over the 16 hour days but i'll try to still work out and stay away from the craft services (snacks) table.

giantskittle said...

Hi Arlene!

It makes me sad that people from the East Coast can be so unhappy in LA, because I really, truly love Los Angeles (and am now having trouble calling the Bay Area "home"). There is so much to see and discover beyond the usual Westside haunts, what most industryites think of as "LA." I mean, it's never going to be the same as summers in the Hamptons but it can offer joys of its own.

Still, I can definitely relate to lack of community and feeling disconnected from people while driving in your car. Hope this summer is better for you, and best of luck with the shoot!

-Stephanie (your old assistant)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Hey Stephanie! Yes I am determined to have a great summer. seriously.

Going out to dinner tonight and tomorrow night, instead of working. Baby steps.

I wonder if native Angelenos who move to NYC, Philly, Boston or any other major East Coast city miss the car culture, weather etc.

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

Baby steps...Perfect! l have the same problem being happy where l am when lm not in Italy. It is the typical 'paradise is over there' you know where the grass is greener. Then l get there and realise that whilst great you also have daily realities to live with. It's all about finding contentment in the present moment where ever you are... Which sounds like what your doing!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

confessions - the whole living in the moment thing is hard but you are right. I am going to stop stressing out about the future.

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Hey, you'll be here before you know it, and then you can complain about Ostia beach. Heh heh.

Summer is probably my least-favorite season, b/c I am not big on beaches, tanning and the like, and don't deal well with heat, and grew up in Seattle.

Send some scripts my way, I'll help you read them. Kidding, kidding. But try not to work too hard!! The beachside BBQ sounds like fun.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Shelley - I have never been to Rome during the summer, is it really that hot? Maybe I could re-locate to the mountains for two months.

I know it's crazy given my family is from the islands but I do not like super hot weather, not at all. :)