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Two days ago, at about 3:00 in the morning, I blew it.
I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake in bed thinking, “What the hell am I
doing here anyhow?”
Nothing made sense. I lay there, going over and over in my mind
everything I didn’t like about this place — which was largely a litany
of things that normally came easy to me that now had become troublesome.
Nonetheless, during my middle of the night anxiety attack, suddenly
it was clear. I had to split.
Of course, it wasn’t all that easy. I now had a partner, someone who
I loved, who loved me. But in my self-indulgent state, even that didn’t
She’ll just have to come to live with me in the U.S., I thought.
I pictured Laurence and I, happily ensconced in a cozy cottage
somewhere in Connecticut — or at least some dreamy place out in the
country. Clearly, going back to L .A. was out of the question.
I tossed and turned for the rest of the night, various plans arising
and evaporating in my head.
The next morning, still feeling confused and anxious, I went for my
daily walk through the town. I hoped that the magic that usually works
itself on me would exorcise me of my time-to-leave demons.
But, on this morning, the streets seemed lifeless. Dead.
I wandered the streets for the next several hours, still in a state
of profound confusion.
Finally, I did what I often do when I’m completely messed up. I went
to a movie.
For some reason, I didn’t choose an American film. Instead I saw, “Le
River Pourpes,” a thriller starring French superstar, Jean Reno. The
film, in fact had had terrible reviews, and deservedly so. It was a bad
imitation of an American thriller, which had the constantly cigarette
smoking, three-day bearded Reno in search of a serial killer (kind of
funny, I thought, since there are literally no serial killers here in
Somewhere during the middle of the film, I tuned out. I drifted off
in my head. I was back in L.A. Back in the traffic, the smog. Back
driving along the ugly apartment-lined streets of the valley with its
repulsive, tin-foil covered windows.
Then there were the faces. The dead, stupefied faces of my fellow
Americans. I overheard snatches of conversations that take place in
virtually every coffee shop in the city — conversations about “my
latest deal.” I heard the street lingo (“Ya know what I mean, doncha? I
mean, ya know what I mean?”) from the hip-hop culture — the brain dead
people that were now our youth culture. I felt my stomach churning.
By the time I got out of the theatre, I knew one thing for certain.
I wasn’t going back. No way, no how.
I can’t explain it really. I mean, the decision I made wasn’t logical
in the slightest. Surely there were other places I could go in the
states besides L.A. — places where there was culture, where there was
something of “the old life” left. Places that hadn’t been ruined by
whatever it is that has turned America into the cultural wasteland that
it currently is.
But the thing is, I won’t be going back. Now there was no doubt about
How seeing a bad French film could translate itself into this, ah,
mini epiphany, I can’t tell you. All I know is that’s what happened.
See, the thing is, I’m here. In a country where I’ve found some
respite from the soul-crushing deadness that is America, I’m in a place
where I can’t even speak the language, and yet where I’ve found some
peace of mind. Hell, maybe finding that peace scared me. Maybe it meant
that I had no more excuses — that now I’d have to get down to
business, whatever that means. Maybe it means … no more excuses.
Like I said, I don’t have any answers. All I know is, there are
going to be good days, and bad days.
But I’ve made a choice, and well … I’m here.