I arrived in Los Angeles Saturday evening, having to take a bus from El Monte far enough into downtown L.A. for my ‘host’ to pick me up. Riding on the bus I wanted to explode excitement, run out the door bumping people all over, and take off down the street, staring at everything and taking everything in. But, I sat there quietly and knew I had to stay on course and not make my ride wait around for me. For the next month or so I’ll be sleeping on a couch in Marcia’s apartment. We’re friends from high school who’ve done a good job keeping in touch and, after telling me to come to Los Angeles for the past two years, finally convinced me to make the trip (the comfy couch being the decision-swaying factor). So I put in my two-weeks at the ol’ job, paid off my last roommate, got into fight with my other roommate, packed a bag and left, spent the next week hitchhiking across this magnificent country.
Marcia lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Venice Beach, about a mile from the ocean. Her and her roommate, Isabelle, are apparently grinding edges and I heard a bit about it on the drive into Venice: they were good friends, now they aren’t, and dreams of strangling one another are looking more and more like real possibilities. Isabelle goes out of her way to put Marcia down and Marcia has no clue why.
One of the first things Marcia told me upon getting in the car was that driving with her was more dangerous to my health than hitchhiking. She also commented she had turned into quite the grandma since last I’d seen her. Anyway, we went out for a bite to eat, Marcia lamented her laziness and terrible parallel parking skills, and afterwards we stopped at the liquor store, bought some beer, and returned to the apartment.
There’s roof access to the apartment that I’ll be staying in and instead of going out, which was just fine because Marcia had work early the next morning, we sat up on the roof and had a couple beers, talked and caught up and all that jazz. Marcia called Isabelle and Isabelle stopped by.
The tension was palpable. I saw daggers shoot out of Isabelle’s eyes the first time I saw her look at Marcia. Then Isabelle said something referring to ‘New York Jews’, and when Marcia mentioned that it was all Mexicans that ran the kitchen where she worked, Isabelle called her out and said Marcia was being racist. Double-standard was obvious.
Over the next couple of days I spent some good time with Marcia and it became evident she was having a self-esteem crisis. She’d even mentioned it herself, saying she had low self-esteem. Isabelle was evidently getting to her and Marcia had commented on this as well. Marcia was beginning to come off as the grandma she described herself: overly-cautious, fearful of criticism and doubtful of her abilities, lamenting how she was no longer any ‘fun’. I went to a barbecue with her yesterday and Marcia made a spinach dip. It was very good. But Marcia kept fretting that we wouldn’t like it, that something was wrong with it and furthermore wrong with her. Marcia told me about another roommate she’d had. They had started off as good friends, just as the case is with Isabelle, and, sticking to the pattern, this roommate had taken to distancing herself from Marcia, just as Isabelle now is. This has led Marcia to believe that it is she who somehow drives people away. Curious enough, the third roommate had visited a psychic who told her there was a person in her life who was a ‘black-spot’ that was dragging her down. For the next month this roommate avoided Marcia and moved out.
So, I got drunk at the barbecue. And on the ride back I decided to confide some thoughts to Marcia. It was only her and I in the car. I told her I thought she was overly pessimistic. That she needs to work on her self-esteem and be more confident with herself. I forget exactly how I worded all of this but she asked me for examples and I provided some and I didn’t mean to be offensive or sound mean or like I was trying to belittle or do harm, but when I woke up this morning Marcia sat down to talk with me, and, surprisingly, she told me there was a lack of communication regarding how long I’d be crashing on the couch. I was of the idea that I’d be spending at least a month there. Turns out I have two weeks to find alternative sleeping places! haha. But it’s not funny. I feel like I hurt her and I didn’t mean to, I was saying all of this with the best of intentions, because a pessimistic, unconfident personality has a lot of negative energy, and not only does this negative energy feed into itself, causing more and more events to transpire that lessen one’s belief in their self, but this negative energy seeps into the spirits of everyone who spends too much time around them, bringing down everyone they associate with. Moods are infectious. People feel happy around happy people and when someone gets angry or down it invariably wears off on others. Marcia felt she was the common factor in the disappearance of her roommates and friends, and I though perhaps this piece of advice could somehow help.
Anyway, I still have to talk to her about all of this. I only saw her briefly this morning and I’ve been out all day running around looking for a job. I’m going to have to apologize, say I’m sorry if I sounded mean or insulting, and hope she gets over it and lets me stay as long as I want!