Thursday, June 5, 2014

Settling In

I write to you, my friends, from Mackenzie and Alex's guest bedroom, which is my bedroom for the summer. It is far bigger than my bedroom in Vegas, and when Kenzie and Alex are gone at work during the day, I have the entire house to myself, which is a strange sensation. It's quiet--almost too quiet, even if I play music. I suspect I'm going through people withdrawal. In the MFA program we're around each other constantly. Now none of those people are here, and I'm in a giant city where I know a grand total of three people. Well, that's not entirely true. I know a grand total of three people well. I know two more people not-quite-as-well. I'm going to have to fix that, or I might go insane. I've become something of a social butterfly in recent years, not because I'm necessarily an extrovert but because it helps my anxiety a great deal. I need to develop a circle. Yeah. Talking to strangers. Party.

I almost talked to a stranger last night, but I was too slow on the uptake. I went to see Mackenzie's kickball team play, a) because I love Mackenzie, b) because I've never seen a kickball game, and c) because I need to force myself to get used to driving in this city. (The driving's not actually too terrible. It's similar to Chicago driving, but with skinnier lanes and people who are extremely displeased if you don't know where you're going and/or if you don't know how to parallel park. Which I don't. Either. Learning the hard way.) Let me tell you, she is one feisty little team captain. They got creamed, but the team they were playing has gone to the national championship before--which is apparently in Vegas?--so it wasn't a fair fight. Afterwards we went to this bar, The Happy Ending, where I learned to play a drinking game called "Honeycomb." Fortunately (unfortunately?) I was rather good at it, so I barely drank anything at all.

Anyway, the point is, a tall fellow with glasses from another kickball team approached me at the bar and complimented my Twin Peaks shirt. I told him I got it from Threadless, and then I spectacularly failed to introduce myself or exchange numbers with him because I am an idiot. Oh well. I'll get 'em next time.

I might be able to meet some people at the climbing gym as well, because I'm a member of one of those now. I wouldn't want to lose what little upper-body strength I've built up over the past month and a half, would I? It's this place called Hangar 18; I went there today to see if I liked it, and happily I believe it will work out nicely. It's about 20 minutes away from Kenzie and Alex's, but according to Kenzie everything in LA is 20 minutes away, all the time, regardless of where you are. So the commute is fine, especially if I go in the middle of the day. The staff is friendly, and they have four auto-belays, and each route is marked with different color holds instead of different color tape, which I appreciate since I always have trouble seeing the tape. The best part is that a month membership is only $28 for students, and it includes gear rental. Super cheap. They have yoga classes that I could take there, too, and various climbing-related classes. I'm hoping that I make some friends there, actually, since I could climb way more routes if I had someone to belay me. I'm determined to climb a 5.9 by the end of the summer.

I had fun driving back from the gym today because I got to coast quickly downhill. I like that there are so many hills here. It's pretty, and not like Illinois at all. Not like Vegas, either, for that matter. Sure, Vegas is surrounded by mountains, but the city itself is in a valley. It's fairly flat. LA isn't like that at all. If gas weren't so expensive and if traffic weren't so bad, I'd probably spend lots of time just driving around in my convertible, learning the lay of the land.

I shouldn't have said that I have the house to myself every day. I do have the company of the dogs--Kenzie and Alex's husky Penny, and, for the time being, their foster pit bull Richie, who is quite possibly the most affectionate dog I've ever met. I was trying to do work the other day and he would not get off me. They are so cute. Observe:

My internship starts on Monday, so that will help get me out of the house, too. I was pleased to discover that Kenzie and Alex's house is actually in the same neighborhood as the office, so it's only a 10-minute drive, and I don't have to get on the highway. In fact, it's only a 15-minute bike ride, and Kenzie has a bike and a helmet she's not using, and I could take residential streets the entire way there. I might do that. Get some exercise.

Goals for this evening: write, start reading Ulysses. Wish me luck.


Please say hi.