(The carpet at the abandoned Hollywood Video store on the ground floor of the Wiltern complex. They keep that place lit at all hours of the night, for god knows what reason)

People keep asking me, “How’s it going in LA?” I don’t know how to answer that. I know I should say “Great!” so that the conversation can roll smoothly along. But I’m not exactly a master of casual conversation, so in these situations, I find myself wanting to actually answer accurately. Eyes usually glaze over before I find the right words.

The fact is, I’m too deeply embedded in the work (and it’s all work at this point—not just work-work but also driving, socializing, reacquainting myself with the city—it feels like I’m working all the time) to truly know how it’s “going.” 

I do think it’s worth noting, particularly for the New Yorkers, that Los Angeles is in an unusually apocalyptic mode these days. The long-feared city-devastating earthquake is long overdue. The city is about to go bankrupt; it could get all New York in the 70s up in here any minute. People seem to be partying like the end is near—every time I go out, whether to new bourgie nightshit Downtown or to dive bar karaoke split between old men and hipsters, I feel overmatched in terms of my capacity for the indulgence.

Last night, I was driving home to Koreatown, and Wilshire was blocked off approaching Western, which is the end point for the Purple Line subway into Downtown. At the detour point, I asked a guard what was up and, in a heavy Korean accent, he said, “Subway go boom.” I rushed home and went online, but couldn’t find a single news report. Almost twelve hours later, there’s still no news to be found as to what was actually going on that necessitated closing off several blocks of my neighborhood. I’m now convinced that the guard was fucking with me, which is something I’m not sure you could get away with in New York. Here, it’s all you can do to joke about total fucking disaster.