It’s not like I’m surprised that celebrities are at the gym. They have to get their beautiful bodies somehow. In my Upper West Side squat rack, I would regularly peer around the dumbbells to see Tina Fey on the treadmill, or Mandy Patinkin jiving on the elliptical. Richard Kind and I have traded “I’ve seen you before” looks on more than one occasion next to the towels.
But here was Fabio. And when I turned to see Fabio, Fabio turned to see me. What I saw was a gorgeous 50-something man with perfect shape, ready to break the glow of the sun with his long-flowing golden strands of immortality at any possible moment. What he saw was most likely the bitter eyes of a soft, freckly Irishman, puzzled as to how the hell he landed at the gym with Fabio.
After all this time in LA, my brain still expects me to step out of an elevator bank onto Broadway and 52nd Street. I’m still coming to terms that this sun-drenched canyon is home.
I’m longing for the crushing hustle of Manhattan, while taking long, quiet drags of musk-filled-air bound by sea and mountain and desert and smog. One word comes to mind: space.
Enlightening, engaging, enveloping space.
So much space.
What is one person supposed to do with all this space?
For Christ’s sake, why not just drop us into the middle of Wyoming? How the hell are you supposed to find anything? Meet anyone? Do anything at all? Do you realize how much space you’re completely wasting? Do you really need all this? What the hell is wrong with you people? How inconsiderate can you possibly be?!?
My god, how wonderful it is to have so much space. And sun. And ocean, trees and grass. After two weeks in Los Angeles, I came to understand why LA and New York are so often in the same conversation. They are so connected. So entrenched with one another. As if one can’t survive without it’s coastal couterpart. And yet, the two towns are indeed, worlds apart.
The New York actor who’s spent 30 years biking around town and living in his 4th floor 1-bedroom apartment would probably have trouble acclimating to the long lines of auditioning actors wrapped around strip malls. The playwright who’s made her career at Second Stage or Playwright’s Horizon might lose herself on the stop-and-go drive to studio gates. To a New Yorker, the maze under Times Square that connects the 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, B, D, F, 7, S is laid out and easy to understand – you simply take a right or a left at the Mexican wind band and go up or down the stairs – while the mapping of the 405 and 101 seems the equivalent of solving a Rubik’s Cube.
The Angeleno so used to the East/ West tracks of the 10 might struggle at the North/ South street signs of Manhattan. Yes, to go from 14th to 15th, you walk up one block. No, you don’t have to go around a mountain or a juice bar, but I understand why you might think that.
It’s hard not to idolize either city. Both are the homes of dreams, and both hold harsh realities to the dreamers. But while I long for the man-made, dollar-pizza, don’t-look-anyone-in-the-eye canyons of Manhattan, I try to embrace the space and sun of Los Angeles.
I might have better luck trying to embrace Fabio.