Making friends in Los Angeles is a bit like guerrilla warfare. I am on month ten here in the city of angels, and I have found that the subtlety of the mid-west does not work so well when meeting people here on the west coast. It is not that people here are unkind or rude, it is just that they are preoccupied. There is a lot going on here all of the time, there are many shiny lights and movie billboards to distract, and it always seems like everyone is trying to get somewhere (literally and figuratively). There is no time for subterfuge in a city that thrives on exhibition, so reevaluation was in order.
To tell the truth, I was kinda lonely for awhile. Matt and Bluebell are great, but I had very limited resources when it came to the calling-up-someone-to-hang-out department. So I changed my strategy and just went balls to the walls. It sucked and it was awesome, not simultaneously, but in that order.
There was a girl that I knew of through semi-regular work encounters. She seemed normal. She seemed nice. I went for it, like a boy asking the girl he sat behind in English to homecoming, I went for it.
I gave her a post-it with my name on it as I left her place of work and said: “Hey. I swear I’m not a creep (totally what a creep would say), but I just moved here (not entirely true), and if you want to be friends – you should look me up on Facebook (because I am 14).” (things in parenthetical phrases thought, not said).
Then I left. And I waited. And it sucked. The friend request didn’t come that day, or that night, or even the next night. I felt rejected. I felt embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I did something SO STUPID. I blamed homeschooling. I blamed my serial awkwardness. I blamed Bluebell for not being a human. It got ugly there for a little.
Then, after an entire week, she friended me. I tried to play it cool and even waited a few hours before accepting her request. Then I waited a few days before I sent her a tentative message suggesting possible hang-out times, but it took serious potential rejection prep before I pressed ‘send’ (is there anything scarier than sending something like that out into cyber space?). She didn’t respond for awhile and it made me feel weird inside, all sad and twisty, and I began to resign to the idea I would be alone in LA forever. Her reply in my inbox was unexpected and awesome.
She wanted to be friends! She wanted to hang out! I danced. Physically moved my body Ellen-style danced, and I was in the grocery store. This was more than just making a connection. This was roots. This was me making LA a place where I knew people, and that is a big deal.
I should not be surprised that she ended up being stupendous. We’ve hung out three times now and each time has been a grand time. Our most recent friend-date was dressing up and taking pictures at one of the many parks in the area. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce my new friend: Joanna.
Anyway. We are good friends now and LA is not so lonely so you should just go out and give people post-its with your name on it so you can tie scarfs on your head on your day off and take pictures where there are warning signs for rattlesnakes. That is the moral.