Yes, sometimes when your author is blandly killing time in a CVS listening to popular music over the speakers that she would never admit liking… she feels a sort of longing for Los Angeles. There is a version of quiet in LA that is unique. Somehow, all of the sudden, one desires being in this slow, visually saturated, lonely Wong Kar Wai town. Laconic and alone, soothing self-introspection blended in via comforting and song-like voice over. To be clear, we use “Wong Kar Wai” as an adjective here. Somehow, one just wants to be there. Its a strange subtly self-effacing desire. Probably not much different from what I’ve felt before about living in Manhattan and effectively being a cog in a larger world. There is a difference, though. In Manhattan, there is no separation between person and city… it’s like one becomes a charcoal drawing who’s arm can with an accidental swipe of the artist’s hand, slowly disappear into the atmosphere… shading out. The mood can reach similar heights in both cities… the weight and/or cohesive, singular solidity of an individual will always remain on opposite spheres. One is definitively a separate entity in Los Angeles. …which makes a moody, lonely night with very little breeze and perfect temperature all-the-more striking… all-the-more alienating in a comforting manner.
I mean, as a good friend once said to a young author yet to experience Los Angeles, “Its everything that everyone says… it’s a place that one does not need to experience to really know what it is”… or something like that. Great weather, vapid Hollywood stuff, you have to drive, blonde chicks, blahblahblah. This is all true. But there is longing for what I can only describe as a desire for true loneliness that one can only understand after experiencing it.
So there is that.
Now Los Angeles has also been known for its desperation. But it’s a desperation that lives just beneath the surface of the entire town. Quietly but solidly rumbling away. This is what happens when the weather is so comfortable and people smile all the time. Now, New York is also know for desperation. New York desperation is visible and tangible. Everything is just more difficult here. More difficult, more expensive, more extreme, more uncomfortable in a physical sense. Basically, you really have to want to live here. And this creates a city of very passionate people. Intense. But, man, sometimes you just want to chill for a second, even.
…and maybe you want to get an Rx for pills that are basically entitled to you in Los Angeles. And this story goes:
Part of this comes down to culture. There’s no one thats really “Old School” in LA. LA is the land of the eternally young. Regardless of if one is young or not, one aspires to appear youthful and relevant. You know, health and jogging and plastic surgery and yoga and whatever is the ‘new’ thing. This obsession with the ‘new’ probably contributes to what others attribute as a flatness to the place. The card-board cut-out-ness of it all. It almost destroys time up until this point (even though that is impossible).
Thus, there are no real old guys that have been, say a dentist, forever and therefore have that “in my day…” attitude.
Fixing everything with a pill and quick fixes are relatively new things. As such, they are things that this city [LA] has subscribed to with much gusto.
The theoretical Old School NY dentist (with possibly a stereotypical bit of east coast attitude) would subscribe to the notion of pain with a ‘tough it out’ sort of philosophy. Unimpressed or just unaware of the ‘quick fix’ as an option. Nothing needs to be fixed… it’s just pain.
This equals no pills.
No pills = boo!
Theoretical case in point: One goes to the multitude of dentists in LA (most, in my experience, East Indian… and some, of course, extremely fit and relatively good-looking) and for anything even minutely interpretively painful, one is almost expected an Rx for something recreationally abusable. A basic tooth extraction is guaranteed some vikes (I mean as it should be. Basic or not this is the ‘pulling teeth’ of actually pulling teeth). Even the suggestion of pain and small request gets an LA dentist pulling out his prescription pad. This author can tell you that she was novicained and nitroused up for a cleaning. A cleaning. A fuckin’ cleaning!!! Why does anyone need nitrous for a cleaning? Who the fuck cares?
One goes to the proverbial dentist in say… Queens, NY… one gets a basic wisdom tooth extraction (of an otherwise normal though cavity laden wisdom tooth… not impacted the root is not infected). Basic extraction, yes… but you are pulling a bony structure from inside a socket in one’s mouth. Yes, it didn’t really hurt, what with the novacaine and all.
“It may start to hurt when the novacaine wears off. If that happens just take 3 Advil.” – Dentist.
Trying not to sound like a drug seeking individual, “What if it really hurts?” – author.
I proceed to gently prod him in the direction of an opioid pill Rx. I leave with nothing except one less tooth and bloody gauze in my mouth. I give it a few for the novacaine to wear off (and it does hurt… on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say, 2?… but it does hurt), I call the office…
“It really really hurts… I didn’t know that it would hurt THIS much” – author.
The receptionist tells me to give it time and let the Advil take effect… if it still really hurts in a few hours, then call us back.
A few hours pass, I call. This time NY dentist gets on the phone. I, in no uncertain terms, describe the “pain that is radiating in my eyeball and head”.
“Take more Advil. I’m surprised that it hurts at all… You know, because these Tylenol with Codeine won’t even… [Won’t even WHAT?!]… no, Your best bet if the Advil doesn’t work is to take extra strength Tylenol.” -Dentist.
Okay, apparently, you don’t like my liver. I wasn’t even talking about Tylenol 3 which is a bullshit high.
So, drug-seeking-behaviour-seeming or not, someone’s gotta say it: “What about Vicodin?” – author.
“No, that wouldn’t even do anything for this sort of pain.” -Dentist.
Um, I’m sorry, yes it would.
You don’t need a degree in dentistry, in medicine, you don’t even need to know how to read…. you just need to have taken Vicodin one time in the past.
Stunned into silence, I hear myself utter, “Are you sure?”.
“Yeah…” -Dentist (as he goes back to his extra strength Tylenol stance).
Lies!!! And thus a HUGE piece of me wants to be back in LA where the weather is warm, pilot season is a-brewin’ and I don’t have to go thru this bullshit to obtain a valid prescription for valid pain for a mildly narcotic pill that I don’t end up getting anyway. All that I need to do is ask… and have a dental procedure.