Sunday, February 7, 2016

Inside the Heads of the People You See in LA Traffic

Man with buzzcut in neon blue Toyota Yaris near Wilshire and Santa Monica

This dude is listening to the Serial podcast and starting to think about what his friends would tell the police if he were accused of murdering his girlfriend. He is way more suspicious than Adnan. He is truly such an asshole to people, he'd totally be in jail for life, no question. He likes listening to the podcast because it reminds him how precious his life is, no matter how much he complains about it. Maybe it's the freedom of choice that makes life so hard. Maybe life would actually be easier in prison. He'd have already failed by then, and wasn't there something freeing about failure? He sometimes wishes he wouldn't have moved to LA, wasn't surrounded by so much success. Maybe, then, he wouldn't feel like such a fuck-up all the time.

Blonde woman applying makeup in silver BMW 535d Sedan near Beverly and 3rd Street

The move to the hills of Los Feliz was something she had always dreamed about, ever since moving to Los Angeles from Nashville fifteen years ago. She'd already made the social climb to the top but now she was physically going to be moving to the top of a hill overlooking Sunset boulevard. She would have a view of the city, her own (small) pool, and a veranda covered in vine. And yet, she was terrified of feeling so cut off from the world. There was a Joan Didion story that seemed particularly apt but she couldn't remember the name. Maybe she just wasn't allowing herself to feel happy. Maybe she was scared of the self-intimacy. Maybe she liked the sound of squabbling neighbors. She'd have to ask her therapist about that. In any case, it felt good to have the choice itself. She felt grateful, or at least hoped she would feel so at a certain point in the near future, just to have that choice.

Woman dressed in black picking her nose in blue Toyota Camry 

The people on Instagram made it all look so easy, with their perfect fucking bean salads and paleo chicken recipes. She hated that she was part of keeping the collective delusion alive. In her position as the celebrity chef's social media guru, she was in charge of styling the food photos, picking the inspirational quotes ("Don't get too intellectual," he'd told her) and engaging with the fans. It wasn't the superficial nature of the job that made her depressed, but the fact that she didn't believe the quotes she was posting. All they did were remind her how far she was from realizing her own potential. She wished she was living the life of a features writer for Vanity Fair, or that she'd at least submitted something to a literary magazine in the past five years. Now the best she could hope for was that someone would comment on her funny caption and tell her it made their day. It was becoming all too easy to make someone else's day.