The Monday before I was meant to send you a letter, I had a weird and terrible fall. I tripped over my feet on my walk from work to the bus stop and ended the night in the hospital getting three stitches in my forehead. For days afterwards, I kept reliving the fall in slow motion. I slept as much as I could; I didn’t want to do anything else.
And then Megan said, come to LA.
Spring break was coming up, I had flight credits from December, and in a moment of pandemic-cautious spontaneity, I just did it. I’ve been here since last week, through blazing sun and LA rain. I love this place because it’s still new, after 15 years of regular visits. Unfamiliar, but unexplored. I came looking for change, and I found enough to carry back home.
I found a new place for fish tacos, delightfully named The Best Fish Taco In Ensenada. I found the perfect LA book to read on the patio, a collection of bloggy essays called Everything Now by Rosencrans Baldwin. I found a new TV show, Our Flag Means Death, through gifs on Tumblr, then on HBOMax (not available in Canada). We’ve already watched it twice.
And then Harry Styles announced his new album, which comes, of course, with his new aesthetic. It’s a time for reinvention. One doesn’t have to be the same person forever. If it isn’t working for you, try something else. You can quit. You’re allowed to change. In fact, after the last two years, you probably should.
I’m not doing the farmers market this year. It’s the right decision, and it feels good, unlike last year when I guilted myself into doing another summer. But it means I have months of time ahead of me that I’ll have to fill. It’s a time for reinvention.
This trip to LA is the weirdest by far. I came with no plans, and each day needs to be filled. Even staying in a new neighbourhood with unfamiliar streets and unexplored sights, I struggle to get up off the couch. I’m out of practice wandering. I don’t remember how to be in public. And then I get lost, and then I get sunburned, and then I feel like I’ve failed. I did a bad job at vacation.
But I didn’t. The purpose of this trip wasn’t to check a box or complete a goal. The purpose wasn’t the seeing and the doing. The purpose is to be. To be in the sun. To be close to friends. To be on a different couch after two years in my house.
To be is all I have to do.