My plan was to publish an article on the first of every month and a seasonal newsletter on the 15th of March, June, September, and December. That was before I realized that I’d have to write three posts during the holidays, at which point, December’s newsletter got lost between a Christmas article that no one read and a New Year’s article that I haven’t written yet. If this sounds unfamiliar or unreasonable to you, you’re clearly not a writer. Also, I may have just moved to Texas, so give me a break and while we’re at it, happy New Year!
I left Los Angeles somewhat spontaneously on New Year’s evening and arrived in San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon. Gas became progressively less expensive as I drove, and I saved a heap-ton of money by sleeping at rest stops, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. No one can tell if you’re male or female if you arrive after dark, and I always wait to use the restrooms until the morning when there are other women and/or children about.
Those of you who read my September 2022 newsletter will know that I first considered moving out of state two years ago, but Texas was having an unprecedented cold snap called the Winter Outbreak, and it seemed like a bad time. I mean, living here and dying here are two entirely different adventures, you know what I’m saying? I doubt that my loyalty to the Lone Star State will be tested to that degree, but if it is, we’re talking subfreezing temperatures. On the bright side, I recently decided that hypothermia would be the best way to go, so if you’re looking for a silver lining . . . I mean, who wants to die of old age when there could fall asleep in their prime like Marilyn Monroe? I used to think that if I died in my sleep, I’d have to appear before the heavenly host in my nightshirt. Imagine if, like Marilyn, I only slept in CHANEL N°5 . . . I tried sleeping naked once and didn’t like it. It’s hard to enjoy the sensation of cool sheets against bare skin when you realize how often you’ll have to wash your bedding. It’s all incredibly sensual until you’re wrestling that dreaded bottom sheet onto all four corners of your lethally heavy mattress . . . It would be different if I had a maid (or what millennials still living at home call a mother), but some of us do our own housework.
Why Texas/San Antonio? Good question with several plausible answers:
First, I love my home state, but let’s be real. California is as liberal as it is expensive and it’s hard to matter in a city as large and overcrowded as LA. Ninety-nine percent of Angelenos are trying to “make it” in Hollywood versus the one percent of them who actually do. Those aren’t the exact statistics but they might as well be. I was lucky. I was a writer doing background acting for filler/fun. If I happened to snag a featured role or score a union voucher, it was more of a bonus than “big” break. Don’t get me wrong. LA is great if you’re wealthy or you don’t mind sharing a sketch apartment with a bunch of randos, but I want to live with dignity and have the things that I’m “supposed” to have at my age. At some point, even a “Bride of Adventure” (as Anne with an E calls it) has to put down roots and grow a little in one place. I’m not saying that traveling isn’t a legitimate lifestyle. I’m just saying that even people as adventurous as Jack London stayed in one place long enough to leave a legacy. And I’m not sure that LA is the best place to do that.
Second, I’ve been to every contiguous state, and Texas is the only affordable one between California and New York that’s known for being polite and friendly. Texans even drive courteously. They don’t tailgate you around semis (like, seriously, where am I going to go?) and then cut you off in the slow lane. They give you space. They indicate. Sure, you still get hellions who weave in and out of traffic, but I’ve found them to be the forgivable exceptions rather than the intolerable rule, and they might actually be from Arizona (sorry, but you guys are the worst and I survived Chicago). On my way here the other day, a group of teenagers actually moved out of the way so that I could enter the restroom without hitting them with the door. Can you believe that? I peed a very happy woman. And you know the irony of all this? It’s actually in everyone’s best interests to look out for each other. Being kind doesn’t actually take longer. You’re not going to get wherever you’re going any faster by endangering people. I’ll probably see you at the next light with or without shooting holes in your tires. Yes, that’s right, a—hole, “I’m bA-Ack!” Adrienne isn’t as slow as she looks.
Third, a part of me has always fantasized about living in a boutique tourist destination, somewhere that’s popular without being busy, where you can get to know your neighbors without being all up in each other’s business. People come to San Antonio from all over the world to see the Alamo. The nightlife is niche but (inter)national, and the attractions along the River Walk are are classy but unpretentious. The downside is that people tend to travel in pairs (unless, God forbid, they bring a flock of children), but hey, no place is perfect.
Fourth, San Antonio is named after Anthony of Padua (1195–1231), the patron saint of animals, miracles, poverty, travelers, finding one’s spouse, lost items/people/souls, etc. I’m not Catholic but it fits.
Fifth, if things don’t pan out for me in Texas, I can always return to California and pursue other dreams with a clear conscience. Maybe, by saving money here, I’ll be able to afford my own apartment in LA, where all the hotties go to get out of the flyover states. I mean, you’d think that I’d have already met someone suitable, but you know how it is. A goddess anywhere else is “above average” in LA. And as I said, “all that glitters is not gold.” LA can have a corrupting influence on people who don’t understand how shallow and materialistic it can be. It tends to attract nouveau riche wannabes who think that class has something to do with money and want to date up-and-comers who “don’t drag them down” (read: make them look successful). Maintaining this facade can be costly, not just financially but mentally and emotionally. The possibility of “making it” is always there, always shiny. And when you’re positioned across from the camera near a celebrity or soaring to the strains of Handel’s Messiah at Walt Disney Concert Hall, it can feel like the most magical place in the world. But there’s something not quite real about it. It’s difficult to explain to people who’ve never been there, but I’ve never really trusted LA. It intrigues and repulses. Bad boy, dark angel. And like everyone who truly understands darkness, I’ve always chased the light.
So, what now? I’m currently installed at the least expensive Downtown hotel near Market Square, a forty minute walk from the heart of San Antonio. I can afford to stay three weeks without being stranded and unable to pay my bills. Either that’ll be enough time to find a job and somewhere to live, or I’ll be writing up the experience as another madcap adventure. Tuesday was all about showering (oh, to be clean again!) and sunless tanning mousse. (Currently using Jergen’s. Thoughts?) Wednesday was all about catching up on sleep and writing. (I was going to get an early start but my body was like, “It’s only 6:00 a.m. PST, you bleeping assassin.” Can you imagine being one of those sociopaths who exercise at 5:00 a.m.?) Tomorrow, I’ll find a coffee shop with good ambience near the Alamo, where I can see and be seen and take care of non-writing biz without wanting to kill myself.
Honestly, I was born to be a lady of leisure in the same sense that I never intended to be over twenty-five. I wasn’t planning to die young or anything. I just wasn’t going to age. In the same way, I’ve always felt that money should just sort of . . . exist . . . when you need it, like the widow’s oil (2 Kings 4:1–7). I blame British classics, where even ladies and gentlemen of modest means had servants who did the dirty work. In France, idleness was so closely tied to nobility that you could actually lose your aristocratic status for doing unseemly work, which in France, was probably anything more arduous than farting.
I intend to work hard but the work itself must be dignified and adequately paid for what it is. No one should have to prove that they’re worth a fair and decent living. If it’s your job to hire the best candidates, you’re not doing the applicant a favor; you’re doing your job. You’re not giving them the job out of charity; you’re giving them the job that they deserve, which is as much in the company’s interest as it is in theirs. If they end up being bad at their job, the joke’s on you for being bad at yours, which leaves little room for criticizing other people’s work performance. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either a crook or an idiot. So, if you must fire someone, be kind. Don’t make it personal while pretending that it’s “just business.” As if you’re professional. As if you’re fooling anyone. Firing someone is bad enough without humiliating them, and it’s only personal in the sense that it should’ve been you.
And on that note, I need my beauty sleep so that I can look like the kind of person that I’d want to
date hire (surprise: you just get me). I’m going for something that says, “Old soul seeks new adventures in historic south. Has Jesus. Will travel.” And something about football for good measure, like, I don’t know . . . snacks?