Lost Angeles is a column about getting lost — and found — on solo expeditions in the city.
I’ll admit it. I’m scared.
Of what? I’m not exactly sure. Many things all at once, and nothing in particular.
Mostly, it’s surreal. And as I write that, I hate myself a little bit because I know that I’m so, so privileged compared to so many others right now. Waiters are laid off, scrambling for rent; Lyft drivers have no PTO; people are incarcerated in petri dish prisons. The list goes on.
Holed up in my apartment, I find myself going nuts. Alternately anxious, vaguely numb, I scroll Twitter for hours on end. Ironically, as a freelancer who already works remotely, my day-to-day life has changed less than most. I am fortunate to have the same work I’ve always had — maybe even more of it. As a journalist, there’s a lot to cover these days.
But it’s hard to concentrate. I filed this piece late, pushing the deadline back thrice. My coworking space has closed and I find myself having nowhere to go. Sometimes I’ll drive up into the mountains, or head to the Silverlake Reservoir for walks. I have yet to sign up for that remote yoga class.
The cloudy weather makes me want to stay under the covers all day. I drink coffee until 6 p.m. to compensate for my fatigue. My body can’t shake its stupor, my heart races.
“I’ve finally gotten in surplus what I’ve always had a lack of: solitude. Even as I rail against it, I know that this situation bears a gift in its gleaming gold teeth.”
As a lifelong, self-professed introvert, I’ve finally gotten in surplus what I’ve always had a lack of: solitude. Even as I rail against it, I know that this situation bears a gift in its gleaming gold teeth. The gift of clarity. Or the opportunity for it, at least. The opportunity to get clear about jobs, relationships, projects, professional choices — all the stuff I never have enough time to think deeply about.
Somehow, it’s March. Where did the year go? Even before all of this started, time seemed to race. I haven’t gotten to do so many of the things I’ve meant to: detail my goals for this year, pick a 10K to train for (LMAO), make a vision board. Find my fucking tax receipts.
And now seems like the perfect time. To start that novel. Finish that screenplay. Clean those drawers. Hang up that painting. Or, alternately, do nothing at all. To enjoy stillness and sit with everything that comes up — the fears, the frustrations. And behind those, the small voice of inspiration.
This column, obviously, is about being alone. And so it seems like I would be the ideal candidate to embrace this quarantine. But I’m not. For all of my penchant toward solitude, I realize that I enjoy it most in a crowd. Sipping coffee in the din of a Saturday morning coffee shop, walking alone at the reservoir amongst joggers, riding public transit to people watch. Being a flâneur, anonymously strolling the city.
“All around us, we see so many people in our city coming together to do what they do best. Heal, teach, cook, serve. Whatever you’re doing, it’s enough.”
I like nesting at home — when it’s a choice.
For many of us, this is the first time that something like this has happened. My friend in Paris mentioned that older people are comparing this to WWII. The stay-at-home orders. The unavailability of items. It all feels Pynchon-esque.
And yes, this will pass. In the meantime, there are remote yoga classes. (Silverlake Yoga and Yogala are my two go-to studios. Although I haven’t tried their remote classes yet, I think they would bring me sanity right now.) Steve Arcos, who leads yoga in Echo Park on weekend mornings, is leading donation-based classes on Zoom. The schedule is on his Instagram, updated almost daily. Li Pallas, one of my favorite yoga teachers, posted this 20-minute meditation this past week. Donate if you feel compelled.
All around us, we see so many people in our city coming together to do what they do best. Heal, teach, cook, serve. Whatever you’re doing, it’s enough. Yes, even if that’s scrolling on Twitter for four hours a day. (Although, from personal experience, I don’t recommend it.)
You — yes you, reading this — are doing a great job. Hang in there.