I don’t need to tell anyone that 2017 was strange. I think “strange” is the mildest–and most ambiguous–way of describing this year, but a descriptor I’ve purposefully chosen nonetheless. It’s the same feeling of strangeness I addressed last week, that being one of time and place that I’ve felt since moving to Los Angeles. When I zoom out, though, I realize that maybe that’s how I’ve felt for a long time (322 days and then some), each day like another episode of the Twilight Zone. Again: I know I’m not alone in this. I don’t need to break this down further or to provide anyone with a new and illuminating hot take on how hurtful, shocking, and downright confusing the news cycle has been, and how I hold my breath before looking at my phone every morning. I don’t need to offer the same opinions and sentiments that you’ve been seeing on your own social media platforms, assuming you, too, are also part of the liberal echo chamber. And if you’re not, then dear reader, let me make it very clear: Trump’s presidency has made me very sad. Again, this is mild and ambiguous, but it’s the most succinct summation I can come up with. Never mind the anger and embarrassment and again, the confusion: this is an issue of baseline sadness. It bums me the fuck out. I want you all to know that if you’re also feeling bummed the fuck out, I am here for you. We have fought and called and marched and written letters and given away our money and volunteered and we will continue to do so next year but still, it’s sad, and I think we are entitled to that feeling. That’s been the point of this bummertown opening salvo: to express that this holiday season, all I can offer is an understanding “I hear you, I feel you. This is a bummer.” This is not even taking into account all the sexual assault allegations, the hard but important work that women are doing as part of this reckoning, and the countless people who have asked “if I’ve been sexually harassed since moving to LA,” as though that’s a behavior that’s only reserved for Hollywood. I hope to see you all at a bar in the coming weeks!
Los Angeles literally caught on fire.
Talk about strange. Talk about a thing I have certainly never had to deal with before. Talk about a level of destruction that I simply could not have comprehended. Thankfully we have been safe in our neighborhood, and there is no foreseeable threat in the future, but it doesn’t help that the now-famous hellfire video was taken only about 20 miles from where we live. I watched it and was like, “Wow, California is so big! Good thing this is definitely not happening near us!” Then it sort of was. To reiterate! We are safe. But don’t let our fortune distract from the hundreds of people who have lost their homes right before the holidays. Send a little their way if you can.
This is a surreal story that involves some NAME DROPPING but whatever, the specific name needs to be dropped so you can understand how totally weird everything is. We went to see The Killing of a Sacred Deer the other night. First of all. Holy. Shit. Mom: do not watch this movie. If your sensibilities align with my mother’s then, you know, make a call based on that. It was incredible. Gorgeous. Violent. Morosely charming. Claustrophobic to the point I almost walked out, and I do not walk out on movies. Jarring. Deeply frustrating. I will never watch it again. I hope it wins so many awards. Anyway, my party and I walked silently from the movie to a restaurant, all of us attempting to digest what in the hell we had just experienced. We were sitting outside, eating empanadas. Then, Giovani Ribisi walked past us. He paused next to our table and cackled for several seconds at a video he was watching on his phone, the volume up quite loud. Five blonde women (presumably friends) approached him, huddled around the phone and laughed, and then they all walked off together. The three of us at the table stared in mild disbelief. Then, all three of our phones buzzed with a wildfire Emergency Alert, telling us not to evacuate yet but to, you know, keep an eye on it.
How strange! Every last detail. That evening was 2017 in a nutshell. Total confusion. Surreality. Destruction. Giovani Ribisi.
Let’s add to the strangeness by quickly reviewing some of the things I did in 2017:
- I wrote a play!
- I got engaged!
- I quit my job!
- I read Infinite Jest!
- I moved to California!
These are kind of big things to all happen in one year. I mean, I read Infinite Jest in like, 3 months, so I’m not kidding when I rank that as an achievement. (Did David Foster Wallace inadvertently invent Netflix? I mean, yeah, probably.) I also got to argue about this book…with a dude who has never read this book. I was about to say that’s very on-brand for 2017, but let’s face it, that’s just timeless.
I feel good about the things that happened in my own life this past year. How could I not? I’ve always been relatively lucky, or at least able to discern the cool stuff from the not cool stuff. But there is still work to do, because it can only get stranger. In the meantime, though, I want to reiterate this: I hear you. I feel you. This* is a bummer. Now let’s hug.
*You know I’m talking about the world at-large, right? Not my day-to-day life? I add this footnote because if I don’t my mom will text me and be like “Um, are you ok?” And I’ll have to be like “Yeah I’m fine I just have to add a little drama to the blog or else the readership kind of drops, and I have to like, talk in a serious tone sometimes or else people will just think I’m some idiot who eats empanadas and looks at celebrities all the time, which is closer to the truth, let’s be honest.”