I am having some JGSAD today. (June Gloom Seasonal Affective Disorder). June Gloom is this weird cloud layer (It’s not SMOG – I checked) that hangs around and makes the mornings dark and kinda chilly. I’m drinking iced cold brew coffee, wearing a sweater and shorts, squinting even though there is no sunshiny sun — WHAT IS REAL ANYMORE. But we Angelenos willingly accept this month-long punishment for having the best weather in the continental U.S. the rest of the year.
I mean, come on. My skin has become the thinnest layer of an onion, tolerating nothing but 75 degrees and mostly sunny. Thanks, Los Angeles!
That’s what THREE YEARS IN LA will do to ya. Turn you into a weenie who’s disturbed by clouds. I’ve actually been here 3 1/2 years and to celebrate, my old roomie Chris Turnham and I made our first pilgrimage to the Hollywood Sign! High atop the hills of mansions and celebrities, there are the letters: H-O-L-L-Y-W — ok, you can spell.
Chris and I moved from Portland, OR to LA, and lived together in Los Feliz for a while. What better company to make this trek. So much has happened since we first set foot in LaLaLand! Chris is practically famous for his gorgeous illustrations/prints, and he’s got a couple book deals as author and artist! And I — am delivering pizza! TO CELEBRITIEEEEES. [Champagne glasses clink!] Ah, you know. Everything takes time, patience, whatever, the world is your f-ing oyster…
We struck out on our journey. Smokey greeted us, reminding us that only we can prevent forest fires. This Smokey is not the one I remember as a kid. This one is scary-smeyesing, sucking in his gut, has a bulge, and is wearing jeans and no shoes to do yard work. Total pedo. Smokes, I feel like you need a shirt. It can be a cut-off T to show off your furry guns. Just — maybe some Timberlands, or–?
The weird thing about this hike is that you have these picturesque moments with the sign as you get closer, and closer… And then suddenly…
Too close. You’re BEHIND the sign.And there are like 50 billion security cameras making sure you don’t get any “ideas”.Some hippie guy was playing the guitar at the highest point. Ahhh. No matter where you go, you will always find a “free spirit” who wants to play their guitar for you. I admire people who can do that, without any discernible talent. Without any regard for personal space, or common sense. Confidence!
Also, to keep it real and remind us that we are indeed in LA, this:An earthquake sensing thingy! It was as I was picturing the little needles inside, bouncing back and forth, writing on rolls of paper (I literally do not know how this machine works), that an alarm went off. OMG it’s the big one! We’re having an earthquake! “STEP AWAY FROM THE FENCE”. What? “SIR. STEP AWAY FROM THE FENCE IMMEDIATELY.”
We spotted a dude who had pushed open the security gate. Apparently, there is a live LAPD officer, constantly watching over the Hollywood Sign. You can’t see him, but he can see you. IT WAS SO EXCITING. My advice is to hike up to the sign and just open the gate a little bit. Also wear something weird and pretend you can’t hear him, so he has to describe your zany outfit. “WILL THE WOMAN IN THE SEXY PILGRIM COSTUME, PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE GATE.” What’s the worst that could happen — you spend a little time in Hollywood prison? Orange Is The New Black, baby!
We didn’t have a Sharpie, otherwise we might have joined in.
It was pretty awesome. Of course I wished we could have touched the letters. Sat on one of the “L”s. Recreated the scene from “Burlesque” where Christina Aguilera drives by the Hollywood Sign in a bus (you do the math on how that happened. Flying Greyhound?). But it was great to share the adventure with my buddy Chris, and also the dude who opened the gate. And guitar guy. And the cops. And Lorena.