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Craigs List - You're a hell of a beast! Moving to LA and finding my way.

By Sophie Brabenec

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January, 2012

A restless nights sleep. Tossing, turning, I’m exhausted, but I just want it to be morning. You know that feeling? Like a kid at Christmas. Excitement, anticipation. What does the day hold? I can’t wait. I want  to get the LA ball rolling. I want results and I want them now!

Straight onto the internet. FB, Twitter, hotmail, gmail, Craigs List – GO GO GO! All day at the computer, attempting to start my new life. Coffee percolates. Cup after cup, down the hatch. Furiously scribbled notes, numbers, addresses start to fill my new journal. It’s mid afternoon, I’m still in my pj’s when I realise I’ve had nothing to eat. I head up the street, now out of my pj’s and take an afternoon stroll. I’m familiar-ish with the area, as I’ve couchsurfed here 2 years back with a wonderful American girl Jen. The area is very Russian and I fill the next hour ducking in and out of Euro delis with names like Svetlana buying cheap rye bread, veggies and admiring smoked fish and olives.

Back home with a full belly I start making phone calls to prospective share houses. Frankie is sitting across from me as the hilarity begins.

First up I speak to Dana, whom I’d had contact with before leaving Oz. She seemed hunky dory via email; offering a Californian bungalow in Hollywood living with four other people working in film. Sounds perfecto, no? When I speak to Dana on the phone, she sounds like she’s from the wild west. Somehow I feel she may be missing some teeth. We make a time to meet tomorrow morning.

Next up. Skyler with a house in Hollywood. I think Skyler is going to be female, but she’s male and full of surprises. ‘It’s not a house, it’s a studio’ he explains in a slow country pumpkin like drawl. ‘You’d be sharing my double bunk boat’ he continues. ‘Your what?!?’ I quiz him. ‘It’s like a double-decker bus’ he goes on. ‘Like a double decker bus???’ I repeat somewhat confused, but highly amused. Frankie gets the giggles, then me and then Skyler. The giggles intensify to the point that I’m gasping as I continue with, ‘So what you’re effectively offering me is the top deck of your double-decker bus?’ ‘Well yeah’ he says. I am trying so hard to say thank you Skyler, but I don’t think this is going to work, but the laughter has taken control and the only thing left to do is hang up.

NEXT!

I speak to Scott. Scott goes on and on and on….and just when you think he’s going to take a breath, there it is, a little more dribble. He’s a middle-aged man who has been to Australia and stresses at least 3 times in our conversation that his one big mistake in life was not buying land in Geelong. He bores me to tears. I finally manage to get off the phone.

Maritza is my next convo. She requests we meet over Skype. She’s about 24 and starts off by telling me a little bit about the house rules!!! OMG. This is getting more and more ridiculous. Rule number one – no drugs. Rule number two – NO SLEEPOVERS! EVER. What the hell?? It’s almost insulting having this conversation but for mine and Frankie’s amusement I probe further and ask in all seriousness ‘Why, have their been some issues?’ ‘The walls are thin’ she explains, ‘It’s just an agreement we’ve come to.’ With my head almost in my hands I politely excuse myself from the conversation ‘ Thanks Maritzia, but I don’t think this is going to work’. I understand her reasoning, but house rules? Whatever happened to common sense and a little understanding?

In between I have a few normal email and phone convos, though they seem to be rare. So many ads have super specific requirements. Many include a non smoking rule, even if you’re outside! As I am currently a smoker, the thought of creeping around to have a cheeky one whilst watching guard for house mates simply doesn’t work. Another ad goes so far as to mention housemates only have occasional conversations. It’s exhausting reading such nonsense. I manage to line up a few viewings for the next day and have one last phone chat that ends on a rather abstract note.

I talk to Christina. She works for the home shopping network. It’s all fine fine fine until I query a note in the ad about not sharing kitchen bits and bobs. She explains that everyone has their own section in the kitchen with their own cups, plates, cutlery, etc. I query that as a newly arrived resident I didn’t bring such items abroad with me, would it be expected in a sharehouse to purchase such things? Sympathetically she offers ‘ Well I only have one mug, one plate, knife, fork and spoon, but I spose I’ve got some paper plates you could use’. Unbelievable. I am stunned to my inner core. Paper plates?! Get a grip woman.

I suddenly start to remember how odd this town really can be.



Published on May 04, 2012

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