I’m from L.A. Not like, “Oh, I grew up in San Diego but I’ve lived here since I’m 18.” Whatever. Tourist.
Whenever someone at work asks me where I’m from, I point south/west-ish and say (flippantly), “…about seven miles that way.” They never expect it. And, with shock, they inevitably (and erroneously) say that no one is from L.A. So fucking annoying. I don’t know why, but i just think it’s mad ballsy to say anything. I’m an L.A. chick, Baby.
I was born in Santa Monica Hospital, in a building that doesn’t exist anymore. They tore it down a few years back. My dad dragged me to some sort of ceremonial wrecking party, and we all got bricks from the original building, because me, my dad and my brother were all born there, in the same room. I’m quite sure I remember him actually weeping.
And before all this, my dad’s parents met on the corner of 4th Street and Santa Monica. Lloyd E. Clendening was a lawyer and (legend has it) one day he was gazing outside his office window and saw a beautiful woman down on the street; he ran downstairs and introduced himself. Her name was Olive. It was the 30’s. And I picture it like something The Little Tramp would’ve done, with his cane and his penguin walk. They were married two months later and stayed together til the end. True story.
Now they’re buried in The Santa Monica Cemetery, and my other grandparents are at Westwood Memorial. Same place as Marilyn Monroe. She always had fresh flowers on her plague, sent from Joe Dimaggio. And red lipstick kisses. I wonder if you can even wash them off at this point. I think Hugh Hefner has the space next to her.
When I was a teenager my parents wanted to send me to Japan on some sort of group trip. I had no desire to go to Japan. (Too bad it didn’t come up at a time in my life when I would have appreciated a culture that so enthusiastically embraced excessive drinking and smoking around the clock.) But if you told me back then you were sending me on tour with Journey for the 1981 Escape album tour, I would have had the same reaction. All I wanted to do was sit around on the beach. And that I did. Some people called this a waste, in regards to my “potential”, a word I resent. But I’d think about my life, I’d think about the home and the man I’d have when I grew up, and I’d think about being a writer and writing about all this one day.
So they sent my brother to Europe. When he got back he talked a lot about the subways and that’ s all I remember. It was the summer of the ’84 Olympics here in L.A., but a bunch of Eastern European countries boycotted it and it ended up being called “The Friendship Games.” (FYI, I don’t believe in Olympic boycotts. It’s not sportsmanlike. Grow up.) That summer we listened to David Bowie’s Hunky Dory, laid out at Will Roger’s, and drove home every evening in the glow of twilight, my favorite time of day. We played frisbee in the street at night and stayed up late for Saturday Night Live once a week. We stood in line for movies at The PicWood, until it was torn down and they built The Westside Pavilion.
I didn’t exactly have that wanderlust other people have; all the stuff I wanted to see was right here. The Charlie’s Angel’s set. Disneyland. Malibu. When you live in Europe you get one of those passes that let you bounce around from country to country, like a party in a dorm. Maybe that’s why those people all seem a little bent; they’re wanderers, without any ties or 12 month leases. I’m wondering if they have the right idea. After all, a rolling stone gathers no moss. But this rock stayed put and gathered a life, right here, about seven miles thataway (I point). Yeah, I’m a fuckin’ L.A. chick.