Monday, January 7, 2008

Hollywood Week 5: Dear Friends Who Own Stock in IKEA: You’re Welcome

July 5, 2005

“If you have rolls and rolls of old wrapping paper lying around, then why not put them to good use by hanging them up? Choose one with a cool pattern and frame it on its own or add some personal touches by gluing on some photos.” This is the sorry-ass advice when I went surfing for ideas about how to accentuate the bare, 12-foot-high white walls in my new apartment. I like wrapping paper as much as the next gal, but, um, I’m not going to be using it for interior decorating projects in my heart-of-Hollywood home.

What I am going to be doing, however, is financing the college education of IKEA stockholders worldwide, since I just spent my first paycheck trying to purchase enough Swedish particle board to fill the empty cavern I now call home. Three days later, I can barely type because I have calluses up to wrists from churning a teeny tiny Allen wrench in a hundred billion circles. Also, the Swedes forgot to bring my mattress and now they’re pretending I didn’t actually buy one. Turn to page 121 in your IKEA catalogue. See the Klippan sofa? The loveseat size one in unyielding black leather? If you squint, perhaps you can imagine my ass hanging over the edge as I’m curled into an immovable fetal position with my head wedged under my cat for eight excruciating hours. Forget Osama. I’m going after Nils and Lars today, dammit, and I’m getting my mattress.

The main thing that attracted me to this new place is its convenience—I can stash my car in the garage after work and never have to use it again. There’s a movie theater across the street, a music store a block away, and a bar, a coffee shop, a bookstore, and a sushi restaurant on the ground level. On Sundays, there’s a farmers’ market on the street behind my building. That being said, I did take an exploratory drive around Hollywood on Saturday, discovering the nearest Target, Ralph’s and—rejoice with me, o thrifters—Goodwill within a six block radius of home. I stood in line at the Goodwill to purchase an inflatable mattress behind a dreadlocked man who was asking the cashier if they sold crucifixes because he was a vampire slayer and needed new tools.

I’ve mostly avoided other dangers. Although my car was side-swiped by a very nice girl named Alyson, nothing too scary has happened to me. A man in a Paul Klee t-shirt did seem to be following me around the block the other day, but he was about eighty and had only one real leg and was carrying a wrinkled Jack-in-the-Box drink cup from like, February. At the time I was hauling a new alarm clock and a six-pack, so I could have knocked him out had he been able to hobble my direction in a way that seemed even vaguely threatening.

The neighborhood is full of cool stuff to do besides dodge vampire hunters and one-legged stalkers. The world-famous Arclight Cinema is right across the street--home to many movie premiers and also the world's largest geodesic dome. I’ve spent my next paycheck at Amoeba Music (how’s this for schizophrenia? Yesterday I bought Warren Zevon’s Greatest Hits, Kenny Rogers’ Favorites, and The Cure’s Snow.) When I’m not dodging crazy people or spending money on music, I’m at Borders, reading their magazines and doing research for the show.

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