The Atrocious Toxic Real Housewives of Sherman Oaks
There’s very little I actually like about living in Los Angeles.
This is a sprawling city of concrete puke. Only the most delusional mental prepubescents drunk on Bukowski and Elmore Leonard pulp can find charm in its oily desperation.
And yet, I’ve lived here ten years.
My escape hatch to New York City, in the form of a rent-stabilized East Village Apartment, helped me weather the mental asspunch of living in this city on a daily basis. Three to four trips back to NYC a year, and my mental health jerky dance was equalized like a de-fizzed fizzy pop.
A de-carbonated carbonation. The root beer was flat and all was again copacetic in the city of Angels. So long as I could make it back for Corner Bistro and east village alcoholism every few months.
But then, last month, I gave up the gig. Said goodbye to Broadway. Took a buyout from my angry Japanese landlord. Took the cash and ran.
It was time.
I was, in the proverbial words of the great Riggs, or perhaps it was Murtaugh, too old for this proverbial shit.
I loved NYC. Been there since I was eighteen. But it was time to pack my bags and head for the coast.
So I am now 100% enveloped in the residual ripples of Hollywood’s flip side. A verbal pukareia of Sons of Shane Black.
To top off the halting of my sanity pipeline, I also left the increasingly hipster-scarf smelling Los Feliz for the large houses of Sherman Oaks. A rest stop in the valley where coyotes go to poo.
Why? Well I had some MTV money to spend, so I bought me a house.
And Sherman Oaks seemed as good a place as any in the city of eternal sunshine to, as Woody said, ripen and rot like a dead shark.
I bought a tract of land, as they say in Uttar Pradesh.
I settled my jubblies down.
On a swatch of a hill near another swatch, down the road from some trees. Maybe a park. Lots of dogs being walked. Poo being picked up by the servant class. And I am 3000 miles away from my favorite city in the world.
So here I is.
The ghosts of orange groves shimmer in the heat mist, replaced by concrete pillars. Overpriced supermarkets. Pet hospitals. Massage parlors.
The dying palm trees dropping cracked, dead palm husks onto the road like so many lifeless carcasses and shuttered pie-holes of once promising wiseasses trolling through the Groundlings and Upright Citizen’s Brigade with dreams of becoming the next Jeff Foxworthy.
But there can be no next Jeff Foxworthy.
For the palm trees are dying.
Hark! What’s that I see on the street?
There they be squat. And there they be awful.
Sitting at Sweet Butter’s garishly faux-humble oak tables under misty spray guns watering their vanity with the suckling of a hungry pleco fish.
The Atrocious, Toxic, Real Housewives of Sherman Oaks.
White BMWs paid for by midlevel exec Hollywood husband lubetwats.
Perky bras and inane banter.
Like bedazzled wildebeests trawling the African Serengheti, they sip lattes and screech.
They dawdle and the tawdle in their twatty twittery faux McMansion fantasies.
Generic homes of pretend riches and showy elitist aspiration.
Plus a swimming pool.
Everybody’s a dreamer. And everybody’s a star. But the toxic housewives of Sherman Oaks are just a pile of shitebucket.
I look closer. Their skin peels with the markers of time and bitterness repressed.
They are the unholy signposts of culture-chewing vacuous rich, white narcissism. But they also remind me of my own fall from New York grace.
Where once I knew myself in the land of pastrami sandwiches and seasons and Broadway, now I find myself drifting down Ventura like a lost verse in that Tom Petty song.
I dream of pastrami.
I idealize my New York days into pure fantasy.
I know that I do it. But I can’t help it. Such is the curse of youthful burn. As it fades from memory, it reinvents itself as fantasy.
Devoid of handlebars to guide my journey.
Grasping for authentic straws of certainty in the destabilized collective unconscious that is the eternal sunshine of the spotless hive mind.
But I can’t say anything.
I just have to walk on by as they sip their lattes and push their baby strollers and complain about how their Mexican gardeners don’t know the proper method to trim a spotted rosebush.
I free fall. Out into nothin’.
So I conceptually spit in their general direction.
And walk onward into the hazy sunshine.