Everyone loves you
An awful collection
Of enemies and friends
Congratulations to you
With sad regrets
I'm tired of the old shit
Let the new shit begin
I guess I am not in New Jersey anymore.
As I write this I am sitting in a room which looks out to the Laurel Canyon Mountains in Los Angeles, California. The room is fill with a few of my favorite toys, Homer and Mr. Burn figures, Bender the robot, my 15" Betty Boop who's always looking away from me. A Batman pez collection, my dancing Snoopy who towards the last few weeks of living in New Jersey would mysteriously start playing the Charlie Brown theme song without anyone activating it.
A couple of times while I was in my bedroom upstairs I would hear it start playing on its own downstairs in the living room. Very strange.
These toys and a few others that weren't packed away into storage are helping me stay sane as I adjust week after week to this new reality. There's no cable or satellite just a radio tuned to 93.1 Jack FM.
The items spread throughout this apartment are the only reminder of the life I had in New Jersey. If I were to say I miss it, I'd be seriously lying. I LOVE IT OUT HERE!
Making this move to Los Angeles was the best thing I could have done with my life at this point in time. I can't thank Conan, Jeff and Tracy enough for asking me to come out here and to continue working as an artist on the Tonight Show.
Getting here wasn't easy though. In fact, moving here was the worst period I've ever had to go through in a while. For one month, day after day, night after night, I packed boxes of all shape and sizes. Well over 300, not counting furniture.
I've lose so much weight from the stress of not eating properly, worrying about whether or not I was making the right decision, could I survive in California, will I have problems with racist cops, hey, I listen to my share of rap by Ice-T and Ice Cube. Will I be able to drive and get around especially on the L.A. freeways. And more importantly where will I be getting my fix of comics and toys now that Midtown Comics and my local Wal-mart weren't here.
And then there are "friends"...
Nothing like a move to help you redefine your "friends". I remember back in late December going into early February before it was final that I was leaving, people I had thought of as friends were telling me how they would be there for me, to help me pack, anything I need, any help at all just call.
It was late or early morning during the last week of February I was sitting on one of my dining room chairs realizing what I had ahead of me and started to panic. Up to that point I had figured packing would take me about a week and a half. I would spend one day packing the living room, next day the kitchen and dining room, another day in my studio, another in my studio, another in my toy room or the View Master room as I called it. And maybe a day and a half in the basement. The remaining time in March would be spent going out to dinner with friends and saying goodbye.
How I was wrong!
Sitting in that chair, a week had gone by, and even though I was spending close to 14 to 18 hours each day packing, only the living room and part of the dining room was done. The Mover came to set a date and when he saw how far I had gotten he even said he didn't think I would make my move date in early April. He was so sure that in the end he sent 8 guys out to move me. Man were they surprised.
Back to my "friends".
I started calling and texting people, the very people who said they'd help, just call, they'd be there. What happened, everyone disappeared. It was like the Twilight Zone. For the month of March not a single phone call or text was return.
2 people did help. Each giving me about a day and a half worth of help which was greatly and deeply appreciated. But otherwise I spent the entire month of March in Jersey packing. waking up early in the morning, body sore, hands totally dry and peeling and barely stopping to eat. Then going to bed early in the moring. Basically getting about 3 to 4 hours of sleep per night. I thought of Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments, walking through the desert... alone.
During that period there was a lot of paranoia and anger. The paranoia was worrying about if this was the right thing to do, etc. The anger was more toward myself then toward anyone. I always pride myself on my ability to take care of my business myself. I rarely asked for help for anything. But here I was finally in a situation in which I really needed outside help and support. Everyone who called themselves a "friend" were no where to be found. How could I have known so many people but yet know nobody.
In the end though I manage to pull it off. I packed a 3 bedroom house, plus basement and garage alone, right up to the morning of the move on April 5th when the last box was taped close at 7am, 2 hours before the movers arrived. They were shocked to find everything ready to go since they were told it was going to be an all day move.
I was able to meet with a small group of people for dinner before I left. That was nice. A week later, Easter sunday, I moved into this apartment.
I'm happy now.
Now that I am here a lot of things in my life I get to do over. The most obvious are some of the people who refer to themselves as "friends". Am not angry any more. I think if anything they made leaving New York a lot easier for me since they weren't around in the end.
Now I can start to concentrate on my personal artwork more. For the last few years I've been in a rut creatively. I was so busy trying to make people and relationships happy that I neglected my own needs. Not anymore.
I recently read a comment where this person mentioned the luxury of waking up without an alarm clock. The last few weeks I've had just that. Since I am no longer using 4 hours a day commuting. I spend them sleeping.
There are a few people and places I will miss and I am missing now. My family. Granted I didn't see my mother every weekend but knowing she was a train ride and a couple of hours away was comforting.
Corine K. who drove close to 3 hours often to visit me in Jersey and in the end one of the people who helped me pack while dealing with a very sick family member who was in the hospital. I can't thank her enough. (Also, if she's reading this, I have your coat, you're going to have to come to L.A. to get it. I don't do Fed-Ex, see you soon!).
But the biggest withdrawal I am having right now is not having Amanda around. For almost a year now I've been in a really happy, calm place. A few people even noticed. I credit it all to Amanda. She's a topic for a blog unto its self. I think she, without knowing, fixed a lot of things that were wrong with me. And just overall made me a happier person. People ask why I haven't done a Recliner Of Rage in such a long time, I say blame her. Since I've known her I rarely have anything to really write about. Somehow everything gets resolved. I don't know where she fits in my life going into the future now that I live here in L.A. but I can say without a doubt that she has been great for my mental health.
Am sure she'll read this and say, "Oh Lord. Pierre you're crazy!" Yeah am crazy, crazy about you.
There are a lot of good, creative people out here. Future potential for new friends is very high. But I think I will walk that path cautiously this time.
Recently I met someone who has already inspired and has started to give me a kick in the butt to get my artwork started again. In return I am trying to do the same for her. We made an agreement that by years end we will have updated websites and substantial body of creative works to show. This kind of energy was missing and what I needed in New York.
I could have sworn Betty Boop just smiled and looked at me but now she's looking up and away again. I guess she's agreeing with me.
I miss the Strands book store too. Where do you go to find old, new and strange art books all in one place.
Not far from me is this place called Universal Citywalk. Lots of fun. It's like a walking mall next to Universal's amusement park. It has a few great stores in there. Among them, Magnet Max, Sparky's and Things From Another World. So far it's the best place I've found for comics and toys though the store is on the small side.
I've yet to find anything like Midtown Comics or Jim Hanley's Universe in New York. Where are the good, no, GREAT places for comics and toys out here.
All these interesting stores are kind of grouped together but at the other end of the mall was a store called Wound and Wound Toy Co. They sold all kind of wind up toys. I loved the place. I knew if I moved out here, it was going to be a place I'd visit often. I even took pictures inside the store.
Last week after work I went to Citywalk for sushi and afterwards headed to Wound and Wound. It was closed, gone, out of business. In its place a flip flop store will be opening. I guess this can be added to the list of sad regrets.
I hear my drafting table calling out to me and on that note I'll stop here. It's time to start creating art. Besides I am not going to let my new friend beat me in starting the artistic presentations.
I LOVE L.A.!