Published Thursday, 31-Aug-2006 in issue 975
I am not a fan of moving, and since I am keeping my house in San Diego, I decided to make my move to L.A. during the course of several weekends. Working in L.A. during the week and living in San Diego on the weekends has me with one foot in each city, and I’ve begun to realize that this move is more than a new job; it is a chance to jump-start my life because everything will be new to me again. It was an exciting realization and it made me think, is there something more out there?
With my move just around the corner, Jeremy, a guy I met two months prior when he read my palm at a cocktail table, asked me if I would like to go to dinner with him. Jeremy was planning to move from S.D. as well, so that was something we had in common. Another thing we had in common was a taste for adventure, so we decided to try going someplace we had never been before, Lei Lounge. You know it’s been a hectic summer when it takes me three months to get around to trying a new restaurant.
The dumplings were fabulous, and my Green Tea Martini was going down way too easy as we talked our way through a delightful dinner date.
Over dessert, Jeremy admitted to me that it was just his luck he would meet someone in San Diego he actually wanted to date right before his big move.
I admitted that I was probably going to end up in the same boat, and added that my friend Alex, knowing my track record with long-distance relationships, told me, “You must have met someone who lives in this town that you want to date and this is the only way you can make it a long-distance relationship.”
There was lots of exploring to do in L.A., and I was definitely up for the challenge. Also helping with the transition was reuniting with my high school buddy Calvin, the other gay guy from my graduating class.
In San Diego, it’s Sunday’s at Hamburger Mary’s. In L.A., it’s Sunday night cocktails at Here, where all the guys in West Hollywood hang out. In between drinks and flirting with a hot blond boy named Johnny, I explained my new job doing PR for Channel 1 Releasing.
“Oh my God,” Calvin exclaimed. “You are going to get invited to all the best parties. You’re going to take me to all of them, right?”
During one of my weekend trips back to San Diego, I met my friend Alex and my infamous friend “Austin” at Amarin Thai. Because of his former exploits in alleys near Bourbon Street after drinking pint-sized dirty martinis, his name has been changed here to protect the not so innocent.
I didn’t realize how spicy my “level 3 spice” chicken pad thai was going to be, nor did I realize how hot the conversation was going to get.
“I’ve gone back to my old ways,” Austin said, taking a sip of his water.
“Pint-tinis?” I offered.
“Oh, really,” Alex said, leaning in closer.
“No,” Austin began, “I went back to my old apartment to pick up some things I had left there and ended up hooking up with my old neighbor. We used to put on shows for each other when his bedroom window faced mine!”
Not being in San Diego during the week has dramatically impacted my eating routine. Specifically, it’s been more than a month since I’ve gotten my Monday night special at Baja Betty’s. Of course, I rounded Alex up to join me for a meal, and as we were headed out our friends Tyler, Joe, Dylan and Luke showed up.
Tyler reminded me that the Spin Cycle Rinse foam party was going to be at Rich’s this weekend, and if it was anything like last time there would be a super-hot crowd wearing skimpy little swimsuits. On the subject of super-hot, Dylan introduced me to his friend Chase, who was in town visiting from Los Angeles.
As we were walking down University Avenue after leaving Betty’s, I turned to Alex and said, “Chase is hot.”
“Travis, you think everyone is hot,” Alex proclaimed.
“I don’t find you hot,” I shot back.
“Why not?” Alex asked. “I’m cute, I’m funny, I’m a bot… oh, that’s right.”
Before I headed north to L.A., I made one last stop, literally, by Six Degrees. The lesbian bar that had previously been known as Club Bombay sold earlier this year and would be closing its doors this week. One of my favorite performers in town, the lovely, vivacious and often bawdy Laura Jane, was hosting her farewell night of karaoke. Not surprisingly, the bar was packed and cheers did abound as Laura Jane announced she would continue to do karaoke on Tuesday nights at Riley’s in Point Loma.
Of course, the entire gang from Martinis Above Fourth, where Laura Jane performs on Saturday nights, showed up to cheer her on and even sing a few songs.
While we were there, Alex and our bartender, Steve, began discussing their bold and exciting new plans for a big Labor Day Sunday night spectacular at Martinis Above Fourth, a “Project Runway”-style swimsuit competition (details can be found at www.martinisabovefourth.com). I immediately wanted to play the part of Tim Gunn, and pointed out to Alex that he would make a fabulous Nina Garcia.
“You can’t be Tim,” Alex explained. “He doesn’t take part in the runway competition.”
“Then what can I do?” I asked, wanting to be a part of the fun.
“You can be one of the models,” Alex sighed.
“Why would you want me to be one of the models?” I said, fearing the worst.
“Because, you have the body for it,” Alex said, giving me his monthly quota of August compliments.
So after my outing to Six Degrees, I had to get on the road so I could get home at a decent hour to write this column. Things went astray somewhere near Carlsbad when traffic literally came to a standstill. After spending more than an hour to make it as far as Vista, I got on the phone to my friend Jason for some much-needed advice. It was already 11:00 p.m. and by this time I should have been home in my bed and on my laptop writing.
“How was the drive?” Jason queried.
“I am in Vista still. What the hell is going on with the 5?” I exclaimed.
“Oh, dear,” Jason said as he pulled up the Caltrans Web site to inform me that I-5 was completely shut down. He couldn’t figure out what the detour was.
This prompted me to exit the freeway and take the always scenic drive through Oceanside, where I discovered that I wasn’t the only one with this bright idea. All it did was get me to the painfully slow detour through Camp Pendleton, where I found myself behind a black Ford F150 with a big USMC sticker on the back window.
As I contemplated how miserable my night had turned out to be, I watched as the passenger in the F150 leaned out the window and puked his guts out. Then I realized there were people who were much worse off than I was at the moment.
Sometimes we get wrapped up in our comfort zone. For me, that comfort zone has been living in San Diego for the last 13 years. For others, it’s a regular gig at a bar or a cheap meal with friends.
Trying something new, like a runway show, a foam party or taking a detour you hadn’t planned on, can lead to good times. With my move, I have come to realize that change is not only inevitable, it can also be a good thing. It challenges you to grow and can give you a fresh start. If my first week in L.A. is any indication, that could mean good times are ahead.