Monday, October 29, 2007

money town

This picture was taken a couple of years ago, when living in L.A. was a faraway dream.

This bottle of water was in my hotel room and I was in shock over the price of the damn water. $5.50? For water? You mean the clear, tasteless stuff that comes out of taps for free?

I hate to think what that same bottle of water costs now. $7? 10?

Complaining about the cost of living in L.A. is like complaining about the tornado season in Oklahoma. Everyone hates it but if you bitch too much about it, you're at risk for becoming boring. If you can't stand it anymore, accept it or move away. It's as simple as that.

But wait, this is a blog and the purpose IS to bitch AND to whine and probably be boring in the process so let me get my ya-yas out and tell you what it's like to be gouged on a daily basis.

A friend and I recently dined at an Italian restaurant at the Hollywood and Highland complex for LUNCH. It was a Saturday and for some reason, they told us that they don't serve (cheap?) sandwiches on the weekend so we opted for one of the specials. In my mind, a special means something that is CHEAPER than what you would expect; you know, blue plate special and the like. But in this case, there were no prices next to the specials and I told my friend that in L.A., if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. We decided to order the fish SPECIAL anyway (price be damned). The food was alright. Halibut and Snapper in a red sauce. Potatoes. Nothing I would recommend. The bill came and for ONE meal, it was nearly $30 freakin' dollars. For lunch. For just the meal, not the drinks or the tip. The waiters and waitresses weren't even that hot, which can sometimes be a bonus in an L.A. eatery. Fuck them and their overpriced Italian crap restaurant. If I could remember the name of the place, I would tell you. Warn you. I hate to think what a dinner would cost.

It doesn't end there. I recently paid $80 for a t-shirt and $150 for a pair of jeans. I suppose this is where the sympathy for me ends, right? No one forced me to buy these things and the price tag was there in all its stinging glory. The fact is, though, that these items are available for these outrageous prices. Furthermore, I am VERY sure that there are more expensive t-shirts and jeans out there if you are willing to shop at the stores to the stars. I remember when I thought that $35 was a lot to pay for jeans, but I was willing to do it because I would buy a pair every three or four years. Now, in L.A., I have more jeans than I care to admit. This is not a choice. Good jeans and t-shirts are like formal wear here and EVERYONE wears them. It's a requirement. I figure I could spend a couple hundred dollars on a nice suit elsewhere so the cost of the dressed-down L.A. jeans/t-shirt uniform doesn't seem so bad.

You would think the cost of seeing a movie would be low here but it's like going to Napa and expecting to find cheap wine; sure, you can find it but you're probably not going to be happy with the outcome. Since my favorite movie theaters recently closed down to be converted to the Arclight theaters (which charges $15 a seat), I have gone to the theaters at Universal Studios. A ticket goes for $11.50 but you have to add in $10 for parking (but they give you a rebate for $5) so the grand total is $16.50 to view a screening. That's a lot of moolah. It's no wonder people wait for the DVD and put it on their netflix queue. I recently saw Thirty Days of Night and wished I had done just that.

Other tickets are just as expensive. A recent trip to Disneyland set me back $66 and $10 for parking. That was JUST Disneyland and not the California Adventure. For $76 (which didn't include a dried out turkey sandwich for $8), I should have gotten a bathroom blow job by Cinderella herself. I have to admit the fireworks at the end of the night were pretty cool and they must pay all those happy people something for their time. And Disney had to buy back Pixar so I guess I see their point.

Should I stop complaining? Wait, I have one more thing. My rent. $1400 for a dark apartment in Studio City. Two bedroom so I guess it ain't that bad. But c'mon, my mortgage payment for my house in Las Vegas is $650. My bright, airy, tiled house with a backyard that I left last year costs me less than seven hundred dollars. $1400 could buy a lot of, I don't know, stuff. (How much is that iPhone again?) It's really difficult to write out that check each month.

And yet I stay here. Haha. They say it's only money. Easy come, easy go. Money is the root of all evil. Money can't buy happiness.


I guess I'm not desitute yet, so now is my time to shut the hell up.

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