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Arriving in L.A. and Departing from Reality – Jake Marrus

I spent a day with a friend who’d lived in this dream for a few years now. He’s technically in the biz, and I bought hook, line, and sinker the notion that everybody there does know somebody who’s somebody. At a minimum, everybody has an acquaintance who self-identifies as somebody. Plus, I’m a traveler open-minded enough to take them at their word.

I tried in response to regale him with stories of my road trip:

I had sped down an arrow-straight Mojave desert road towards the lowest point on earth. A road sign with unexpected texture indicated 27 miles to Death Valley Junction. In my rearview, I saw its braille-like pimples were bullet impacts, not an ironically placed visual aid.

20 minutes after, I had eaten a breakfast sandwich in the café in town. Town had this cafe, an opera house, and more zines than residents. I ate the sandwich because the girl at the hotel recommended I visit her friend, the guy at the cafe. She showed up seven minutes into my meal, too. It was surreal, an oasis that felt like a mirage.

He chuckled when I told him all my driving had inspired me to save up to rent a billboard on a congested highway. It would read “YOU’RE AD HERE.”

My pal’s buddies would see this legacy of mine as they drive around town peddling their fantasies. Netflix, he is often told, has expressed interest. One guy was blackballed from some studio, but has a big in at another. The two of us tooled around all day discussing this. I marveled at how close he was to the action and what could happen, but he wanted as much to talk about old times and what did happen.

That evening, we went to the movies. I had suggested we go to one of the fancy theaters in Hollywood, but he told me they overcharged for tickets, and the seats don’t recline. In a mall movie theater that could have been anywhere in the country, we saw a movie that could only take place in New York. Returning to earth with a jolt after, I forgot what car I rented and where I parked it.

Twists and turns down an empty Sunset Boulevard felt like a movie scene, and I decided I would be unsurprised to learn that he did make it big. I mused that our seemingly location-agnostic day felt like everything I could have hoped for out of LA. Here, a separation from reality became a connection to possibility.

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