Saturday, June 15, 2002
When I first heard that Brian and Romy were planning to move back east, my immediate reaction was: "Can I have your apartment? I mean, boy am I going to miss you guys! Can I have your apartment?" Admittedly the apartment market out here is nowhere near as cutthroat as New York and I had no excusefor my selfish and insensitive outburst. It's just that Brian had this great apartment with lots of windows and covered parking and really low rent. I couldn't help myself.
The truth is, I am going to miss Brian and Romy, who, by the way recently got engaged and are about to embark on a cross country move back to New York. Other than my cousins in the Valley, Brian was the first person I knew in LA. He moved out here about a year before I did to work for an ultra-hip architecture firm in Santa Monica. During my first few months in town, he let me use his apartment to write spec scripts while he was at work. That was his old apartment, which wasn't nearly as nice as the new one. But it was in a great neighborhood and I spent a lot of time wandering around there and eventually found a place nearby. I liked the fact that I was in easy walking distance of Bri's place. It made it seem more like home.
I met Brian several years ago when we were both temping at a law firm in New York. I was living in Brooklyn and needed a new roommate and Brian's lease was up, so he moved in. We got along very well and Brian ended up joining the men's group I was in and becoming one of my "brothers." After a few months or so, Brian quit the temp job and started working on his portfolio for architecture school. He wanted to apply to Harvard. He spent all day every day for three or four months drawing, designing, even building furniture -- like the famous "scissor chair" and the cantilevered bookshelf. The work must have paid off because Brian went to Harvard.
I saw Brian off and on while he was at Harvard -- whenever he was in town he'd show up at a men's group meeting and catch us up on his adventures in architecture. When he graduated, he headed off to California where the streets were paved with architecture firms. Brian worked for a firm that seemed to have at least a dozen other Harvard grads. Whenever there would be a party or other social gathering, Brian would invite me along. I think of the first twenty people I met in LA, at least half were Harvard educated architects.
On weekends, Brian and I liked to go hiking. Brian was great at picking out new trails to explore. We invited others along on our adventures and it soon became a regular thing. For a while there we had a group of about fifteen hikers in our gang. We dubbed ourselves "Hike Club."
Meanwhile, Brian's Mom was busy making sure her son would find the right woman to settle down with. She put out the word to her West Coast contacts and set Bri up on a couple of dates. I was amazed. What a deal! I think it was about the second or third of these setups where Brian met Romy. Right from the start I knew that Romy was a keeper. For one thing, she liked hiking and even when Hike Club fizzled out, the three of us continued to hit the trails frequently. Plus, she was generally up for adventure, not one of these high-maintenance chicks, but a real trooper. Smart, beautiful, funny... What's not to like?
Eventually, they moved in together and I knew where that was headed. Bri got laid off at the architect firm, but at about the same time got a gig designing a house for his aunt Viv out on Long Island. Romy hadn't really expected to stay in LA long-term, she's a psychologist and mainly came out here to take a one or two year job as a counselor to troubled kids. So, about six months ago they started making plans to move back east. And that's when I started making plans to take possession of their apartment.
A Lesson for the Kids: We decided to call Brian's landlord and introduce me and tell him that I was interested in renting the apartment. We figured he'd be happy to not have to go through the hassle of finding new tenants. He could even raise the rent a bit and I wouldn't mind. Well, I did talk to him and he wasn't sure how much he was going to raise the rent because he was thinking of doing some remodeling. He said he would get back to me. I waited about a week and called him and he told me that the apartment was promised to someone else. What? But I called first! That's not fair! He didn't care. When I told Brian, he said maybe he should have just sublet the place to me, the rent would have stayed the same and no one would have been the wiser. But no, we had to be honest and legal -- and we got screwed.
Oh well. Looks like I'll be staying in my tiny apartment for a little while longer. This weekend I went out and bought some shelves so that I could move all of the stuff that's piling up on my floor. Saturday night I had dinner with Brian and Romy at a fancy Mexican place in my neighborhood. They're leaving at the end of the week. Things just won't be the same around here. I guess I'll have to go out and make some new friends.
Maybe I should call Brian's Mom...
Happy Pop's Day