Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hanging Up Hollywood

Last month marked the end of an era for Mr. W and me.

Back in December, Mr. W mentioned to the renter of our Hollywood house that he planned to sell the place in the next couple years and, a day later, she called to tell him she wanted to buy it. 

As soon as escrow started, it was like the last tiny shreds of our youth and coolness slipped away. No more house to flit off to in the Hollywood Hills. No more tales of sitting next to famous people at sushi restaurants or running into stars on the local hiking trails. Even though we've lived somewhere else for two and a half years, it was like a big fat door was closing—and I immediately wanted to slide my fingers along its jam to try to hold it open.

To me, Hollywood has always represented a feeling of being alive.

When I was just out of high school, my friends and I went to an 18 and over club there and bribed the waitress to sell us Jell-O shots—our first booze purchase in the U.S. In my 20s, I spent many a night dancing, drinking, ogling boys, and making hilarious memories around Hollywood's streets. Mr. W has countless tales of his nights out on the Sunset strip, claiming Dublins as his own, hitting on way too many girls, and building a portfolio of inside jokes that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

When we met in our 30s, the memory-making took on a whole other dimension. My trips to Mr. W's house in Hollywood every weekend were like mini vacations. Little escapes to a kind of foreign land where you never knew what you'd see. One night we were out having burgers and beers, and two girls stood on the sidewalk outside our restaurant smoking cigarettes while wearing fake mustaches. I LOVE this about Hollywood. Its weirdness, its diversity, its culture, cuisine, ridiculousness, trend-setting—there is really no place like it.

Our house there was the last connection to that energy and that time in our lives. It was our last connection to being young and in love. To being newlyweds. To learning each other. To spending time with Pete.

It was incredibly strange to pack up the guest house last month, collecting every last bit of evidence that we ever lived there.

It was equally strange to go back to Hollywood last weekend for a bachelorette party. I will say that I don't miss trying to find parking there after midnight, but when I drove down Hollywood Boulevard in the morning, past the famous Mann's Chinese Theater and the Kodak—where they're currently setting up bleachers for the Oscars—I felt that old familiar prickle of excitement. That feeling of being alive that only Hollywood can spark.

Admitting that we're officially done with the place feels like hanging up a precious suit we'll never wear again. Kind of like zipping my wedding dress into its storage bag in the closet. I love that dress. It was the perfect fit for the occasion. But there was a time and a place for it and that has passed.

Our time and place in Hollywood has also passed.

But oh how lucky we were to have it while we did. To be alive there and to be able to recall what that felt like even now while we're miles away.

Thanks for the memories, Tinseltown, and for serving as the spot on the map where it all began for us. We'll miss you.

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