I got into LAX last Tuesday afternoon, half-crazy from lack of sleep and wondering what the hell I was doing here. It was like walking into another world. too degrees out and all these beautiful blond tan people (specimens!) staring into outer space, walking around me and toward their cars. I felt so pale-kind of like what it would feel being the only blond girl in Egypt or something. And I got this awful feeling that all of them were looking at me: no tan, not blond, not beautiful, let’s ignore her! All I did those first few days was chainsmoke Export A’s and took at the pavement and wish I was back at Camden. I’m not sure how one fits in here. Get a tan? Dye my hair blond? I know it sounds paranoid but I really feel this hostility toward me. I’m getting used to it but still.
My grandparents were overjoyed when they saw me. They aren’t very emotional people but I’ve always been their favorite granddaughter and they were positively bubbling over with excitement. On the way back to their house my grandfather, who looked so tan and healthy it was positively eerie, patted my hand and said, “From now on we’re going to take care of you—you won’t lack for anything,” and he didn’t seem to be joking.
This last week I spent doing mostly touristy stuff and going to parties and trying to catch up on my sleep. We spent a day at Disneyland, which was a real trip. I’ve seen pictures of the place but let me tell you, Sean, seeing this place in reality was altogether something else. My grandfather’s assistant took something like twenty roles of pictures: me standing with Mickey Mouse (feeling utterly foolish), me in front of the Matterhorn, me staring pensively at Space Mountain, some pervert dressed up as Pluto coming on to me (disgusting), me with the Haunted Mansion in the background, etc. etc. etc. I got lost at Disneyland, which was most embarrassing. The place is a little smaller than I anticipated but it’s wonderful looking. We also went to four wax museums and then went driving up and down Sunset Boulevard (L.A. by night is so pretty). Actually the nightlife is pretty hot. On Friday night I went out with this couple, Mr. and Mrs. Fang (she’s an executive at Universal and he’s a record producer) to some exclusive club and danced and got drunk and had great fun. And I had thought I wouldn’t have much of a social life! This couple and I became great friends and he promised to introduce me to his sister who is about my age and at Pepperdine next time I’m down in Malibu with them and all their friends. They’re even going to give me the key to their (well, actually his) penthouse in Century City so that whenever I want to get away from my grandparents I can go and stay there. They also want me to go with them next time they go to the Springs (which is what everyone calls Palm Springs).
The city is so quiet though. Especially compared to New York. And everything seems so clean and to move so much more slowly in a very relaxed way. But yet I don’t feel too safe here yet. I feel vulnerable-like I’m in this big open environment. But my grandparents assure me that it’s pretty safe and they live in supposedly the best part of Bet Air so I don’t need to worry. just the same I’m so used to my padded little Manhattan-Camden existence that being here seems like a real shock. I look at all these people roaming around: the beautiful, healthy, tan men and the elegant women and everyone drives a Mercedes and it’s just so hard to describe it.
All in all I feel happier and more free than I have in a long, long time. And I am so glad that I came. I think it’s an incredibly healthy move. I think it’s a good thing that I took a term off and came out here.
“I’m just a million miles away,” the Plimsouls are singing on KROQ and I have to think that songs sometimes are uncannily appropriate. I really am so far away from everything. But it’s a good feeling. I’m going to be out here until February, which means I’ll be back at school in March. I’m going to be helping my grandfather at the studio a lot and reading scripts and stuff like that (I’m pretty excited) and I guess I’ll be going down to Malibu and hanging around Palm Springs (I’m glad that there are a couple of places I can get away to if I ever tire of L.A. which I can’t possibly imagine). Well, I’ll hope you write me back. I really would love to hear from you. I’d appreciate it a lot.
Sept 9 1983
Hello! I thought of you at Camden today. Hanging out at the Café, chain-smoking, getting your classes together. Is it going all right for you there or is “grace under pressure” still an apt phrase? I worry about you which is pretty silly of me but then again I worry about a lot of things so it’s not necessarily out of context. So-how are you? How is it back at school? Who are you hanging out with? What classes are you taking? Have you been forced to wear your Wayfarers a lot? (God knows, I have!) Has anything changed? Are you okay? As you can tell, I’m full of questions, Sean. I really, really hope you write me. I’m dreadfully sorry if my little infatuation bothered you. I get so caught up in things that I simply lose all perspective. But even before I got all infatuated with you I was still fond of you, and I would hate to lose your friendship because of … whatever. I know we really don’t know each other that well and because of how busy we were at Camden we couldn’t talk a whole lot. I still hope you and I can become better acquainted (sp?). What I guess I mean is that there are things I want to know about you. I don’t know. I wish you’d write.