The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Dear Los Angeles...

March 9, 2008

Dear Los Angeles...

Has it been six months since we've been with each other? Already? Really?

Would you allow me just one cliche? It seemed like just yesterday that I came to you, slightly bedraggled from a four-hour flight and you wrapped your warmness around me, charming me with your sunny weather. For a girl from the perpetually wintry Chicago, you were Prince Charming.

Yes, dear LA, we are officially in the throes of a relationship. We're definitely past the honeymoon stage -- those first three months where everything is shiny and new, where I laugh at all your jokes, where your quirks are endearing.

And yet, we're not quite at the familiar stage. I still long to impress you, carefully selecting my outfits, putting on makeup and worrying that my beat-up old station wagon will make you think less of me. But I suppose that's not uncommon in a relationship. You always start with your best foot forward. And I must admit, you've done the same for me.

I'm impressed with your repertoire of friends. The people you know! How, for instance, did you meet Plastic Cowboy Hat Man? He's a hoot, always showing up around my dumpster, offering to help me carry things up the stairs or move boxes out of my way. And Old Man Peeing Into A Bush? Did you tell him to do that for me? Priceless. You know who else I love? Girl With Small Dog Inside Small Purse. How does she always know where to find me? She's so open too -- always eager to share her cell phone conversations with those around her. But I think my personal favorite among all of your friends is Guy With Too Big Motor Vehicle. Just watching tiptoe to look into his own passenger seat window makes me smile.

You always know where the best restaurants are. You don't judge my never ending desire for fine ethnic food and designer coffee. In fact, you encourage it by showering me with Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Cuban, Caribbean and Greek restaurants on my street. And Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with its sugar-free mocha and vanilla ice-blendeds? You're too good to me.

You spoil me with a Trader Joe's on every corner. How would I be able to make my food budget stretch so far if not for its $0.99 pasta sauces, $1.20 frozen veggies and affordable gourmet cheeses? And the array of wines. Who knew a $6.00 bottle of wine could be so good? My Friday nights have never been the same since.

By the way, those long walks on the beach and watching the sun set? Those orange and pink skies at twilight? The roar of the ocean against the distant cry of seagulls? Gotta hand it to you-- pretty smooth. You know what a girl likes and you sure know how to deliver.

Am I gushing? I'm gushing aren't I? Gosh, this is embarrassing. I never thought I'd be one of those girls -- all starry-eyed and giggly just because she's in some new relationship. Like that's gonna last.

But honest-to-goodness truth? Because we're working towards a lasting relationship and all? I've seen the red-flags. I know I should always have an open mind, but there are things about you that bother me.

That unpredictable traffic situation of yours? Not attractive. I mean, traffic happens everyday, don't you think you'd be in better control of it after all this time? And why all the craziness when it rains? You gotta work on adapting to change, my dear.

And those friends of yours, the ones who are so fun to be around? Not so good with the showing up. Or keeping commitments. Or saying yes to things that involve them being at a designated place at a designated time. You know, the friends you choose say a lot about who you are. The fact that your friends are sort of flaky -- worrying.

Also, your exes have been telling on you. Granted, when relationships sour you have to take these stories with a grain of salt. But all your exes have been telling me that you're little superficial. And worse, that you're often unreliable. Sometimes you say you're going to do something and then don't. One of your exes even told me you made promises you never intended to keep. I don't know what happened between you and her, but suffice to say, she is not happy with you.

I guess what concerns me the most is where this relationship is really going. I mean, the funny friends, restaurants and fine wine are great and all. But at some point, there's got to be something more, you know? We've got to be able to grow together, to learn from one another and see each other for who we really are, good and not-so-good.

But I'm not going to dash ahead of myself here. I've never been one of those girls who decides that if there's no proposal after the third date, she's outta there. I'm not a believer in love at first sight. I like taking it slow. I love the process of getting to know you better, being surprised by the unexpected. After all, if I immediately knew you were The One, what fun would that be?

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