On the Road

February 17th, 2002

Hello angels, I know this is supposed to be a blog about little stupid things, but I recieved a really beautiful email this morning from a friend back home that I would like to share here. Laura has been trying to make it to L.A. for the past three years. Last year, she rebuilt her old VW bug’s engine and set off across the country. She lived in her car, ate in her car (when she had food), and spent many days crying when her car would break down and she’d have to spend the $500 she didn’t have. This year, she drove her bug to LA, in hopes of the obtaining her impossible dream - breaking into acting. Her story is bittersweet.

Laura’s Story
“So as I think most of you know I went home for christmas and had a great time with my ma. I had my birthday on the 4th and then headed for LA to make it big. Well when I got into town I called my old time bud from high school. She had told me to just call her when I got into town. I had been four days on the road and was pretty ripe. Her roommates told me to come over and shower. It was greatly needed. She’s down in LA living in the huntington beach area working two jobs and just living right now. But she went to school for acting too.

So anyway I get there and she takes me out on the town the first night and its fun and all, but really a drink doesn’t taste any better when a guy flips a bottle ov! er his head then when he just pours the damn thing. I guess I’m just not taken in by all that glittzy stuff. So I’m trying to get ahold of my other friends in town as not to impose on her too long, but I can’t get ahold of anyone. She complains that she has no money, but the second night when her roommate wants to go out on the town, she’s all gung-ho to go. $7.50 for a drink seems ridiculous to me. She gets a couple. I can tell I’m not wanted in her new world that she has created for herself. The morning of the third I’m calling around like crazy trying to find a place to go but I can’t get ahold of anyone. She’s hardly speaking to me, and haven’t asked her for anything. She didn’t have to spend money on me in any way, I bought my own meals, so it can’t be that.

I’ll tell you its a sad day when one of your best friends isn’t there for you in a time of need.

So ask her whats wrong and she blows up at me about being there so I quickly pack the car and leave. So now I’m sitting! at a walmart in Valencia, which is north of LA waiting to hear from my friend casey. I left a terrible, bawling message on his answering machine. Luckily, he and his girlfriend have hearts of gold and they came and rescued me. Casey’s girlfriend Carri, said that I could split the rent with her and her roommate, and stay at their apartment till I found a place. An angel.

So I start apartment hunting but I soon find that unless you are increadibly wealthy, its impossible to find a place. We’re talking $650 for a studio. Three weeks I tried to find a place. If it hadn’t have been for my hikes in a nearby parks, Trader Joes,Casey, Carri, Jon(Casey’s roommate), and my alaskan friend Stacy, I would have lost it. I mean seriously lost it. Every time I called [my boyfriend, Michael] I’d cry. I was miserable.

And the whole acting thing seemed like a crock too. 300 dollars for headshots, 200 for prints, 400 for acting classes, 40 bucks a pop for casting workshops, which is basically where you pay to be seen by a casting director. It’s like someone thought, “how can I suck the most money out of dreamer?” So they created LA.

And LA doesn’t have much culture either from what I saw. Even their farmers market seemed more like a place to be seen and buy crappy trinkets, than a place to buy fresh produce from local farmers. Lets just say the place oozed fake. well finally I found a place with three other people for $515 a month. Heck I talked her down to that. I was supposed to move in Super Bowl Sunday, so Friday I started to look for jobs in the area, only to find nobody was hiring. If I could just get a full time job, I’d be able to cover rent, food and maybe in a month or two afford headshots. Let me tell you things were looking up.

The LA experience finally reached a head at Casey’s while I was reading an article in Backstage West about pilot season that was going on right then, but how one would never know it. Yep it was the busy season, but no one was busy. I went home to try and cook some dinner but ended crumpled up on the floor crying and ! it finally hit me- I didn’t want to be there.

So that was it.

I’d had it with the town. I missed michael, pennsylvania, theatre, culture, the east coast. I didn’t know if I could make it six more days there let alone six months, or five years. I didn’t need it. One doesn’t have to sit there forever waiting for the Cheetos commercial. I could go back to Pennsylvania, go to Philadelphia, they had alot of theatre there. And for the first time in a month, I was excited and happy as if a great weight had been lifted.

So I enjoyed my last week in LA. I went on some nice hikes and even saw a movie. I headed out Saturday morning and life was great. I love traveling, lots of time to think. The weather was great and even got to see those big cactuses that look like a guy with his arms up. I made it to El Paso that night and the only thing that had happened that day was that my #4 spark plug had flown out, but I found more in the next town. The next morning I headed for New Orleans, I figured I could make it there for Mardi Gras. I made it to Junction Texas before Bachus, my bug, took his last gasps of air in this world. First white smoke started coming out and then the oil light came on, and then the car slowed, so I stopped, called AAA and waited for a tow. I cried because I knew this was really it. The car had died.

The oil light is like the kiss of death. So a guy named Jonny showed up with his wife and kids, but AAA had given him the wrong code. He thought I needed road side asisstance, and I knew I needed a tow. Night was coming on fast and the thought of waiting another hour and a half in the dark for him to go back and get the wrecker didn’t sound like fun. He had a tow rope so he towed me an hour in the dark to his house since I didn’t have anywhere else to go.

Talk about a nerve wracking ride.

Well the family was very nice to me, they had two little kids and had just gotten a new puppy. The next day while Jonny was at work, I tried to figure out what the heck I was going to do with the car. It was too expensive to take to anyone to fix, and renting a car to tow it was too much. Sofia, that was the lady’s name, was glad to have me there since she had only been there for two weeks herself.

It slowly came out that she and Jonny weren’t married. In fact, Jonny had just separted from his wife two weeks ago, and since he didn’t know how to cook or clean, Sofia had come with her two children to live with him. She had broken down in Junction two weeks ago and that’s how she had met him. Oh yeah, she was married too, but had a restraining order on him since he used to beat her and the kids. Just your normal family.

They told me I could stay as long as I wanted, stay a month even and fix the car down there. well my answer came that night when Jonny’s old wife showed up while he was out on a call. She and her ENORMOUS friend came in and started punching sofia on the head.

Sophia screamed to me to call 911, which I started to do.

Soon the big friend came after me, trying to get the phone away . She grabbed my hair and started punching me on the floor - don’t worry, I punched her back. I got away from her and locked myself in the bathroom, but realized as the operator asked me where I was, that I really didn’t have any idea. I left the bathroom trying to find a window to look out of to see a street sign. I tried to get out the front door but the screen was locked. Sofia had run out the back and so the both came after me and wrestled the phone away from me.

You know the thing I was most upset about was that when they were trying to get the phone away I was screaming and the big one kept saying “you’re on crack aren’t you, your high.” And as you all know I never have, and never will do drugs. How dare she assume! Well, they left and I went looking for sofia. She and the kids were next door. She had been punched in the back of the head aboput four times and then had her head slammed on the counter. they had punched her little boy too.

So that’s when the little voice inside said ” Laura for Christ sakes get the hell out of here!”.

… It was two days to Pennsylvania and the only weird person I met was on Valentines night. This guy was headed for Illinois to turn him self in, and showed me pictures of his very large girlfriend in red lingerie and pictures of himself without a shirt holding knives.
I mean what do you say when someone showes you a picture like that - “nice chest hair? Gee, you look high.”

But I am now safe, back on the Snyder farm. I tell you what I started to cry when we came into Pittburgh. I don’t know where I’m going, but I don’t really care. I’m glad to be alive, to be back in a place I love, and the rest doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. Fame, acting, I piss on it all right now. It’ll come when its supposed to, and whats the point of it if I’m some where were I’m miserable? …”

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