"The reason they're posting on Craigslist or a public forum is because they don't have a friend circle to ask." - My husband.
"What you are doing is brave. You are very brave." - My therapist.
I only half-believe these statements.
I've reached my two month mark with the CHI > LA move and it's enough that people ask, "Have you been to the beach?" and I have to reluctantly say I haven't yet. I HAVE been hiking. I HAVE been to a taping of a show. I HAVE cycled Silverlake. I have auditioned and made it into Groundlings classes. I HAVE seen outlines of women's labias as they strut down Hollywood Blvd. wearing fashionable napkins.
I have also been trying to find a band out here.
"Los Angeles is a really great city to see music in, EVERYONE comes here...But it's not a band town." - My Los Angeles friend.
So, risks. Risks are what I'm taking. I'm BRAVE, remember? I answered a Craigslist ad that was looking for a female vocalist for a two-piece garage rock band. And I got a response. And throughout our correspondence I only noticed three red flags. And they weren't major. They were hues of red. Shades I could ignore and blame on the insecurity I felt about starting from scratch and meeting new people. "You're Being Paranoid" embroidered on a Venetian red flag, that's more like a dish towel anyway; you're reading too much into this.
And within 24 hours a meeting was established. We were to have a beer and then head to a rehearsal space down the street. He sent me his music. And the next day he sent a few more red flags via text.
Why is he texting?
Why does he think anything is up?
"What time are we meeting?"
I stopped myself from sending a screenshot of our previous texts confirming the time and location we were meeting. Be cool, Lux. People text.
He was coming directly from the airport to meet and play music. And while I admired someone's dedication to the arts and refusal to sleep, I realized, "Oh...he must be young."
I shut my blinds and ignored the passing Color Guard's choreographed red flag routine.
And so we met. He brought his suitcase into the bar.
In small talk, I find out that he's 26. He's surprised at my age and it took him 10 seconds to register the concept of me being married. Couldn't even fathom it. I told him, "Yeah, sometimes people get married."
"So how long have you been in Los Angeles?" I asked him.
"I just got here," he replied.
"Like, you just moved here?"
"Yeah. I'm heading to an Air B&B after this," he said.
A weighty red flag toppled from the bar's mantle onto my head obstructing my vision. It took me a while to escape from underneath it.
There's a point in first meeting someone where you realize it either is, or is not going to work. And while in theory HE DID NOTHING WRONG with taking a risk trying to find a band mate even before he set foot on California soil, he didn't know that my risk needed his risk to be, well, less of a risk.
My risks are still (possibly detrimentally) responsible. I moved to California after both my spouse and I had jobs and there is enough money saved for a financial buffer. I specifically went to therapy for six months to make sure this process would go smoothly emotionally and also wanted to be called "brave" by a stranger.
His risks alienate those (The Royal Those) who only dip their toes into risky waters when they are assured the water is warm and there are no sharks. Just plenty of supportive Chicago people waiting in the water for you.
Say "risk" one more time, Lux.
I paid him for the rehearsal space and let him down as gently as I could. I wasn't willing to blindly lead the blind this time around.
I saluted the red flag and made my exit towards calmer waters.