I had never heard of June Gloom until I moved to California. It never made the brochures. But within days, I was living in it. Both physically and emotionally.
I cut off my exorbitant Canadian cell phone STAT. (On a side note, I just Googled old cell phones and couldn’t even find the one I had. That’s how tacky it was. No one ever took a photo of it.) So when it came time to bite the bullet, and call my parents, there was no denying it. I was in the 714.
My parents were shockingly supportive, probably cuz it would give them a reason for an impromptu trip to visit. (Which by the way, nobody does when you live in Ottawa.) My mom was quick to say,
“AWWWWWWWW, YOU’VE GOT A CALIFORNIA BEAU!”
Ya mom. I’ve got beaus… in different area codes.
(You know that went in my act.)
I’ve never been a fan of discussing my love life with my parents. Too awkward. If you tell family about your relationship, you’ll also have to tell them about the break-up. And what if it jinxes things? A fear of commitment was already starting to lace my personality and it was only 2002. (I still refuse to get a tattoo to this day. I know a week later I’ll want it off.)
We had lunch with his dad, who was in town from Utah. He seemed pretty conservative. My bf had mentioned something about Mormons but I literally knew nothing about that. We only got a few American channels in the city I grew up in, and every time a commercial came on that mentioned “The Church of Latter Day Saints” I got up and went to the bathroom. Pre-Google, you could pretty much roam the whole planet knowing jack shit.
But we had gunned it for parental approval when we hadn’t even figured each other out.
I thought it would be a funny gag to pull the toupee out of my hair brush and put it in my underwear the first time we slept together, but I refrained. I’ve never been one for physical comedy, but for him to believe I had a huge bush even for just ten seconds would have been hilarious. It’s probably for the best I didn’t pull the stunt because our sex life…
Never really got off the ground.
I blamed myself for not being hot enough.
And he turned into a total asshole.
As it turned out, we were only “the perfect couple” over the phone.
To make things scarier, my money wasn’t going to keep me afloat very long. I didn’t even have a bank account yet. I was still stashing cash in a bag like some psycho in Gone Girl. And you know I already bought a Hurley hoody. The stack was diminishing.
He started pressuring me to get a job. He fully knew that would be nearly impossible before I got my papers. I told him that before I even bought the ticket. But I was dealing with someone totally different now. He directed me to some shit hole bar in Huntington Beach.
“Go there. They’ll hire anybody.”
(This moment is reminiscent of Swoosie Kurtz telling Winona Ryder she could get a job at Burger-rama in Reality Bites, pointing out they hire handicapped people.)
This wasn’t my only problem.
My friend Natasha had a ticket booked to come visit me in a few weeks. Not only was I pretty sure I was about to be homeless, but I was gonna be homeless with a house guest.
I went to the dirty bar to apply for a job. The manager must have thought I was a mole from ICE, particularly cuz I started the conversation with,
“Hey, do you hire illegals here?”
When it was clear I wasn’t gonna be cracking open bottles of Bud for pool players, I hit the pay phone in the back. My dad had given me his calling card number to use whenever I needed. I called Natasha and burst out crying.
“It’s not working out. I think you should cancel your trip. I have to come home.”
“No… who cares about the guy? You don’t have to stay with him, but you’re not coming back here.”
“Because… You belong there.”
I couldn’t decide whether to stop crying or cry harder. This was the most powerful thing I could hear right now.
“But where will we stay when you get here? I have to move out. I can’t stay there much longer.”
“We’ll figure it out.”
My boyfriend wasn’t using the word “we” anymore. But hearing the word from an actual friend felt a thousand times better anyway.
I hung up the phone and ponied up to the bar. I asked if they had any Canadian beer, just to be an asshole. The bartender was pretty proud to crack open a Moosehead for me.
I sat there, teary-eyed, looking down at my green bottle. Maybe Natasha was right… I do belong here… I’m a stand up comedian. Peter Bobak even nicknamed me 90210 during Frosh Week. Maybe this tragic romance was just the universe’s plot to get me down here. I didn’t have too much Intel into the comedy scene in L.A. (We didn’t even have MySpace yet!) But I knew there was an open mic at the Laugh Factory on Tuesdays. That’s where I needed to go.
There’s a not so creepy man sitting beside me. Time to get some answers.
“Hey, is there a bus that goes to Hollywood?”
“Public transportation isn’t really our thing.”
“How much do you think a cab would be?”
Harder laughs. He see’s I’m quite serious.
“You don’t have a car?”
“Nope. I’m Canadian.”
Why did I say that? As if Canadians don’t have cars. This is why people think we live in Igloos. I fucked it up.
He buys me a beer, and I tell him how I moved here for a guy I met in a nightclub in Las Vegas who convinced me I was his soulmate.
He laughed harder at the cab thing. This seemed to actually worry him.
“Listen, I work in Long Beach. I can’t drive you to Hollywood, but if you want I can drop you off at the Long Beach train station. From there you can get to Union Station and hop on the train or bus to Hollywood. But you’d have to be willing to leave early.”
YAS! I knew there had to be a way! Back then I watched more Amazing Race than true crime so I wasn’t concerned with getting murdered. (Kristeen, I know you were busy watching Reba.)
I made it all the way to California…
Sure because of a guy…
That doesn’t mean there’s not another reason why I’m here.
And I ain’t turning back until I take a shot at the big leagues.
And just like that…
The June Gloom cleared.
(Natasha, me, Bobak, an old school camera and everyone in Ottawa’s fave cigarettes back then, Belmont Milds. This pic is a wee more recent than blog story but captures us all perfectly. I messaged Tash five seconds ago asking her for pics from 2002 cuz I’m Last Minute Magoo. Next week maybe lololol)
(Pic at top of blog- me, Tash, Erin Binks and Mo, who I nicknamed Cookie after watching Mickey Blue Eyes together.)