There’s a myth that California is full of airheads, a myth so firmly lodged in the British psyche that there they call it ‘La La Land’. And yet according to USC research, “there are more artists, writers, filmmakers, dancers and musicians living in Los Angeles than in any other city at any time in the history of civilization”.There’s also a huge manufacturing industry and seven Fortune 500 companies.
So, clearly we don’t spend all day lying poolside, margarita in hand (not ALL day obviously). And not everyone has a trout pout or has taken to anus bleaching (though we do think white teeth are a good idea). And yes, we like our therapists and our yoga. We intend to grow old disgracefully and to reinvent ourselves on a whim. But does this make us airheads? Hardly.
Before moving to Los Angeles, I lived in England in Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of a writer who achieved worldwide fame without ever blogging. I brought with me a husband and two teenagers. Our two cats had been flown out earlier and were staying at The Best Little Cat House, a facility offering cat concierges, rooms with views, web cameras, complimentary manicures, pedicures, daily massages and a choice of menu. Okay I admit this sounds a little over the top, but they were emigrating too.
In the following weeks, I discovered that life here was certainly a little different. My new assistant thought she was a reincarnated angel. Our son was coming home from sleepovers with tales of Jack Nicholson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Our daughter was sporting an American accent and doing a round of Bat Mitzvahs that would have made Cher’s stage set look bland.
But there was barely time for culture shock. Within a few short weeks we had 9/11 and the world would never be the same again – for any of us. This was when people rushed to our door to see if we were okay, inviting us to their homes, bringing round cookies. This was when I hung a tiny American flag from our window and knew I’d come home.