On narcissism: I have no statistics, but I never felt you had to drag all the way to Malibu to find pre-chewed salads being picked at by the self-absorbed wearing overpriced jeans. Narcissism, like sushi, is easy to find in LA; it’s at the strip malls and on jogging paths. It may, in fact, have been franchised.
The question I heard most frequently, upon becoming a writer, was, “Would I have seen anything you’ve written?” Posing the question this way turned it into a litmus test, requiring me to decide if the person had the sensibility of a “Northern Exposure” fan. Would I risk being insulting by including “Growing Pains”?
Narcissism isn’t the reason we left LA, but it’s one of the factors that made it easier to leave. It’s a city that attracted many people hoping to acquire deals, trainers, attention, private tennis courts and swimming pools, credits, gated estates, shrinks, adulation, expensive cars, agents, unlisted phone numbers, walk-in closets, valet parking and chopped salads. If you need more time to concentrate on yourself, you can hire someone to take care of the details, whether that means parking your car or carrying your fetus. There's some irony in the fact that those people aspiring to be recognized, famous and sought after then erect gates, hire security sytems and bodyguards to protect them from the public.
To be fair, there are narcissists everywhere, but LA seems to have more than its share. Maybe it’s something in the bottled water.