when we were moving from new york to los angeles, i knew i would have a lot of adjusting to do. the husband said to me, over my tears, "it's not as though we are moving to china". well, actually, it was. china without chinese food. on sunday night in los angeles they ate mexican.
but i am a quick study and i easily transitioned from the egg roll to the burrito. while still very much a new yorker, exiled in los angeles, i don't know, it must have been the stockholm syndrome or something, but suddenly, i found myself identifying with my captors. i kept my children out of school so i could drive in the car pool lane on the freeway and i'd stop for jaywalkers rather than run them over, they way i had been taught in my new york drivers ed class. one day at lunch, i ordered a salad, they way they do - dressing on the side. and then it hit me, to my horror, that i really wanted it that way. i had become one of them. i had crossed over.
eating in los angeles is unlike eating anywhere else on the planet. it's not about eating. it's about what you don't eat, what you can't eat and what you won't eat. everyone there is allergic to something. that's why the waiter always tells you first what is not in the specials so that susan, who develops hives from cilantro and lynn who swells from gluten and marcy, who swears that sesame seeds induce nightmares, can order with abandon. a referendum has been proposed by governor arnold schwarenegger to declare california a lactose free zone. people who consider themselves racially tolerant, have come down with irritable bowel syndrome, at just the thought of a cheese monger moving into their gated community.
women in los angeles are nothing if not committed to their eating disorders. they would rather die than defy their nutritionists. last month, as i was emerging from a stall in the ladies room at spago, i came across a choking faye dunaway. one hand clutching the sink, the other grabbing her throat, turning blue, she was obviously in need of help. i had just had a manicure, so the heimlich maneuver was out of the question, but i did the next best thing. i offered her a roll from my doggie bag, telling her it would help force down whatever was lodged in her throat. the next day's headlines flashed before my eyes. "drama queen saved by a kaiser roll!" those dreams of glory, not to mention what i was sure would be a sizable cash reward, were quickly dashed when faye looked at the roll with disbelief and then at me with disdain, before spitting out "I DON"T EAT CARBS"!!!!!!