As I was basking in unemployment yesterday, I thought to myself, “what have I always wanted to do in LA but couldn’t because of work?”
In what felt like destiny, there were general admission tickets available for a morning taping of The Price is Right for TODAY. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading strategies, and the evening perfecting my t-shirt.
Conventional wisdom (and my quick Google Image search) dictates that a successful The Price is Right custom t-shirt should be neon green, pink or yellow, but in the dead of Los Angeles winter, H&M doesn’t carry neon basic tees. So, I picked a tasteful grey one, banking on my slogan to make the statement the color of my shirt lacked.
A couple mishaps with the fabric paint left me with what I like to think of as a "distressed" look. And I loved it.
Morning came swiftly after the shirt was finally completed. I rolled out of bed, and then on to the road. I hit some minor traffic but was unconcerned.
That is, until I arrived at the CBS lot. I was shocked that, in spite of the rain, the line of enthusiastic mid-westerners sporting their bright green, pink and yellow professionally-printed custom shirts stretched as far as the eye could see.
I shoved my ticket into my pocket as I walked down the line, filled with shame as I slowly began to realize that there was literally no way I would get into this taping.
I walked with purpose, right past the end of the line, pretending that I had a much better place to be than in this outrageous line. A block or so after the studio, I dejectedly sat down on the road barrier. “At least I'm up, and dressed, and ready before 8:00 am, in Hollywood,” I thought. “There must be something I can do to make this worthwhile.”
I've wanted to go to Runyon the whole time I’ve lived in LA, but never had the dedication to drive over at the crack of dawn before work. Finally, here was my chance to experience it... but I was dressed in jeans, rain boots... and my handmade t-shirt designed to get me on The Price is Right. With glitter.
I made my way back to my car, racking my brain for an activity for which I was dressed appropriately. Finally, feeling frustrated at my morning and knowing I needed something to show for it, I threw the car in reverse and drove toward the Hollywood sign.
I got a few weird looks from the ladies in their lululemon leggings and brand new Nikes as I started up the mountain in my heavy red rain boots, but I just kept my eyes on the ground and ignored their judgy smirks. This was a walking trail, not hot yoga, after all.
Before long the sun was streaming through the clouds and my rain jacket was sticking to my skin. I begrudgingly peeled it off.
I could feel people’s eyes on me, checking out my boots and reading my shirt as my eyes were glued the trail. But on I walked... until finally something bubbled up within me and I WASN’T WILLING TO KEEP LOOKING AT THE DIRT, DANG IT. I QUIT MY JOB FOR THIS AND I WAS GOING TO ENJOY IT.
I lifted my head and threw back my shoulders, sharing my t-shirt with the world.
“I QUIT MY JOB FOR THIS!”, yelled the t-shirt.
Two girls approached me, meandering down the mountain in their lululemon leggings and Nikes as I continued up. I heard quiet giggles and murmuring, then one of the girls raised her voice. "Hey, I love your shirt!"
I did one of those goofy turn-to-see-if-there’s-someone-behind-me moves. Nope, just me.
As they passed, the girl said to her friend, "You seriously need to get that shirt!"
“I know, right.”
I looked back down at the dirt and smiled.
Three years ago today was my first day in Los Angeles, and I think I’ve finally figured out what makes this city tick.
And I guess I have a t-shirt business now too.