But here we are yet again. And with the economy lagging and another potential guild strike looming, everyone's cutting back on holiday spending, so you don't even have the high hopes of "flat gifts" (ca-ching) to buoy you through the three interminable weeks between Thanksgiving break and Christmas vacation.
That's why Hollywood Assistants are especially looking forward to going home for the holidays this year. There's nothing more nerve wracking than economic despair, so while we all watch our already meager 401k's shrivel into nothingness, many of us turn our thoughts to the comforting promise of a couple weeks at home. Home is where the heart is. It is also where your parents are. Ah, parents. Givers of life and feeders of starving children. After months and months of the Lean Cuisine & Campbell's Soup diet, there's nothing better than coming home to two straight weeks of Mom's home cooking. Or at least, Mom & Dad-treat-you-to-dinner dining out experiences. Of course, the flip side is that Mom uses more butter than Paula Deene and your LA Fitness membership is only good in SoCal. You could always take a walk and get some exercise, but please… You're an Angeleno. Your tootsies haven't traversed an outdoor distance longer than 3 blocks in years.
But just as your jeans start feeling a little tight, you perk up at the thought of hanging out with your oldest friends in the world. You know, the ones you've known since kindergarten. The ones who know all of your most embarrassing stories. They love meeting up with you over $4 gin & tonics at your hometown dive bar and recounting that story about how you wet your pants in the 3rd grade. It's all good fun, but you can only take so much. So you try to distract them by telling them all of those hilarious and fascinating stories you have saved up about their favorite tabloid stars. But remember to keep your "I know all these famous people" tales somewhat in check. These people might eat it up at first, but even they will eventually grow bored with an excessive case of Name Drop-itis. Whitney Port is exciting to no one, and thus no one will care that you were once next to her at a stop light. And how interesting it would be to listen to them drone on for hours and hours about how well their 4th grade class is doing? About as thrilling as an NCIS marathon.
When the conversation starts getting awkward with your "oldest and best friends in the world", you can always turn to the romance department. Your LA love life might be more akin to a Cathy comic than a Danielle Steele novel, but nobody needs to know that. And, as luck would have it, your high school crush is sitting just 8 barstools down from you. After you screw up your liquid courage, you go over and say hello and promptly prove how much more attractive, witty, and charming you've become in the last seven years. But then you realize that they're 40 pounds heavier, not getting your jokes, and about as interesting as a piece of balsa wood. Who cares? Make out with them anyway. It's not like you can bring them home to Mom & Dad's, so it will all have to stay pretty innocent. But you can slap your 15-year-old inner self a huge mental high five and let them know that, yes… you've finally achieved all you ever wanted in life. You tongue kissed the captain of the football team AND you've got access to Wilmer Valderrama's home phone number. You've finally made it. You're officially awesome.
So home's not perfect. Neither is LA. Each has its plusses and minuses, and each should be appreciated in their own context. Embrace the two weeks of nothingness and living on the cheap. It will be the least expensive vacation you'll ever take.
WHERE: Main Street USA
COST: Nothing, unless your parents are meanies and actually make you pay for stuff.