How to Settle Down

by Jessica Brookman in

FACT: Recognizing what you want and getting what you want are basically the same thing. Get on that. 

This is a story about making a place for yourself in the world and tiny houses. But first, I need to tell you a story about an LSD trip, Instagram, and making the best of a bad (plumbing) situation.

While this story starts with cat piss and a bunch of broken pipes, it ends in the Silverlake Hills. All's well that ends well, yeah? Cheers!




When I moved back to Silverlake, I chose to live in a brand new studio. There it is above. I love it. It's the perfect size for me. I designed the space myself and picked out the furniture (except for that beautiful desk and chair which are antique and were gifts. I love gifts.) It's nearly perfect for me. There's a separate kitchen, walk-in closet, and bathroom. 

Duh, you say. Of course, there is a bathroom. Well, duh, asshole. But I am telling you because it's there that the story starts. 

I arrived home one afternoon to drop-cloths covering my apartment from entryway, through the kitchen, and into the bathroom. So, I followed the sounds of muffled spanish to the closed door.

It turns out that, while I was out, my bathroom had casually exploded.

I say casually because it certainly didn't tell me its plans. Neither did my landlord when he decided to try to fix that problem by removing an entire wall from my bathroom while i was out for the day. Oh, and by the way, I cannot really capture the scent of a casually exploded bathroom via the internet, so I will leave it to your imagination except to say that it was not very much like the smell of spring flowers.

No, not very much like that at all. 

Have I mentioned that I had come home to prepare for a black-tie event I was going to that evening? Just before I could commence a full-fledged rage blackout, I noticed that something was missing. That something was my 7lb mini-siamese cat, Ruby. Trust me when I say that I now understand that maternal instinct trumps the smell of shit, human or otherwise.

I had to find the pussy. Clean up. Put on a still-undelivered Nicole Miller gown, and get from Silverlake to Beverly Hills.

I assure you that I would be in jail right now awaiting a homicide trial, had my tiny cat not turned up that day. Since I am not, I'll spare you the details. But let's say I had a lot of cat pee pee to clean up on top of my kitchen cabinets which is where I eventually found her cowering. Lord knows what kinds of plumbing related atrocities she'd witnessed in my absence. 

After I had calmed down, I decided to casually call my landlord and find out precisely what the actual fuck was going on. I will also spare you the details but I will say that, as of April 1, 2013, I was relieved of my lease.

Now, I mentioned that my place was nearly perfect for me. That was an exageration. There were other problems. For example, the place is near Sunset Junction in Silverlake, so, naturally, there is a very loud yuppie condo construction next door that wakes me up at 7am every day and keeps me awake with flood lights all night. 

I was willing to overlook all that until the shitty kitty incident. But, all this was too much. 

Of course, by "all this," I mean that the timing of this bathroom incident also roughly coincides with my most recent non-boyfriend humiliation (the Carry Bradshaw Post-It Note Breakup kind of love life implosion. I hate to make a Sex and the City reference, but If you don't know what I'm talking about, this clip should clear it up).

Needless to say, it was time to take some time off-the-grid to decide on my next move. When there is tumult in my life, impulsive travel happens. Road-trips are common. So are tropical islands. This time, I dreamt of New York. 

It feels great to be untethered for a few days. This blip was no exception. What had changed was that, this time, I quickly found myself day-dreaming of returning to a place that felt more like home. But where? I have business in Oakland. I have friends and family in New York. Maybe somewhere new entirely? Fuck me in the face with a fudgecicle, I am tired of moving. 

As soon as I had that thought, though, I got a call that would pull me back to Los Angeles for a while. I was relieved to remove one of the major variables from the equation.

In the equation of Z = X(Y), and Z was "WHERE THE FUCK IN THE WORLD I AM LIVING" at least I knew that X was "SOMEWHERE IN LA." Now I just had to figure out the multiplier. 

I started plotting ways to stem my imminent homelessness. As many of you know, looking for a new place in a major city is harrowing. There are a lot of options, of course. And in LA -- a city of transients -- the search is depressing, at best, unless your daddy is footing the bill. No such luck. 

Overwhelmed, I turned to Instagram for some visual distraction... 

Here's where the drugs come in. 

A few months ago, around my birthday (aka The End of the World), I went on a trip. I had a very clear vision of myself as an older woman standing outside a tiny house -- a cottage, really -- with a garden. It was near mountains. I felt tranquil. How little, materially, I need to be happy. What a gift!  

Speaking of gifts, as I scrolled through my own Instagram feed, there it was. Around the time of this vision, I posted a picture of a tiny house in the hills. The answer, buried like a fucking time capsule to find later. Don't need to tell me twice, social media. 

I'm moving home. To a tiny, tiny house in the hills. 

Look how cute! Note: Not my actual house. 

Look how cute! Note: Not my actual house. 

I realized that I didn't want to move away. Not yet, at least. I want to be home. Los Angeles is an odd place to feel at home but I have everything I need here right now. Everything except a place with a functioning bathroom and some fucking piece and quiet, that is. That, at least, is solvable.

I guess the moral of the story is sometimes you're just one psychedelic trip through social media away from home., never mind. I never said I was a role model.

What I mean to say is, home is where you fucking make it. And if you're paying attention, you always know how to get there.

Trust me. I can't believe I'm saying this after moving (literally) 12 times in the past 5 years. But I'm settled for a bit. If I have to move, it means Operation LA has been a success or somewhere else has made me a better offer. And, if not? Well, if I die here, please cremate my remains jedi style and shoot the ashes in a cannon over the Pacific.

Thanks in advance, LA. Thank you ever so kindly.