The Habit is a chain restaurant that Nancy insists serves her favorite burger in LA. While this burger does kick some butt, I try to refrain from reviewing chains so I’ll just tell a personal story.
When I first moved to LA, I became obsessed with being perceived as wealthy.
Now, this may have stemmed from my desire to always blend in and appear like a local…
…or I’m just shallow and pretentious.
Whenever I travel somewhere, I try to avoid fanny packs and Hawaiian shirts like Billy Bob Bumf*ck on vacation. I do some exhaustive language studies so that I at least seem like a hip, British Ex-Patriot.
I was so paranoid about sticking out like a sore thumb in Egypt, I even took an expensive Arabic language course.
(I now know how to write the word “book”….and that’s about it).
Yeah…I’m sure no one suspected I wasn’t from the Middle East.
While living in Seattle, I had just purchased a brand new Toyota Corolla.
6 months later, while helping Nancy car shop, I impetuously traded it in for a used Mercedes.
I had NO business buying this car, I couldn’t really afford it’s upkeep.
It was like a baby that could only survive on gold infused formula.
In LA, everyone flashes their wealth via cars, clothes, jewelry and designer dogs.
You don’t have to be rich to look rich.
What the average passersby don’t see is that ghetto studio apartment you live in with four other roommates.
Seattle is different. They don’t waste their wealth on stupid sh*t. They buy things like investment properties and high quality outdoor gear and things that actually increase in value.
Fancy cars are something you don’t often see.
Which is why I felt cool driving my Mercedes around, parking it in front of trendy coffee shops.
“Who’s that??” I’d hope they’d be thinking, looks of jealousy beaming from their plastic surgery-free faces.
Until the day I crammed everything I owned in that money pit and moved to LA.
I became one of a thousand, in the land where everyone loves to stick your nose in their diamond-encrusted business.
There’s no such thing as subtlety here…
But at least I felt I was embraced as one of their own, not looked down upon like the lower classes.
I could drive to work without being pulled over by the police for clearly being a transient.
“Sir, ALL signs point to you living in your car”.
My obsession didn’t stop there.
I purchased a Beverly Hills post office box and had all my mail go there.
“Send it to my Beverly Hills address, my 2nd assistant will fetch it upon arrival!”
I haven’t wanted to be rich my entire life, I think something just clicked when I bought that Mercedes. That damned car delivered to me straight from the Devil!
It didn’t stop there.
The city of BH held events at Greystone Mansion, a 55 bedroom house on a 16 acre estate that became a city park in the 80′s.
Only Beverly Hills residents were able to attend and since my BH post office address looked like a street address, I was in!
I felt so fancy taking my friends to classical concerts and plays inside the mansion (which was only open during these special events).
I became a regular at Greystone happenings, started to see all the same socialites.
It was like me speaking Arabic in Egypt. NO one bought that I lived in Beverly Hills. My Mercedes was older than most of the others in the parking lot.
I once attended an afternoon tea at Greystone hosted by the Penninsula hotel.
I must have looked like such white trash in my Target wardrobe sitting and videotaping the whole thing like a tourist while the Mayor of Beverly Hills sat at the table next to me.
After that, the gig was up.
When I received my next Greystone newsletter, someone had hand-written “We’re so glad you were able to enjoy the tea, now could you please provide us with your real home address?”
I have never been to Greystone since.
I got rid of the post office box.
I guess I sort of grew up.
But I ended up trading my Mercedes in for a nicer BMW 7 series. Hey, the love of cars runs in my family, that will never change!