Nine months after leaving the adult industry, and becoming acutely aware of my financial situation, I realized I had to give up my true love. During my career as a Porn Star, I'd driven just about every car one could ever wish to drive. I started my driving career with a black Mustang, moved into a Chevrolet Tahoe, and when money started flowing, purchased a 330i BMW. I bought it at a terrible rate, 14% APR, but I was so surprised they were willing to sell me the car I jumped on it. After two and a half years of driving the BMW, my little heart became greedy and I wanted to step it up, even more. So I leased a beautiful gun metal E350; in my mind Mercedes-Benz meant I had finally arrived, I could sit in traffic, proud and strong. I had made it as one of Chatsworth's most successful starlets, never mind the car was leased and an even worse deal than the BMW. How much worse could it get than paying 14%?
I leased my E-class from Newport Beach, agreed to a five year contract, monthly payments of $1,000.00, and could only drive 13,000 miles a year. I had been smoking a ton of pot and thought I'd practically stolen the car, only paying a drive off fee of $2,500.00. It never occurred to add up money spent over that five year time span, and I carried on making payments and driving to my hearts content. That is... until I quit porn.
January 3, 2010, I drove to Mercedes-Benz in Beverly Hills, and the lovely gentleman who took my keys pat me on the head and said "2009's been a rough year for a lot of people. 2010 will be better, kid." And he was right... it is better, but probably not in the same way he thought it would be. 2010 marked the beginning of my adventure through Los Angeles by bus. And to be honest, I've never felt love like this before.
Even though the bus doesn't always show up on time, it always shows up. The prices are reasonable, and the drivers are friendly. I travel to the same places at the same times, and I've developed little relationships with these kind people who cart me around LA. Nobody ever said, "Have a nice day," when I sat down in the Benz. But every single time I hop on the bus, I'm greeted with smiles. There is something to be said for that.
I've met the most interesting people riding the bus. A regular guy that talks to himself (no Bluetooth -- I checked), women buying groceries, kids escaping parental supervision, business people, chicks who look really out of place in clear plastic heels and skirts, an old black man serenading me with Prince songs and a ton of hard working men who just can't stay awake . I even met two old, sun-damaged junkies, a leathery man and a very "sleepy," woman, who told me I should start typing my journals onto a computer. That Hollywood producers are always looking for good stories, and stories about people's lives are all the rage. I've run into friends, made friends, decided this person is not someone I want as a friend, all from the comfort of an red, orange, blue or green bus.
And best of all, I feel less isolated. I never realized how my car separated me from society until I jumped on the city bus. I felt alive in San Francisco, New York, Paris... That heartbeat running through public transit systems. The metro, the subway, BART, buses, sidewalks, people at corners hailing cabs. These are cities that belong to the people, because it's people pumping through it's underground veins. Flooding the streets. Filling the bus. For me, Los Angeles belonged to the people in Mercedes, stuck in traffic on the 101, or the 405.
But now, I belong to Los Angeles.