Tuesday night, I tried to see Minnie and Moskowitz at Cinefamily with an ex-boyfriend, but we arrived to find a gaggle of crestfallen hipsters milling around beneath the marquee. The film was sold out. So we did the other thing we sometimes still do together: drink.
Over a Newcastle and an Old Fashioned, he told me that he'd bought a new mattress that day. It made spiritual sense, he said, because we'd bought his previous mattress together.
"That mattress was a mistake from Day 1."
I recalled the Glendale mattress store, the two of us lying side by side, testing different floor models. I stared up at the ceiling and tried to determine what a good mattress was supposed to feel like. I was 26 years old and still had no idea.
We talked about the expense of a quality mattress, and while I considered the cost of my semi-recent mattress purchase a splurge, I balked when he revealed his mattress's pricetag: $5500.
"Well, you know, that includes the box spring and some other stuff."
I tried to rationalize this expense.
"Are you still having back problems?"
"Not really. It's weird because I had lower-back problems throughout our relationship, but they just kind of went away." He paused. "My legs get pretty achy from running though. I think the mattress will help."
This ex-boyfriend is going through a transitional phase, having vacated the sprawling and dilapidated Hollywood apartment he occupied for nearly 10 years. That building, that apartment, contained me for three of the ten. I pictured it like a dollhouse: the institutional white stucco exterior, the rats scurrying up the palm trees, the foosball table, the roof parties, the wall-to-wall blue carpet (an ocean in Hollywood!), the side-by-side ovens: one for pizza, one for cookies.
Now he's holed up in Valley Village, killing time until he finds a house to buy. Throughout our conversation, I noticed that he kept referring to the apartment itself as Valley Village, as if the neighborhood existed only through his front door.
"Valley Village is just a layover," he said. "This is my time to sleep in the trenches."
"But you're sleeping on a $5500 mattress."