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Living in Los Angeles Archives - Ashley Maria



Police pursuits in Los Angeles

As I watch yet another police pursuit in Los Angeles – this one in particular passed within a mile of my house – I felt it was time to share my stories encountering these little Los Angeles wonders.

Police Pursuit 1

My POV of the police pursuit. A safe distance…

I first traveled to Los Angeles my last year of high school – I believe it was the summer after graduation but my mom can tell you better. You should call her.

Anywho, we arrive in Los Angeles, take the taxi to our very nice hotel in Hollywood. Sit on our beds and turn on the 6 o’clock news as we get ready for dinner. And lo and behold, a car chase.

My friends, I saw a car chase my first day in Los Angeles, my first hour!

And it wasn’t just any car chase. It was the one where a bystander saved a young girl from getting hit by the car. And it was the one where they showed the driver getting shot.

There was a police shoot out, and instead of zooming out like they do now, the helicopter cameras stayed close. We saw this man jump out of the car, shoot at the police, run and then get hit by a bullet. I saw his body react to the bullet, shake, fall and then the cameras zoomed out quickly. Yeah, you guys messed up.

Welcome to Los Angeles?

I am pretty sure I have been a part of a pursuit

About a year ago, I was driving down Wilshire Blvd, going to a meeting, and a van pulled up to the right side of me, matching my speed. He so clearly did not want to be blocked in by the car in front of him, so he immediately started pushing into my lane. I didn’t realize it at first. Then he pushed even more. I slowed down and he took that as his cue to completely merge into my lane, pushing me into oncoming traffic. We didn’t hit each other. I pulled my wheel to the left, but I was completely in the opposite lane – in oncoming traffic. Thank God there was no one driving towards me, but I remember not even reacting. Not even yelling “What the F&#*! I just remember watching this huge red van take off in front of me, run a red light, then another. I carefully got back in my lane, like nothing had happened. I remember asking myself, “why am I not freaking out??”

THEN I got to my destination, parked, and there was the freak out. I was shaking, the tears were coming. I closed my eyes and just sat. I’m so not as cool as I thought.

Police Lockdowns

I have looked for alternate routes in Los Angeles many times because the police locked down a street, there was a shooter here, a runner there, a bomb threat up the street. And I just want to go home! Well, speaking of home, read about the morning the FBI raided my apartment complex – no place is safe!

But, we have to live in Los Angeles.

If you want to work in the film industry, then you have to live in Los Angeles (or New York or whatever, but LA has the most opportunity…okay, okay that’s another debate, but I have to live in Los Angeles). So you shouldn’t worry about the next police pursuit that will interrupt your life, you should worry about finding the best Veggie Burgers, or the best Yoga Class (that’s what LA people like, right?).

And, if you want to be in a police chase, then PLEASE do not pick rush hour as the time to run. I always feel so bad for those guys. I’m like “idiot, if you’re going to run from police, start at like 10am, not 8am. Idiot.”

Police Pursuit 2As of right now they haven’t caught this guy – but the different news channels compete for the best shot. NBC has the closest so far – this is their “double zoom” – technical term.

**UPDATE** They caught the guy! And thanks to everyone who asked if I was okay 🙂 The scary man was nowhere near me!



The morning they yelled bomb

I think I grew a little bit taller this morning. You know — that kind of taller when you hear the word “bomb” yelled by the FBI…

At 6am, I was awoken by a man pounding on a neighbor’s door screaming “POLICE!” He just pounded and yelled. I mean, now I’m up. Thanks, guy.

Then a woman started yelling “This is the FBI! Open this door!” More pounding. Now I’m scared. This is real.

As I grasped my surroundings, realizing it wasn’t a dream, I heard the word “bomb.” Wait…what?? BOMB??

I couldn’t see a thing in my apartment, and I was too afraid to turn on lights or make much noise. But I knew I had to get ready to leave.

Maybe it’s from the weeks of watching “The Closer” reruns, but I immediately thought “If there’s a shootout – I’ll easily be shot.” So I ran looking for my robe, completely crouched, ready for an announcement of an evacuation. But in the dark, everything looked the same. I had no success finding anything.

And then it hit me, it could explode right now. This could be it.

So I called my mom.

She’s on the east coast so it was 9am there. And she answered the phone so happy, “Hi honey!”

I just kept whispering “The FBI is here” “They’re at my neighbors” “I think there’s a bomb” “I can’t find any clothes” “The FBI is here!” “bomb!”

She said “What? I can’t hear you!”

Oh no mom, I can’t whisper louder, or they’ll hear me!

So I ‘scream-whispered’ “FBI” “BOMB” — definitely not the two words you want to hear coming from your daughter’s mouth, I’m sure.

HallwayMy Hallway

She said “Put the phone down, get dressed!” I did. “Now pack up your valuables and get ready to go!”

Yes ma’am.

I grabbed my computer, but then noticed I hadn’t heard any more yelling. No one saying “Get Out” or banging on my door telling me to leave. It had been a few minutes since I heard “bomb” and nothing happened.

Just then, my pillow looked amazing. I was on a film set late the night before – surely the FBI and Bomb will understand I was sleepy. Please don’t let there be a bomb…I want to go back to sleep!

I stayed on the phone with my mom for a few more minutes – turning off my air conditioning and fan so I could hear more clearly. Nothing. And now it was hot in my room. Great.

I hung up the phone and poked my head out (even though my mom told me not to…). There was an FBI agent in the hallway (wearing a similar jacket to the one I rented for a film I directed a few years ago…except his was, of course, the real deal). He started to look in my direction and WHOOSH my door was closed. He didn’t see me. I’m a ninja.

I heard someone’s voice trying to explain “something” but I couldn’t hold on anymore. I needed to go back to sleep.

Later I discovered this person was arrested for “probably drugs or something.”


Note to self: time to finally clean my apartment and get organized — for the next time I hear “bomb” in the middle of the night.



Advice for employment in the film industry – don’t get stuck

Before I graduated from film school, I spent some time thinking “How do I support myself after the assignments are due…and student loans have stopped keeping me afloat?” “Oh gosh, how do I pay them off??” I had to step back, stop freaking out, and first decide between the corporate side of film or the freelance side. Two employment routes you can take in this industry.

Some advice I can offer – find out if you’re an “office” person or a “set” person – or both – before you commit to full time employment. I quickly discovered I was both, meaning if I were on set every single day for months, I would probably long for an office job and vice versa.

I used to think that I was just lazy and noncommittal, and maybe I am… but I have also discovered that I need change to stay challenged and excited. What about you? I have a lot of colleagues who work their office jobs and then accomplish their “real” goals on the side. I also have friends who are on set nearly every single day, and are able to maintain a life outside of it.

I know what works for me: I just say, “don’t get stuck.” That’s one fear I have – getting too comfortable in an office job or a job on set and not allowing myself to be challenged to create my own projects. In my year out of film school, I have met a lot of people who say they feel they got stuck and can’t go back to realizing their goals. That’s heartbreaking, but they also drive a Lexus and don’t worry about rent. I can’t allow myself to get comfortable and not strive toward the goal. I also can’t allow myself to get scared of “having no money!” I’m at a point in my life where I only have me to worry about, which won’t always be the case, so I need to take advantage of it now.

If you decide to live the freelance life like me, be smart about your finances. For example, for the longest time, I wanted a popcorn maker to make homemade popcorn. My parents have one (from like the 90s) and homemade popcorn is WAY better than microwaveable. I started to ask myself, “Do I really have 40 bucks to spend on one, though?” I discovered that I can easily make popcorn in a pot on my stove (the way my parents did when they were kids…). No official popcorn maker needed, and it’s way more fun! So, not only did I save 40 bucks, but I also saved shelf space. And, when you live in a studio apartment, shelf space is incredibly important!

In conclusion (is this a term paper?), the second you think, “I should buy this,” pause, do some research and see if there is a more economical way of doing or buying that item. THIS is how I am able to live on a budget in Los Angeles! Don’t get me wrong, some days I wish I could just tell that little voice in my head to “shut up” and go shopping! But then I remind myself of my goals and calmly walk out of Target…because this usually happens at Target.