I’ve moved into a new apartment in the Crestview neighborhood in Los Angeles. Crestview is a part of Mid-city. Moving across town was a difficult decision because everything I knew was clustered in eastern Los Angeles, and most of my friends lived within minutes of my apartment. The move has done me good, though. The first benefit was obvious and immediate: I cut my commute time to work by more than half. The second benefit was unexpected and slowly became apparent.
For the first time since college, I know most of my neighbors. This building is very social. Most of the tenants know each other and actually enjoy each other’s company. That leads to nights like this past Wednesday, a day so hot thermometers are contractually guaranteed a rest break every 15 minutes. I had been sprawled, shirtless, flat on the floor for over an hour, trying to ignore the fact that my hair was slowly cooking. Overhearing– which is something you can’t help but do in this complex– a lot of my neighbors talking, I peeked out the window and saw the pool ringed by bare legs poking down into the water. Everyone looked so much more relaxed and comfortable than I was that I decided to join them. I grabbed some small, disposable glasses of wine from my fridge to share and ventured outside to join my neighbors. It was worth the effort.
We sat outside for hours, talking about everything from babies and cats to plans for the future. I got to know more about my neighbors in one night than I’d known about my other neighbors in the past decade. They’re a cool group of people. They’ve been very welcoming from my first day here, and I find that I’m looking forward to more evenings with them by the pool. This apartment’s name is Imperial House, but they all refer to the building as Preuss as in “Summer’s just getting started at Preuss!” I have heard that phrase more than a dozen times since moving in. I like that they’ve all collectively decided to refer to the building by their own nickname. That’s the kind of decision that says “community.”
Work this week was a reminder of “community.” At YouTube Nation, we produced our 100th episode, and, in celebration we recorded a super-sized dance segment for the show, and we took a little time out of the day to reflect on the work we’ve done. The word “we” is important. Though sometimes our individual departments can become insular, there is very much the feeling that “we” are all pulling together to make YouTube Nation happen. To that end, our big dance piece for the 100th episode’s outro needed a lot of people from across the company to don ridiculous clothes for an 80′s Aerobics Dance Battle, and a ton of people answered the call.
In addition to spending a good chunk of that morning shooting this segment, we had speeches from Steve and Zadi and a toast in the evening. Mark Potts got to show off a massive blooper reel that included outtakes going back to our very first test shoots. It was glorious (I didn’t have any bloopers–that’s the price of perfection), and the best part is that no one asked him to do it. It was just something he’d decided to do in his free time. That’s not something you do for a job and for people you don’t like.
Yesterday, more of my co-workers showed up for Happy Hour at YouTube Space LA than have shown up for the event in many months. Afterwards, a lot of us went to an art opening for a co-worker’s wife’s exhibition of photos of YouTube stars. The entire evening was enjoyable, and, again, this is definitely the kind of thing you don’t do for people you don’t enjoy.
This was a hot week–it feels like the hottest week in years–but if that’s all I have to complain about, how can I possibly complain? I’m surrounded by people who make everything more bearable.