In which you refuse to read news blogs and Twitter feeds, and instead have lunch at Jitlada, preferring the comfort of ghost chiles to anything looming on the horizon. Windstorms. SigAlerts. More Republican debates. You feel fine. You like anesthesia. Maybe Jazz will give you some more Thai tea and pat your hand. Maybe Matt Groening will draw on your napkin.
At this point, it's best not to get on the freeway. Retweet a few histrionic comments. Throw your copy of Counter Intelligence against the wall, then pick it up again and put it back in the car glove compartment where it belongs. Blame Sam Zell for everything that's ever gone wrong in your life, including Manny Ramirez. (Some of us do this all the time.) Then go have lunch at Lucques; sit on the patio and think pastoral thoughts and eat some glorious food and get a grip; go see what the bartender is doing with those kumquats.
Well, you might shoot off a few diplomatic emails, if you know the right people, but really this, too, is just a coping mechanism. Pragmatism is very useful; take the long view. Maybe consider un-canceling your Los Angeles Times print subscription, just for the hell of it. (If you do not have an Irony Meter, go get one.) Or go read The Wall Street Journal instead, since some very good people seem to write for it, too, at least sometimes. Dinner? Probably The Bazaar or wherever Michael Voltaggio is cooking. Chego would be a very good idea. Providence. Mélisse. Rivera. Or, if your Irony Meter is portable, go see if you can grab a walk-in spot at LudoBites (tonight is the last night of LudoBites 8) or head to Maison Giraud. The drive over to the Palisades might be soothing, and the canelés de Bordeaux will make you feel better.
During this stage (The fourth? The second? Numerology won't help you now.) you need to eat, even if your appetite has shrunk as much as some newsrooms have. Don't blow your budget on the fancy shit, since it will only remind you of the heyday of this or that, but instead head to the San Gabriel Valley for a little Sichuan therapy. You know where to go. A lonely strip mall parking lot. A table under blaring fluorescent lights. A framed review on the wall, circa 2002 or maybe even last December. Order the water-boiled fish and let the heat of the chiles and peppercorns take over.
Are you at this point yet? Maybe, maybe not. But you will be eventually, and when you are it will be time to enjoy the show. After all, you've got a front-row seat. Los Angeles is a small town, really, and your food trucks and noodle palaces and untranslated Sichuan menus aren't going anywhere, nor are the people writing about them, please God. You might do well to head to Jar or Border Grill. Or go to Mozza, which is probably the most fitting, all things considered. Whichever iteration suits your mood, really: the porchetta or the fennel sausage pizza or the mozzarella bar or Mario's mother's octopus. Order a dozen budinos and whatever the sommelier suggests. It's all going to be fine.