In the eighteen months I’ve written this blog, I was amazed to find that I’ve only written one post about Los Angeles, an area I called home for exactly a decade for my college and young adulthood years. What’s even more astounding is, I haven’t taken a lot of photos of the place, either.
Well, maybe that’s because I’m one of the biggest Northern California homers you’ll find, and anything that’s associated with “LA” for anyone like me is worthy of pure unabashed hatred.
A German director, Roland Emmerich, has made a trio of over-the-top disaster flicks that take great pleasure in destroying the City of Angels: “Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” and “2012.” In these movies, LA is incinerated by a massive alien laser, pummeled by tornados (not “Sharknados” like in another movie) and broken apart and swallowed up into the Pacific.
Not that I would’ve actually wanted total annihilation of this city, of course. But every time I got stuck in a two-hour traffic, felt a burn in my lungs as I ran in the smog-choked outdoors, waited f-o-r-e-v-e-r in a line, wherever I was going or just noticed surgically enhanced automatons in extremely skimpy outfits, I moved closer toward that sentiment.
Don’t even get me started on the sports teams, like the truckload-of-money-just-bought-a-division-title Dodgers, the arrogant-but-underperforming Lakers and not-worthy-of-my-time Kings. I’ll just say I’m glad they do not have an NFL team and hope they won’t get one for a long time (take that, second largest media market in the country). Ironically, my favorite college team happens to be the UCLA Bruins, but that’s just because nearly my whole family attended college there.
Pretty much anything associated with Los Angeles is worthy of derision, scorn and all the ill will I can hurl at it.
Except that’s not completely accurate.
There’s a lot to appreciate, even like, about LA. The sunshine does seem warmer on a clear day, even through the smog banks. The beaches are awesome, despite the ocean being just a few degrees warmer than the frigid Northern Cal waters. Some of the ethnic neighborhoods, like Little Tokyo and Koreatown, have the best food of their kind anywhere, and I’d shop at the Farmer’s Market every week if I could. Fewer places are better for a long run or bike ride than along the path connecting Pacific Palisades to the South Bay. Limited-release movies premier here first. And it’s kind of cool that the stuff you’ve watched on TV and the screen gets created here, and many of the people who star in them live around town. It still astounds me that whenever we’re in town and I see a famous person in an ordinary grocery store or restaurant, I get a little thrill.
I apologize for this post not having a lot of pictures. But in two months, the girls and I will be spending all Thanksgiving week in Los Angeles (RAS will be flying in later) and visiting my family. The plan is to take lots of pictures of the place I lived in and alternately hated and loved, and share them here.
The pictures will look a little less dated than this one: (both from 2009):
Or this one…