A sweet email from a Scottish reader reminds me what a great photographic opportunity I have right here in Los Angeles. So while I anticipate my next trip to NY to visit my newest niece, I’ll just post pictures of my hometown as I find it here and there for a while. The photos in today’s entry were taken appropriately enough from the car as we seem to live in our cars in LA. I promise to actually get out of the car for future pics…but what better way to introduce LA to people than to show them our freeway system!
I took a trip out to LA to tour the UCLA law school many years ago, and while the campus was quite vibrant, it was in fact a random drive down the Pacific Coast Highway that set the course for what would become my life till now. I will never forget that moment. The Pacific Ocean rolled out beyond my periphery with the sun basking high in the blue, blue sky. There were people everywhere on the beach, living the great life, chasing the moment. And I was alone in my rental car trying to contain my runaway thoughts. Is it truly possible to have this kind of natural beauty mere steps away from all the glittery excitement of a big man-made city like LA? Is it really within reach to have absolute freedom in this mirage of a town? Could I handle this place on my own? I couldn’t wait to find out; I had just heard the siren’s song.
I must have called my mom every night during the second or third week of law school, bawling that I wanted out. Hated it. Hated LA, too. Well, loved it and hated it at the same time. Didn’t want to do it anymore. Each time she calmly told me to finish what I started and that I could do whatever I wanted after I graduated. So while law school sucked, I sucked it up and finished the first semester. Then the second, all the while getting lost all around the city just like any other hyper twenty-something who felt invicible out of both ignorance and fearlessness.
Days turned into years. Many things happened along the way, but before I knew it LA had wormed its way into my blood like any good parasite. My New Yorker friends tell me they have their city under their skin because of the uptown or downtown identity they’ve forged with their own neighborhoods. In sprawling LA we don’t have a brownstone stump we can call our own, but the identity we find here is from the very absence of any such attachment. I’ve said it before, but this town is the perfect place for people who belong everywhere and yet nowhere.
I won’t romanticize this city because it’s not postcard perfect. For every clear sunny day there is a smoggy, unbearable one. For every manicured lawn there is a run-down shack. It is a huge epicenter of the haves and have nots, of dreams made and nightmares realized…all coexisting under a beautiful blue sky. It is both a generous and an unforgiving town. But this is LA. My City of Angels.