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It's Not You LA, It's Me - A Lament of Departure
Look, LA I know I've acted distant lately, so I suppose I might as well be upfront with you. I've decided I'm leaving you for another city. Which one? Doesn't matter. The point is, I'm flying out of here in two days.
I don't know why it's so hard for me to admit that it's not working between us, because there's plenty of other people who love you and want to move in with you. I mean it's not like you're going to be heartbroken or anything. You're much too chilled out for that.
But just so you know, (and I know this sounds cliche) it's not you LA, it's me.
It's me that got laid off twice in the past year and worked crappy media and white collar jobs. My own hubris that made me choose to live in an infamously car-dominated city without a vehicle and attempt to travel and commute via my bike and public transportation despite all the laughs and incredulous comments from everyone else. It was my decision to share a smallish one-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica for $1,500 a month.
Critical Mass was about the only time I felt safe biking on LA's busy streets.
Then again, you certainly made things tough on me, too. For the most part, the Metro system is inefficient and horribly lacking compared with other city's public transportation systems. Last week, I had to wait for a bus on Sunset Boulevard for an hour and ten minutes and all the bus driver said in response to my question about the bus's timeliness was "Not my fault!" But because of my lack of transportation, I felt like I never got to know you very well.
I'll miss the wacky bohemians in Venice. I think.
I felt safe in my quiet Ocean Park neighborhood, but in other places? My friends and I once got mugged by a drunk 15-year old at Dockweiler Beach, and almost got assaulted by a group of gangbangers at Dodger Stadium, who proceeded to fight about a billion cops and security guards. Then there was the time a crazy homeless woman threw a dirty wallet in my face and demanded to know why I was trying to steal it from her. And that's not to mention how unsafe I felt while biking on treacherous parts of Wilshire and Pico.
It also bothers me to see such an extreme disparity between the rich and poor and how separated these two worlds are from each other. There are the predominately white upper-middle and rich classes that you serve so well with your opulent hotels and condos and ridiculously unnecessary spas, herbal food stores, overpriced salons, and upscale shops.
Then you have the second world of working poor serving them, and the homeless which hopes to get a few scraps from the first world. Sure, the disparity exists in other cities, but you're the worst, LA.
But I won't miss the paparazzi.
And as a son of the Midwest, I grew up loving traditional team sports, and most people are too busy taking their dogs for walks or waiting in line at Pinkberry to care. Sure, USC football, UCLA basketball and the Lakers and Dodgers have a certain following, but there's just too many other distractions in this town for people to care about sports. And did I mention that my city league softball team The Santa Monica Pier Pressure is 1-20 in the last two seasons? Losing hurts.
That said, LA, we had lots of good times, too. The lazy Corona-colored days at the beach, crisp nights thinking blue at the Chavez Ravine, strolling among the eccentric People Zoo of Venice, the simple delights of In-and-Out Burger and the Apple Pan and Diddy Reese in Westwood, enjoying quality shows at Amoeba, meeting interesting people at dive bars, riding wild in Santa Monica Critical Mass, bumping into a celebrity or two (What do you say to Jeremy Piven when he's using the urinal next to yours anyway? Or John Cleese when you almost hit him as he's walking to a flower shop?) and of course, 70 degree weather in December. I'll certainly miss that.
I'll certainly miss the weather. How could you not?
LA, you're certainly not completely the airheaded, fake-breasted, Babylonian hellhole that it's often portrayed as by the media and every other hack comedian. But you're just not completely for me. That's why I'm moving to Chicago. Oops, did I not mention that? Don't be jealous of the Second City though, there's countless aspiring screenwriters and actors moving from Chicago to you everyday. And I hear Garrison Keillor is crushing on you.
So, let's end this amicably. We can still be friends, right?
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April Valentine died at Centinela Hospital. Her daughter was born by emergency C-section. She'd gone into the pregnancy with a plan, knowing Black mothers like herself were at higher risk.
A look at years past when snows creeped into our citified neighborhoods, away from the mountains and foothills.
In the face of a drier future, that iconic piece of Americana is on its way out in Southern California.
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