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Meet The Birdcage: Los Angeles Edition

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Sometimes LA is like a bad romantic comedy. You know the one, where the fiance comes to meet the weird-ass parents and the protagonist tries, unsuccessfully, to hide just how crazy they are. (see “The Birdcage”, “Meet The Fockers”, et al). I live a quiet, unassuming writer’s life here. Yet whenever friends from out of town travel through, despite my assurances that I live a perfectly normal life in our sunny, smoggy city, LA seems to go out of its way to roll out an assembly line of “only in LA” clichés the moment they step off the plane. Only when out of town guests are here does that 80s hair rocker with the Skid Row t-shirt come stumbling, stoned, into In-N-Out at 11pm. Every Angelyne sighting I’ve ever had has been while in the company of an out-of-town guest.

Thanks to recent national news reports (gangs! traffic! bedlam!) the most prominent cliché these days is "LA as apocalyptic, anarchists playground". When a friend from out of town showed up a week ago, I decided to debunk the myth by taking him to the least anarchist place in town; The Getty Center. And by going there on a Sunday morning, I was sure even the typical traffic on the 405 would be manageable.

But just like that embarrassing, drunk uncle who once pissed on my mother’s sofa, the city once again rolled out the weirdness. First, traffic on the 10 slowed to a virtual crawl. As it turned out, the 405 North was completely closed due to a fuel tanker that was engulfed in flames. The plume of smoke could be seen half a mile away.