No matter what you do in L.A., your behavior is appropriate for the city. Los Angeles has no assumed correct mode of use. You can have fake breasts and drive a Ford Mustang â€“ or you can grow a beard, weigh 300 pounds, and read Christian science fiction novels. Either way, you're fine: that's just how it works. You can watch Cops all day or you can be a porn star or you can be a Caltech physicist. You can listen to Carcass â€“ or you can listen to Pat Robertson. Or both. That's how we dooz it.
L.A. is the apocalypse: it's you and a bunch of parking lots. No one's going to save you; no one's looking out for you. It's the only city I know where that's the explicit premise of living there â€“ that's the deal you make when you move to L.A.
The city, ironically, is emotionally authentic. It says: no one loves you; you're the least important person in the room; get over it. What matters is what you do there. And maybe that means renting Hot Fuzz and eating too many pretzels; or maybe that means driving a Prius out to Malibu and surfing with Daryl Hannah as a means of protesting something; or maybe that means buying everything Fredric Jameson has ever written and even underlining significant passages as you visit the Westin Bonaventura. Maybe that just means getting into skateboarding, or into E!, or into Zen, Kabbalah, and Christian mysticism; or maybe you'll plunge yourself into gin-fueled all night Frank Sinatra marathons â€“ or you'll lift weights and check email every two minutes on your Blackberry and watch old Bruce Willis films.
Who cares? Literally no one cares, is the answer. No one cares. You're alone in the world. L.A. is explicit about that.
If you can't handle a huge landscape made entirely from concrete, interspersed with 24-hour drugstores stocked with medications you don't need, then don't move there. It's you and a bunch of parking lots. You'll see Al Pacino in a traffic jam, wearing a stocking cap; you'll see Cameron Diaz in the check-out line at Whole Foods, giggling through a mask of reptilian skin; you'll see Harry Shearer buying bulk shrimp. The whole thing is ridiculous. It's the most ridiculous city in the world â€“ but everyone who lives there knows that. No one thinks that L.A. "works," or that it's well-designed, or that it's perfectly functional, or even that it makes sense to have put it there in the first place; they just think it's interesting. And they have fun there.
And the huge irony is that Southern California is where you can actually do what you want to do; you can just relax and be ridiculous. In L.A. you don't have to be embarrassed by yourself. You're not driven into a state of endless, vaguely militarized self-justification by your xenophobic neighbors. You've got a surgically pinched, thin Michael Jackson nose? You've got a goatee and a trucker hat? You've got a million-dollar job and a Bentley? You've got to be at work at the local doughnut shop before 6am? Or maybe you've got 16 kids and an addiction to Yoo-Hoo â€“ who cares?
It doesn't matter.
Los Angeles is where you confront the objective fact that you mean nothing; the desert, the ocean, the tectonic plates, the clear skies, the sun itself, the Hollywood Walk of Fame â€“ even the parking lots: everything there somehow precedes you, even new construction sites, and it's bigger than you and more abstract than you and indifferent to you. You don't matter. You're free.
onefeathertail wrote:When I travel to Canada at the end of the year I'm also hitting Wisconsin, New York (for New Years Eve) and LA. LA seems so bustling. Then again, of course, so does New York.
Sherry wrote:I also braved a taste of a pie floater. And those wotsit pasties. And the cake, what do you call it, the one dipped in chocolate. I did try Farmers Union also but am not a fan of iced coffee at the best of times.
Peaches wrote:So please come to Adelaide, it's lovely to just eat and drink and the city is safe and pretty (plus, we are the only state not to have convict settle here!)
SuzyBatt wrote:OFT, where will you be coming to Canada?
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