On L.A.

Well, I’m back. After a 10 day road trip that took my partner and I down to the smoggy city of LA and back to the PNW. We took the 101 and the 1 (coastal highway down), but then the interstate 5 back. We saw the jagged coast of the sea side. The Podunk towns of Oregon. We revved the car on a hill so much the clutch began to slip and it made me thankful I have AAA.

LA is a series of cities. A sprawling map of confused and bewildered buildings. The roof tops bars pump their simple beats to the streets where a homeless man sits next to his shopping cart. The shopping cart is filled with plastic bags, cardboard. Old, crushed cans and other worldly possessions. The LA bustle does nothing for him.

On Skid Row, where I didn’t go, people die daily. In Korea Town people eat expensive meats, take Uber’s to parties. In Santa Monica the homeless crowd the beach in intervals. They are periodically cleared off. Cleared out. The people who afford it go to new restaurants and drink $10 smoothies and super-juices.

What I’m trying to say is: LA is a city of dichotomy, much like every major city in the United States–maybe the world. The dichotomy lies within the varied life styles and social stratum each person lives in. There are many Uber and Lyft drivers. There are young aspiring actors, writers, artists, set designers, everything. And there are the people who are there to serve them, because, as everyone know, no deal was ever made over salad. More likely hands shake over drinks at 3am. It’s difficult to know how to feel about a city that really has everything there, right at your finger tips. LA gets a bad wrap, but how can it have a bad wrap without a good one? It has everything. It’s an affordable place for artists to live and try to grow their career. It’s a warm place for the homeless. It’s a rough place for those who are hard. It’s a soft place in the hills and neighborhoods where you can’t hear the city. It is the lapping of the beaches, the snoring of the giant. LA is not the city people want it to be. But it’s the city we all deserve.

3/24/15 How to be K_______ S___________

She knows every cool bar in Seattle. Pickle backs are okay by her. The Frye Museum is her favorite in the Seattle area, but last time she went there the walls were a baby blue.

“A color you’d paint a baby’s room,” she said. It was not the ideal color for any museum exhibit.

The boutique in which she worked. Her niche.

In L.A. she found her niche. She was an L.A. girl for a time. She calls it, “K____ S_____’s L.A. moment,” but the Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher Dogen says that one snap of the fingers is 65 moments so really, she was there for billions, maybe even trillions of moments. Or she was if you believe what Dogen says.

K____ S_____ was a rebel in high school as so many people at the age of 16 are. But her rebellion had nothing to do with drinking alcohol or doing drugs or having sex. Instead she skipped class to sit alone on the beach and read philosophy like Seneca, Heidegger, and poetry by T.S. Eliot, and ee cummings. Later she would leave the small Northwest island she called home and go to Seattle in order to sit in coffee shops and bookstores on Capitol Hill and then, one day, when she came back from L.A. years and years later she would say, “I was so pretentious and wanted to be a cool college student.” Despite only being 17 she probably passed for a freshmen who really enjoyed philosophy and sitting alone.

When she was 16 she decided not to go to church anymore which was something of a problem for her parents. To mess with them she told them she was a buddhist. K____ S_____ isn’t actually a buddhist. She called herself an atheist once, so maybe she’s something in between. When she told her parents this her father cried because he believes she will go to hell for not believing in Jesus Christ. K____, on the other hand said, “None of it is real to begin with, so…” Weeks later, while at a bar she couldn’t follow Malcolm Gladwell’s argument about David and Goliath–the argument being that, really, David should always have been viewed as the favorite–because the Bible is allegory and to K____ S_____ none of it ever happened, so why talk about an allegory as though it really happened? The point is a fair one.

After K____ S_____’s L.A. moment–or trillions of moments, she returned to Seattle for reasons as yet unknown. She misses L.A. more than anywhere. She feels as though her L.A. moment (X trillions) could have continued. She feels as though she left something important behind.

“Every day I woke up and walked down the street and just knew it was the place I was suppose to be,” she said. Then, “I know if we moved there together you would leave me. L.A. changes people and I know you’d get so much recognition and that–that can be dangerous.”