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Walking

Posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Dave!And here I am in Los Angeles on "Talk Like a Pirate Day" after a very early flight out of Chicago.

When I first started coming here for work years ago, I never drove anywhere. I was provided a car and driver, and never much had to think about where things were at. Eventually this got kind of boring and I wanted to make my own way around, so I started renting a car whenever I had work here. For a nine-month period, I was flying down to L.A. fairly frequently, and got to know the streets of the city pretty well. In many ways, it's Los Angeles I have to thank for teaching me how to really drive a car.

Alas, my trips to L.A. were less and less frequent as time went on. I'm lucky if I make it once a year now. Because of that, I don't feel as comfortable driving here as I used to. It's far easier to just schedule the car and driver or take a taxi.

But never walk.

Today I made the huge mistake of choosing to walk in a city where nobody walks. It was only six long blocks, but I could feel the stares of confusion and contempt as people went driving past. "Funny, he doesn't look homeless!" I imagine them saying. I became worried when I waited at crosswalks that drivers who were stopped at the light were going to panic and throw money at me so that I would go away.

But it was a beautiful day. Plenty of sunshine, but not too hot and with a nice breeze going on...

Not-So-Wild Palms

Pretty much everything you want from a day in La La Land.

Except...

Los Angeles is such a bittersweet city for me.

I have great friends here. I remember good times here. There are places I treasure here.

But L.A. is a city that can really destroy you if you're not careful... more-so than any other city I've been to. My "big break" here ended badly, and I consider myself lucky to have escaped with my spirit and sanity (somewhat) in-tact. There are so many reasons I should hate this place.

And yet...

Los Angeles is always calling me in the back of my mind.

Because there are also so many reasons I love this place.

And a part of me just can never... let... it... go.

That's probably a good thing.


Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. adena says:

    I’ve never been.

    It doesn’t seem like my type of place, really. I’d feel SO out of place.

  2. Brandon says:

    Welcome to California! Looking forward to the big party on Saturday, if we can make it from USC to Hollywood in less than four hours.

    I don’t think letting go of LA will ever be a problem for me. I’m just about ready to let go now. I’m glad that I don’t actually live in LA, I don’t think I could’ve handled it.

  3. serap says:

    I did a lot of walking when I went to LA too – I left thinking that LA only had tourists and homeless people!

  4. kilax says:

    I have heard the “make or break” saying about LA before. I wish I could live there awhile (or at least visit!) just to understand.

  5. kapgar says:

    Most people who have had their dream crushed tend to resent the details related to it. Luckily, you have a much better way of looking at life than most. That’s why you still have that bit of L.A. tugging at you, I suppose.

  6. mikeo says:

    I can see the guy now, standing at the bottom of the escalator holding the sign “Dave from Blogography”

  7. RW says:

    For all the times I’ve been to L.A. the one over-riding fact that made itself clear to me each time was that there’s no city there. There doesn’t seem to be a city center, per se; just islands of buildings connected by highways and separated by trees and cliffs or something. Anyway that’s all I ever saw. Well… that and the 405 being shut down every other day for strange packages and people copulating on the concrete median but… you know… nothing too odd.

  8. Wayne says:

    Wow, you were provided a driver? That’s impressive beyond words. Were you a rich little bad monkey fauntleroy?

  9. Hilly says:

    LA itself is a huge mystery to me….as long as I stay on the coast and the beaches, I love it. But there really is something about the city itself that I don’t like all that much. Maybe it’s the fact that transplanting a Northern California girl to Orange County was bad ENOUGH! It’s hard when an area is so beautiful but the guts are just so….eh.

  10. James Bow says:

    Did you get mugged? Are you okay?

  11. Dave2 says:

    Wha-??

    No. I’ve never been mugged in L.A.! If you’re talking about my bad Hollywood experience, that was many years ago. :-)

  12. sizzle says:

    i swear LA can eat your soul if you’re not careful. i have great friends there but find it hard to visit. . . there are things i love about that city but i just don’t feel like “me” when i am there. and the walking? oh yeah. forget that! they drive a block to a different starbucks if the line looks too long. :)

  13. Miss Britt says:

    I’ve never understood the appeal of LA. I see it on TV, I hear the stories from friends – but I’ve always been very disappointed whenever I visit myself.

    Also – what’s this “almost big break” you speak of?

  14. Avitable says:

    I love LA. Even with all of the downs, there are soooo many ups.

    I hope to move back someday.

  15. SJ says:

    I only go to LA when I absolutely must. Like when someone’s going to be there that I want to spend time with. I find it a sad, depressing city.

    For me, Southern California is all about the San Diego, center of the universe.

    Bummer that it’s raining on Mouseland Day!

  16. diane says:

    Have fun, and give Hilly a hug for me!
    It’s ironic to me that I live in a city where walking is the preferred mode of getting from one place to another, and yet our temperatures are so much less pleasant than California’s!

  17. I know what you mean about LA being brutal on the spirit. That’s why I live in Pasadena. HAH! Looking forward to heading over to bowl with you and the rest of the gang on Saturday after the Washington game at the Rose Bowl. GO HUSKIES! :)

  18. Faye says:

    Dave, since L.A. isn’t exactly walker friendly and in previous posts you’ve shown a soft spot for dogs, what about hooking up with the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, at his Dog Psychology Center in the low-rent district? I’m sure he’d loan you some roller blades and a half dozen well-balanced pit bulls to re-claim the L.A. mean streets–seems to work for Cesar and the dogs.

  19. Robert says:

    I don’t think I’d want to spend much time in any city that looks to walkers/pedestrians as oddities. I much prefer a place like NY or Portland, OR, where pedestrians, walkers, bicyclists are more the norm, not the exception.

  20. lizriz says:

    Can’t wait to see you!

    Even if you are perpetrating that myth about nobody walking in L.A. Sigh. I’ve never seen so many damn pedestrians!

  21. Bre says:

    I’ve never visited, but I’ve always been interested in doing so – it seems lovely but I can certainly see your point about how it can be more dangerous than most places!

  22. Jill says:

    So you never did tell the tale of the movie deal…
    Are you ever going to share the rest of the story?

  23. ChillyWilly says:

    Having grown up in Southern Calif. (specifically Garden Grove in Orange County), I always will consider it home and miss it from time to time.

    Driving the freeways… I spent a lot of time going from L.A. to O.C. back and forth multiple times a week. I learned how to drive in that kind of traffic and madness. It really helps when I go back to know how to get around down there.

    Wish I was able to join for the meetup this weekend, but no travel for me till December.

  24. Mia says:

    L.A. is such a dirty little city. Every time I’ve been there I just end up feeling like I need to shower. I’m not a big Cali fan anyway.

  25. sandra says:

    Two relevant songs: Walking In LA and Gray in LA.

  26. bogup says:

    after all these years (since the original quote was spoken), how about a paraphrased question: “Is there any there, there?”

  27. anne says:

    How would you feel in certain areas of Newark? Or, there are some areas in Northern Virginia like this, and I don’t even know why the train has stops there. LA doesn’t have the corner market on anti pedestrian metropolis quagmires. But, of course they are the biggest. Say, we celebrated TALK LIKE A PARROT DAY here as well. Good for you!

  28. claire says:

    “I have great friends here. I remember good times here. There are places I treasure here.

    But L.A. is a city that can really destroy you if you’re not careful… more-so than any other city I’ve been to. …There are so many reasons I should hate this place.”

    That’s just how I feel about LA too. It kicked my ass not once but twice, and yet there are still so many things about it that appeal to me. LA often calls to me, but I’m in a holding pattern. Next time I go, even just to visit, it has to be on my terms so I don’t get derailed by unreliable promises & possibilities.

  29. IRV says:

    I lived in LA for 8 mos back in ’74-’75. That was enough for me. If I never set foot in California again it would be just fine.

  30. joy says:

    I was raised in SoCal then forced to lived in OR for the last 3 years of my high school days. I moved back down here 3 days after I graduated.

  31. NetChick says:

    You captured exactly my thoughts on LA, too! Having lived there for almost a year, I still find the area of West Hollywood calling my name, and yet, it’s so bittersweet.

    But, I’ve got a lot of crazy stories from my time there. And, as much as it almost broke me, it didn’t. I don’t regret a moment of that experience, and the life I now have because of my growth there.

    Thanks for reminding me of my not-so-distant past.

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