Leaving LA

Flying back over LA returning from a wedding of our dear dear friend Songweaver! in Virginia, I had the distinct feeling that LA was no longer home. This is particularly interesting when juxtaposed with the feeling I had returning to LA after visiting Birthwise – it still felt very much like coming home. My heart has left, however, and I can’t wait to get started on this new journey, both literally for the mega road trip L. and I are about to start on, and my metaphorical travels as well.

There are so many things I will not miss about LA. I will not miss the traffic, smog, sprawl, and the intrinsic car culture. I will not miss the pronounced superficiality of several subsets of the population here. I will not miss the cockroaches that come to invade visit our cozy little apartment. And I will not miss feeling like I live in a police state when there is unexpected violence – murders in broad daylight, robbery, drug deals, etc. – that leave the police chasing after folks with cop cars, on foot, and with the invasive helicopters (aka ghettobirds to the locals) overhead. I hate that lawbreaking is dealt with in this way, here, because poor people and brown people live in this city. In the very rich area right next door, up on the hill looking down on us, non-military aircraft is not even allowed to fly above their airspace. Not just ghettobirds, but also private and commercial aircraft are forbidden as well. This sort of state-sponsored oppression/emotional violence is something I have never experienced before (being that I’m from a white family that grew up in the woods) and it leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth, especially when combined with the knowledge of my privileges of class and skin color.

But there are a great many things that I have loved about LA and will miss dearly. There is no other place on Earth like our City of Angels. The sheer diversity of people amassed here is stunning. I love that I live in a place where I can eye organizations skeptically when they have a majority white membership and say conspiratorily to L. “Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment. You really have to try hard in LA to get that many white folks together in a room.” I love that I can walk in a straight line through just about any city or neighborhood in LA and in 15 minutes hit 3 distinct socioeconomic groups. I love that I live in my neighborhood on the new hip west coast with large populations of old world cultures: Latinos, Italians, and Eastern Europeans. Of course, I love the weather and the beaches and being able to ride my bike every day. And I love that the majority of the people are so much nicer and more down to earth than I ever thought they would be.

For all of its flaws, there is no other place on earth that is quite like Los Angeles (and the surrounding metropolitan areas) and I am proud to say that I will miss it when we move to Portland.

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