Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I love L.A.?

Feral Mom will be visiting Los Angeles soon, and I can't wait to hear her take on this place. If anyone is going to notice L.A.'s non-picture-perfect, defective, offensive, gross underbelly, it will be she. And she might also be the one to point out some good stuff that has never been mentioned before.

I'm a native Angeleno, and I guess I get tired of hearing all the stereotypes about L.A., in part because I don't fit most of them myself. I'm not beautiful and thin and tanned, I don't drive an SUV, I don't work in the film industry, I'm not writing a screenplay, and I don't want to be famous. What's more, virtually all of my friends and family live lives closer to mine than to what you see on T.V. We just have jobs and drive cars that are past their primes and obsess about the latest Lost. Some of us like to read -- did you know that L.A. is the biggest book-buying market in the country? Some of us notice that L.A. does have seasons; anyone who says otherwise has never been caught in one of our cold, relentless winter rainstorms. Some of us go out to dinner with our in-laws and drink a little too much and get involved in stupid arguments about casting non-white actors in traditionally white roles. (I, errrr.... and for the record, I was on the pro side!)

Maybe when you're in the middle of something, either a place or a situation, it's hard to see what an outsider will consider obvious, but maybe that's just because you have a different perspective as an insider. I suppose if you think of Beverly Hills as "L.A.," you're going to run into a lot of stereotypical, pretty, actorish types. But Pasadena and South Central and Rancho Cucamonga are all part of L.A., too, and those are places it's hard to generalize about. In greater L.A. you'll find gated communities, slums, fancy new condos, modest 100-year-old houses, smog and traffic jams, fresh air and wilderness, et cetera ad infinitum. It's like any other big city, only with the potential of earthquakes.

Boy, do I sound defensive. I am. I hate hearing that everyone out here is shallow and surgically-enhanced and just waiting for their big break on that new fall reality series. Not everyone here is from somewhere else. Like I said, I was born here; and although I've spent some time living in other places (including a pretty cool stint in the midwest), I will always come back because L.A. is where my family and friends are, and I know I'll always be able to find great Mexican food and a theatre showing that obscure independent film I've been waiting for. Wait -- is that a stereotype? I guess a few of them are true.

Do I love L.A.? Sure, why not?


~ Lucy said...

You're right! I always tell people "LA is exactly what you make it. If you're looking for shallow stereotypical crap it's out there. There's also some great culture and people to be found as well."

Norman said...

You're both defensive today.

And where are all these "shallow and surgically-enhanced" denizens of Los Angeles? I'm not judgmental.

Seriously, one virtue of such prejudice: it keeps the narrow-minded away.

crazy pastor chris said...

Yep...and here in the Northwest, it rains all the time...and because of the rain, everyone is either suicidal or an alcoholic...and we're all just a bunch of tree-hugging granola types who wear Birkenstocks and drink coffee all the time so we don't sleep through the gray of winter. OK...maybe the coffee part is true. Gotta love the stereotypes!

Feral Mom said...

This post makes me unspeakably happy. Thank you! I am looking forward to our visit and will, of course, blog about it. FYI, the stereotype about Iowans being "so by-god stubborn we could stand touching noses for a week at a time, and never see eye to eye" is NOT true, goddamn it. It's not!

Feral Mom said...

We're back, and enjoyed LA immensely, though probably spent too much time in the hotel and hotel bar. Blame the fact that it was the first vacation sans babies! See the full report over at Gone Feral.