If there's one thing about Los Angeles I can't stand it's how artificial everything feels.
No, I take that back, it's the traffic.
No. Maybe it's the shallow people I meet everywhere... Wait, is that the same as what I first said?
Dammit I'm confused.
It never rains here, so from the perpetual sunshine distracting you from the fact that the planet is indeed in orbit, to the fugly blond trophy wives that clumsily drive around in their absurdly large Range Rovers, very few things and people give you a sense that you're living in a real world, and that you all actually exist. The city itself is arbitrarily stitched together with concrete and asphalt, and the only thing that distinguishes a "good" part of town from a "bad" part of town is that someone, somewhere made a decision a long time ago that Beverly Hills would be a place that should make you want to vomit, and anywhere east of the 101 should make you fear for your life.*
Speaking of the 101...
Not long ago, after drinking a few beers and singing a few tacky karaoke songs, I found myself abandoned on the curb in front of the Pig 'N Whistle in Hollywood very late on a Thursday night--a very unfortunate and distressing situation that more or less forced me into taking a cab back to the west side. This sucked. Also, it cost me $35, which sucked even harder.
And it's too bad, because it was a really fun night...
The full-length story leading up to my cab ride home is actually pretty entertaining, but lucky for some people, that is not the enlightening life-anecdote I've chosen to try to learn from tonight.** Rather, I'd like to discuss the cab ride itself.
It was a very average looking cab, yellow on the outside and musty with the scent of hundreds of other weepy, abandoned late-night karaoke addicts, with a very average looking Armenian driver. I sat in the backseat, so as to spare this quiet man the pathetic little display of tears I was indulging. Also, because I think sitting in the front seat of a cab is one of the most uncomfortable situations a person can find him or herself in and should be avoided at any cost.
I was pretty upset, but even in the throes of childish whimpering I knew there was nothing more girly and pitiful than crying in the back of a cab. Upon realizing this somewhere between Fairfax and La Cienega, I figured it wouldn't hurt to sack up and make some friendly-ish conversation with my driver. I was sort of drunk and disheveled, and ten minutes earlier a nicely dressed but rather short businessman had seen me crying on the sidewalk approached me offering money (for a cab of course, you asshole)... so I was hard up for a ride, but at least I wasn't in the driver's seat of a Yellow Cab at 1:30 AM, you know. If anything I was doing this guy a favor.
"So where are you from?" I asked.
This wasn't rude of me. It was a good question. He was clearly not from America and there is absolutely nothing racist about that. I just wanted to know which kinds of generalizations I could make about him and whether or not I could guess what he'd eaten for dinner that night.
"Iran," he replied.
Fuck. I thought he was Armenian. Oh well, close enough.
"Oh wow, that's far," I said, like a complete moron. "So do you miss it?"
This question also made me sound like a moron. I guess since I miss living in Northern California, I falsely assume that anyone not from here would naturally pine for the place they call Home. Even if that's Iran. Remarkably, he responded the way I had predicted, mentioning that Yes sometimes he did in fact miss living in Iran, mostly because he missed being close to family, but in 1989 when he left the country it had gotten too dangerous to stay...and after having been a soldier in the Iranian military for two years, moving to the United States looked like a good option...
Hmm. Iranian military...I guess he needed a change of pace?
We continued down Sunset, the boulevard of broken dreams, and the snot on my cheek was almost fully dry when he mentioned one last thing he missed about his homeland, in the form of something he didn't like about LA:
"It seems like nothing here smells good. Flowers are all pretty but...no smell. Same with the fruit. I go to Ralphs, buy very big apple, but I not smell it."
Dude. That was deep.
Sitting in the back seat of that musty cab, I thought about my life, and all of my fruit buying experiences. I too have purchased many a very big apple, and it's true that even at Whole Foods they are almost never fragrant. In all their bio-engineered goodness, even fruit loses it's authenticity living in this city.
LA is all about size and style. You can't even buy an everyday watermelon without having to purchase it leather boots, leggings, and a pashmina. Even then, it's probably not the right pashmina...
Oh, and by the way your melons better be huge. And expensive.
Perhaps on some level I have an "If you can't beat 'em join 'em" mentality. I mean, I do have more than 2 overpriced purses (I just love them!), and maybe I care more than I should about how I look when I go out, but fuck you if this place doesn't give you a complex.
But even I, the eternal pessimist, can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I won't live here forever.
Plus, what would I blitch (blog+bitch) about, if not my scorn for Southern California?
Today it was all of 78 degrees.
Nothing here feels real.
Except maybe for my melons.
*Ew, I hate everything east of the 101.
**For those of you who've never read my blog, that's what I do. I learn from my life. You should try it some time.