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In the L.A. River Again

posted at 3:56 am
on Jan. 11, 2008

Comments: 5 so far

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George Came to Visit

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Susie and I are back in L.A. for a short business trip.

I haven’t had much time to blog.  There’s no time for anything in L.A.  There’s no time to eat dinner, there’s no time to meet, to exercise, to relax, because whatever you want to do, you spend 25% of that time just getting to where you’re going.

We landed at the airport and from the baggage claim to the house of our friends Robin and Amy was 90 minutes.  In Calgary, it’s 25 minutes, and in Vancouver it’s 15 minutes.

We got on the rental car shuttle, and the driver was playing Hilary Clinton’s Iowa primary acceptance speech.

The next day, driving with Susie from the offices of our client Truthdig to dinner at Le Petit Bistro, I was reminded again of the illusion of variety that makes L.A. so fascinating.  As we drove and drove, everything we passed was the promises of new experiences, of delis and dance clubs and speciality grocery stores and houses in every architectural style imaginable.

We passed a 99 Cent store that had 20 foot ceilings. We passed a Mexican place called “El Burrito” whose logo was a huge cartoon burro, and a podiatrist whose logo was a twinned set of happy/sad feet.

But in L.A., what you see isn’t what you get.  The services within are really not as special as the signs make them seem. The arterial stone freeways promise unhindered flow through the city, but they’re actually slower, and busier, and uglier, than surface streets.

And nothing turns out to be all that special when we got close enough to look closely.  The burro shack was empty.  The 99 Cent store was closed. And the delis and dance clubs have “B"s in the window.  The movie theater we wanted to go to was closed for a premier of “First Sunday.”

When we got to dinner, the people slowly filling up the large table next to us al looked so hip and well-coiffed, we started to imagine a TV show we could cast them all in, some sort of hip comedy.  (Almost everyone in L.A. writes a pilot, except for the ones working on a screen play.)

Turns out, though, that the folks at the table were the entourage and eventually appearing were the stars, of HBO’s Flight of the Conchords. So they already had a TV show to be in.

Earlier, we had had to explain to new clients why we moved away to Vancouver, and with sun streaming through the full-length windows into their 15th floor board room, I found it hard, looking out over Griffith Park, to remember exactly why we left.

But when we left the meeting and went for lunch, and there was nothing within walking distance to eat, and the people walking by us were all pasty and pudgy and stressed looking, and our friends cancelled dinner because they were too sick and stressed from overwork to come out, we remembered.

And so we’re coming back to Vancouver again, on Saturday.



 
 

 

Previous entry:
George Came to Visit

Next entry:
L.A.: Update

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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