Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Something positive about LA

I realize I slam Los Angeles a lot. And I feel bad for that. Well, not really, but sometimes. But I'm not crazy. I'm not living in this god awful place just to torture myself. In fact, Los Angeles does have a lot of redeeming qualities that I probably don't talk about enough because I'm so busy being frustrated by the traffic and driving and parking and people.

But let's face it, today is yet another gorgeous and perfect day here in this fair city. And while some may say it's superficial to care about or live in a place solely for the weather (and maybe it is) the weather is pretty important. I mean, the weather affects your life EVERY DAY! If you live in a city or state that's really cold half the year - and really humid the other part of the year (see: most of the United States) then doing anything simple like grocery shopping or getting gas for your car is a production. Ugh. If it rains, you can't do almost anything outside. And that's not a bad thing. But in Los Angeles, we are incredibly spoiled by the gorgeous weather that we can hike, bike, run, walk, rollerblade, play tennis, surf almost any day of the year. That makes for a generally happy population that is outside and exercising and eating heathily.

What else? There are about ten million different kinds of restaurants. Most people I've met in LA are pretty open-minded about food (except for my ex Todd - hi Todd!) and sushi is a regular fave. Not only do we have sushi but we have some of the best sushi in the world and at reasonable prices. Just the other day my guy and I found a good, cheap sushi spot right on Sawtelle. Sushi for 2 for <$30 and it was good? Wow! Where else can you find that?

Of course, there's the beach and if you're ever feeling blue, all you need to do is go for a walk along the beach. You can do this 365 days a year and if you ski, you can do that most every day of the winter.

We have farmer's markets on almost every block on almost every day of the week. I've never eaten so well as when I've lived in California - no more soda for me it's all water and iced tea and green tea and fresh fruits and veggies year round.

The shopping is insane. I remember growing up in Connecticut where there was only one decent mall within a 45 minute drive. Now I go back home and go to that mall and laugh at how small it is. Within 45 minutes of where I live in LA there must be 8-10 large malls or shopping centers. We have better clothes and more of a selection or everything from frozen yogurt to drug stores to you name it than anywhere I've ever seen except maybe Manhattan.

And yes, I complain all the time about the selfish and self-absorbed people that LA attracts and sometimes nurtures. But you know what? You don't have to hang out with those people. I've learned to cut out selfish and weird people from my life. And while that may mean being alone more than I like, it's a LOT better than being around people who only think about themselves.

And there are some AMAZING people here. I've made some truly great, supportive, caring and wonderful friends. It's just hard to see them these days because they may live further out of the city now, be in a relationship, be married and/or have a kid (or 2 or 3). But they are still there. Being caring and supportive over the phone or email or facebook.

So yeah, LA is a crazy place. It used to be wonderful 95% of the time and maybe now it's 50% or 60% or 75% (or 2% depending on what day you ask me) and I suppose a lot of the things I love about it are superficial. And superficial things will not make you happy in the long run.

But you can make changes in your life and meet new people and join new organizations. Join a new gym or find new meetup groups or join a church or do something to meet better people because if it's one thing LA does well, is bring new people to the city every day.

Perhaps the most positive thing about LA is that people come here from all over the country (and world) to pursue their dream. Now while that may attract a fair number of delusional and insane people, it also attracts some incredibly ambitious, smart, hard-working, passionate people. And I always thought it was crazy to work some boring 9 to 6 job in a grey cubicle or office pushing papers around doing nothing of any note for the better part of one's life. No, people in Los Angeles wanted something better for their life. They didn't want a normal, mundane existence working in finance or law or accounting. They wanted to do something fun or something they are passionate about every day. Something creative. Something different. And, and the end of the day, no matter how bad things get here in this city, that's something I will always admire and respect about Angelinos. No one will ever call us boring.

Monday, May 2, 2011

You can pursue your dreams and *still* be a decent human being

Someone very wise once told me that people move to Los Angeles to escape their problems. Now while I'm not sure that is true of everyone that moves here, I do think it's true of many people. And as a result, the culture leaves something to be desired.

But come on people, just because you are here and a bit messed up emotionally, doesn't let you off the hook from being a decent human being.

Maybe there is something wrong with a family who would let one of their children move to Los Angeles to pursue their career in writing or being in a band or making a movie or what have you. Or, one could argue the opposite viewpoint - that a loving, caring family would support and encourage their child to do whatever makes them happy.

All I know it that I've managed to pursue my "dreams" here in Los Angeles and still look out for others and be a kind and caring person. A lot of other people I've met? Not so much.

Now am I just better at multi-tasking? Perhaps. But earth to people of Los Angeles: the world does not revolve around you and what you want and need. Perhaps your parents spoiled you too much when you were growing up. So you grew up a bit selfish and self-absorbed and LA only feeds that unhealthiness. I don't know. I don't buy it. We all make choices in our life and if we choose to run around only caring about ourself, what kind of world does that create? Would you want to be friends with someone who just cared about themself?? Especially in a time of need? I wouldn't....

However, as I get older, I see more and more of this selfish behavior manifest itself in unhealthy ways. I mean, is it unreasonable for me to expect I should have one friend, or one roommate in my life, that cares enough about me when I'm sick to get me soup? Or ask how I'm feeling? I've lived with a few people over the years who haven't helped me at all when I've been sick and to me, that just shows me how selfish and self-absorbed they are. If I knew someone was sick, even if it was a neighbor or someone I did not know really well, I would absolutely offer to help them get medicine or chicken soup. But someone you live with or are close to? Forget it. They've got better things to do.

Unfortunately, Los Angeles attracts people who are emotionally damaged or crippled.


Maybe I'm the selfish one.

I mean, I'm a grown woman.

Why should anyone help me when I am sick?

Especially when they have better things to do?

Well, I'm not sure of the answer but I can't help but dream of a place where people care about other people. And if I knew my neighbor or friend was sick, I would offer to get them soup.

In fact, this very thing happened a few months ago.

A good friend of mine was so sick that she couldn't leave her place to get herself any food.

And while one could argue Pink Dot or delivery is phone call away, let's be honest. Pink Dot isn't going to have chicken soup or your favorite item from the supermarket when you are sick. Your local restaurant isn't going to bring you a huge container of Tropicana orange juice.

We should all have at least one person in our life who cares about us enough to get us soup and a favorite beverage when we're too sick and weak to leave the house.

So, I offered to go to Whole Foods and pick up my friend some soup.

She was really happy.

And I know she'd do the same for me in return.

As for everyone else, I say, epic fail.

I know I complain a lot about Los Angeles and people here. And I know I should leave. I'm working on it. Truly. But meanwhile, I hope you have someone who cares enough about you to get you chicken soup when you are sick.