Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New York with Palm Trees?

I drove down the coast the other day and ended up In Brentwood. I remembered what the clerk in the DMV told me when I first arrived in Los Angeles. She was from Upstate New York. She had me move close and said; “they’ll smile at you and act friendly, but don’t you trust them.” That was the best advice about West Los Angele I‘ve ever received.
I’d come from a job in journalism in New York City, and I would describe West L.A. as “New York with Palm Trees,” but that was doing New York a disservice.
Just because someone says “Let’s have lunch” means nothing. I learned to say “have your people call my people.” I, of course, had no people because I was a college professor, but this was West L.A. and you had to learn to blend in. I learned to never step into a crosswalk on San Vicente at seven a.m. because I’d just piss off the broker or banker who had to clean his bumper after he hit me going sixty.
Since I lived in a place that only elected Democrats, I learned what an important  word really meant. Having gone to the Maxwell School, I thought I knew what liberal was, but I was wrong. I was with a nice man who happened to be a pediatric specialist. He was going on about how the school system needed to be more integrated. I asked him why both of his children went to private school and he told me his kids were too sensitive. Since his daughter taught my daughter how to say f—k, I understood his plight. To be liberal is to help people poorer than you as long as you don’t have to touch them or go to school with them. But you could hire them as a nanny or housekeeper where they would work 70 hours a week, hoping the spoiled offspring wouldn’t make something up about them and get them fired and deported.
Since the city council never met a developer they didn’t like, it’s almost impossible now to drive east after three p.m. It can take between 30-45 minutes to get to the 10 freeway from UCLA. It got so bad I considered moving back to Syracuse and its 300 overcast days. The people are real there, but you can’t survive without a heated garage. I  taught at Newhouse with a  nice guy who was allergic to sunlight.
I have to go now, because you can never know if they’re going to tow your car. By the way did I tell you LA only survives because now photo tickets cost $450?

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