Friday, February 07, 2014

Lost in LA

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, Yo shi.

Today is Friday! I think I am supposed to be writing something about Los Angeles – my adopted hometown, the birthplace of my marriage and my babies, a pivotal place in the Lisa Journey – in honor of the upcoming 20th anniversary of my relocation here. 

When I first moved to Los Angeles in January of 1995, I was living with my then-boyfriend (now ex of many many years), in a half-way decent apartment on Hollywood Boulevard. If you are familiar with Los Angeles, you will be horrified to hear that I was actually living on Hollywood Boulevard, but if I tell you that it was the part west of La Brea, in fact almost as far west as Fairfax, you will realize that it was okay. Yes, even in those days before Hollywood was starting to reinvent itself a bit, that stretch of Hollywood Boulevard was fairly safe. Although I do believe that after I moved out and my ex was still living there, the apartment was burglarized one day while he was out. 

At any rate, it was a half-way decent apartment, and it was on a bus line, which was crucial, since I did not have a car. As a Bostonian, I was raised on transit lines, and I did not get a driver’s license until I was 20. I did not actually own a car and drive on the regular until I was 27. It is a vastly different lifestyle, being from a city where one walks, or rides the subway or the bus wherever one wants to go. I arrived in Los Angeles, one of the biggest cities in the world, and I expected to walk out of my apartment and that a bus would come by within five to ten minutes. A bus schedule? Who ever heard of something so ridiculous? 

Oh, silly, silly 26-year-old me. That was a pipe dream. 

But here is one thing I loved: the section of Hollywood Boulevard where I lived had sky-scraping palm trees lining the sides of the street, and you had to crane your neck way back to see the tops.

I loved that a few blocks down the street, when we would stroll along on one of the side streets between Hollywood and Sunset Blvds. (was it Curson? Was it Sierra Bonita? I can’t say), there were all these adorable bungalows, and that in the front yard of one of them, behind a four-foot high fence, there were two massive Great Danes – one black and white, one tan – and they would bark a couple of times as we came near and heave themselves up and lay their great paws and legs over the fence easily, still with their hind feet on the ground, and fawn all over us and let us rub their giant microwave-sized heads, and wag their tails with great dignity. 

I loved that I could walk to the Alpha Beta supermarket at the corner or Fairfax and Santa Monica (sadly, no more – it is a Whole Foods) and that I might run into Angelyne in the parking lot. 

I loved the unexpectedness of it all, the vastness of it, the random bits of delightful weirdness which seemed part and parcel of Hollywood life – all the more remarkable because I had resisted moving there in the first place. LA was such a sprawl, I thought. I feared it. I might be lost in it. And I was, lost in it. But not in a bad way.


Bridget said...

What a wonderful post, Lisa. You brought me out of this Suckfest of Winter up here in Portland to imagine towering palm trees and Great Danes with microwave sized heads and wagging tails of dignity. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I SO needed that.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Your comment made me realize how much of LA I have come to take for granted! I know it is gray and rainy/snowy in much of the US and yet I just motor along, not being fully present in this moment. It is so weird and beautiful in LA and I want to make sure I fully appreciate it each day.

Now write me a little slice of Portland! :)