I’m not supposed to like L.A.
I’m from Boston, and we’re diametrically opposed. Here in Boston, we believe in character and suffering. We’re neurotic about our sports and our weather, cold and harsh, serves to tie us to our native lands. We have seasons here, and brutal, vicious winters that baptize us in frosty punishment. Call it our puritanical drive for punishment, but we feel bound to it. Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome, but we prize our winters even as we hate them.
L.A, meanwhile, is another world.
L.A, has never known suffering. It’s a plateau of peace and calm. It has the best weed, the best fast food, beautiful people and beautiful weather. It’s calm and glorious, and, from the East, it feels unearned. It’s seen as artificial. We resent it, assuming something beneath the Stepford Wives perfection the city represents. We call it shallow, vain, and self-obsessed but is it? Or are we trading in dusty stereotypes of fame and fortune as shallow as our claims of the city itself?
What if we let go of our resentment? What if we accept that L.A. is out there, waiting for us to love ourselves enough to allow ourselves some happiness?
New England is tied to New York City as our target; either as our ambition or as the devil we know. Los Angeles, meanwhile, feels foreign and unfamiliar.
I don’t know Los Angeles that well. But, in that way, I can speak more accurately for those who don’t know L.A; how else would one convey the outsiders perspective except as an outsider? Besides, I’ve found there’s an inherent silence from its citizens: they have better things to do than defend their city, which, in a way, is its ultimate defense.
If you live in Los Angeles, or California proper, you know L.A. better than I do. But I’m not writing for you; I’m writing for the Northeast student who feels bound to their state and soil, and who has to invent something bad; why else wouldn’t they come to California, then?
L.A. has its problems, but those are boring to repeat here. Public transportation and urban sprawl; yes, those suck. But as gravity bends us to self-driving cars, those problems are only more solvable.
The advantages of L.A. and California proper are more unusual and important.
I’m not talking about the weather so much as the attitude and spiritual temperature of the county. Yes, spiritual. The East mocks your love of crystals, vibes, and meditation because we don’t, and, if we don’t, we figure its stupid.
I’ll be honest. It still sounds stupid. But that doesn’t matter, because it works. You are calmer, happier, less tightly bound and neurotic than us. Maybe if we don’t understand, that’s on us.
Maybe understanding is less important than the practicalities of success.
In New England, there’s a pride taken in our cynical intelligence. Bad weather breeds it; we complain and stress, but its true, we argue. It’s real. That means that California, now generalized as a vague, hazy whole, is not.
We know what contrapositives are.)
That, though, is defensive and logic. It’s wrapped in an anxiety that there could be a world better than ours, a brighter, happier, saner world. And, in our ignorance, we turn away from those concepts. We deride the easy, sunny, and spiritual as though those traits are incompatible with our lives.
Maybe they aren’t. And, maybe if they are, we’re the problem, not L.A.
It’s worth a thought.