Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer in Traffic

I live on the East Side, but I work on the West Side.  When I moved to Los Angeles, I found this scenario unthinkable.  I’d found a place in Hollywood, and while I looked for work, I looked solely east of La Cienega.   If I ran across an appealing day job that was based on the West Side, I wouldn’t apply, and would only consider driving to the West Side for a paid acting gig.  I eventually had to weaken this personal boundary in order to pursue a broader range of opportunities, and finally the wall came down altogether.  I now spend nearly to two hours in my car every day, commuting from home to work and back.  On days when I have auditions or meetings elsewhere in the city, this time increases dramatically.  One day, I spent over four hours driving, without leaving the confines of Los Angeles.

This is a key complaint amongst people who proclaim to dislike Los Angeles, or amongst those who’ve agreed to live here but merely tolerate it.  Traffic.  I’ve come to accept it.  That said, I take every chance I can to walk or ride the metro, and that’s what Carmageddon was for me: a weekend-long incentive to stay local, and use my feet or ride the metro when I wanted to go out.  It was great, and put me very much in touch with summertime.

Summer in New York City is tactile, and not just because the heat glues itself to you.  You experience summer with every step – to work, on errands, out and about in your daily life.  You’ll stop along the way for an iced coffee and walk down the street with it chilling your hand.  You’ll grab a seat in Madison Square garden on your lunch break, and notice what sandals every girl is wearing.  You’ll make note of how the fabric on your body is moving with the breeze, or clinging to your body on a breezeless day, and you’ll amend tomorrow’s outfit accordingly.  You’ll drink beverages that you don’t usually order in the winter – mint juleps, jalapeno margaritas, caipirinhas.   Your friends who live in apartments with any bit of outdoor space will host “garden” parties.   Your favorite bars will open their patios or balconies.  All throughout the city, you’ll feel summer.

Though the garden parties in LA are held in real gardens in spacious backyards (sometimes even with pools), these parties take place all year round, just as the patios and balconies are open all year. There’s no seasonal ceremony to ordering an iced coffee, nor will you notice it chilling your hand as you walk down the street, because instead, it will chill the beverage holder in your car.  You’ll drive past the parks most days, unless you have a confirmed reason to go to one on the weekend – for an event, or a movie screening.  Chances are, you won’t just be walking through a park and grabbing a seat on a bench for a spell.  The weather will, as always, be good, but you’ll be in your car, with the air conditioning on.  Here in LA, you don’t feel summer as much as you just feel LA.

So it goes.  It’s nice here.  What’s new? 

1 comment:

Raina said...

Makes me miss you and summer in LA all the more. I've heard of the caipirinha but have yet to try one. Let's make it soon. At one of these fantastic pool parties ;)