Sunday, June 17, 2007

So Glad to Meet You, Angeles

Los Angeles does not believe in sunrises.

Instead, each day dawns slightly cloudy, with a chance of meatballs (or, in my case an 80 percent chance of peanut butter toast and orange juice). I know that somewhere behind the gray smear of fog and clouds, somewhere between the hours of five and six, the sun is rising. But I've never seen it.

Los Angeles is also a city that seems to revel in its irony. I have quickly learned that here, we like tofu and fresh produce, but most of us don't seem to care whether the produce is organic or not and whether the tofu is grown locally or shipped here by a giant jet from Sri Lanka. Eco-chic is totally in and so is the environment, but if there were a march to raise awareness about global warming, EVERYONE would drive there in their cars. If Los Angeles is concerned about its ecological footprint, chances are it is less interested in the size and more interested in whether it was made with a pair of this year's Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos from last season.

In a city where everyone is looking for their place in the sun, it amazes me how little sun we actually see. June gloom doesn't burn off until until noon or so--and every morning, I begin doubting the sun's ability to break through the heavy cloud cover. Walking out of the office, I am always amazed to be greeted by sunlight and balmy, 75 degree weather. And equally amazed to walk past seemingly hundreds of people sitting in traffic inside their air-conditioned cars (and hopefully listening to NPR), completely oblivious to the miracle of sunshine.

A lot I guess gets lost in the haze of LA movers, rumors, and trends. One thing that does shine clearly here is that there may be a big difference between those who believe ardently in causes, and those who follow the latest movement or fad. Los Angeles, to me, seems like this amazing intersection between the believers and the trend-setters...a place where maybe, just maybe you can have both on the same side of the issue, combating environmental injustice or embracing a vegan lifestyle for very different reasons, but achieving more than lone activists in most places in this country. In spite of its SUVs, I really do think LA has something going for it--if we're willing to take its sunshine, flippancy, and irony in stride, maybe it is worth believing a little in the City of Angels.


Allison said...

Very nice. Noticing nature and people is one of my favorite pastimes.

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