“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Elliot
Being from Los Angeles, I used to be oblivious to what the rest of the world was like, just didn’t care. I used to think this place was the best of anywhere else. After all, the world came to us and looked up to us… so I thought. I got lucky. At 17 I went away to the Marines, leaving California for almost a decade. At first, being away from sunny-all-year SoCal with its green hills, palm trees, and beaches ripe with bikini clad babes upset me. But you don’t get to wear a shit-eating grin by feeling safe all your life. I visited almost every continent, but I hate to admit it, I often times didn’t appreciate the places I was in because I kept comparing them to SoCal.
When I returned to LA, I was an adult in my mid twenties. I quickly realized this place is still the Wild West. Recalling any western movie and how the little towns consist of little wooden buildings. Well that’s what foreigners see when they come to this place. Except instead of a handful wooden buildings we have hundreds of thousands. All were meant to be constructed as cheaply and quickly as possible. Aluminum fences were never designed for their aesthetics. Russians for instance, consider our homes “dachas,” which are little summer houses they go to during the summer from their real home in the city. What we call a city, others view as an over-sized village that thinks too highly of it self.
We may have reached the frontier, but there are still more people that haven’t. Every day, more people continue to come to Los Angeles from all parts of the world to seek their fortune and bet it all. Its rare to meet someone who’s lineage is rooted in Los Angles past their parents. While most of us get along, to say this place is united would be a rotten joke. Just ask any kid in LA unified’s school system about unity and you’ll see the truth. Everyone has pride: Brown Pride, Korean Pride, Armenian Pride, White Supremacists, Black Lives Matter, the list goes on and on and the names more specific to smaller groups and down to specific street corners. The groups of disenfranchised people is infinite. Disenfranchised people that don’t have anything to lose, except pride itself. Pride which they fight over mostly violently at times. Just when they cast their differences aside, CNN, NBC, or any elite corporate entity quickly reminds them of their plight for “justice.”
The more the decades fly by, the higher the sky scrapers get, the more lavish the mansions on the hills become, and the more decrepit and hostile the streets have turned. Cowboys on horseback capping off six shooters have been replaced by thugs in speeding cars blasting AKs. Swindlers, conmen, and other scam artists, no longer steal your livestock, just your social security number. We may have snowflakes (I use the term endearingly) running around the streets denouncing misogyny and racism, but they spread the same barbaric hate and discontent their forefathers did, except their generation has college degrees to “justify” it. We like to think our city has changed, but not much if you ask me. It’s spirit remains unchanged.
Our biggest export may be produced in Hollywood, but our most unsung is all the tough men and women our streets forge. From the studios on Sunset Boulevard to the projects on the East and South and , to live in this place you have to earn it.
This may sound depressing or apocalyptic, but to me it’s all a part of an action packed comedy. Nothing like a chick with UV lamp roasted silicon tits, driving out of the yoga studio honking at the traffic, while snap chatting Sancho she’s going to be late because her kid has his first communion. Los Angeles is a Sci Fi Western playing out in 4D (or 10,11, or 26D for all my String Theory nerds reading), and I get to be a character in it. So everyday I wake up I ask what kind of character do I get to be? What kind of character are you? The choice is ours. The best part of it all is, when I climb into my metallic pony and plug in my data storage box (the one with the logo of a bitten apple) I get to choose my own soundtrack.