Sometimes I Feel Like My Only Friend Is The City I Live In The City Of Angeles. As Lonely As I Am Together We Cry
-Red Hot Chili Peppers
I don’t think you can really understand Los Angeles, “The City Of Angeles,” unless you’ve grown up here. I’ve grown up here. I’m that virtual unicorn called a “Los Angeleno native.”
It makes me laugh when I get recruiters calling me for jobs that are “just 15-20 miles” from my home. “It’s so close for you! You should reconsider its only a 20 minute drive!” They say.
I just start laughing. “20 minutes in a perfect rainbow world free of the beast called Los Angeles Traffic!” 20 minutes and 20 miles can easily turn into 1-1.5 hours depending on which day of the week, season, and let’s not forget about if the clouds decide to cry and give you rain!”
But if you are lucky enough like me to construct your life around the beast called traffic, Los Angeles is a magical city!
Recently, I was working in south central Los Angeles. One of the best parts of my day was to have these beautiful Mexican women making alley dogs ( hotdogs roasted with bacon), quesadillas, and of course tacos: con todo!
Yummy beef tacos with salsa verde with a side of cucumbers and radishes. A tasty lunch for 3 bucks!
After work, a coworker asks if I want a ride to my car. ” You know it’s not so safe” she adds.
” I’m street smart!” I answer, and I have my pink pepper spray with me that I bought from the 99 cent store. Though, I’ve never had to use it and I’m not sure of it works?
You have to be street smart if you live in Los Angeles, which basically means aware of your surroundings and connected with your intuition! I’ve worked in all areas in the height of gang wars. I was told not to wear “red” or “blue” scrubs at certain hospitals. I even had to get security to escort me to and from my car sometimes. That’s how bad it use to be.
You learn to deal with the elements in order to do your job.
And much like Harry Potter and his invisibility cloak, I wear my white lab coat out as I walk the 3-4 blocks to my car. In essence I feel that it will protect me from any “Voldemort’s” who could be lurking in the area.
I press the signal light with my knuckles as I wait for the red hand sign to turn to the the white walking man so that I can cross, hobbling through desolate train tracks, pot holed asphalt, and a mural that reads: “Forgiveness.” A 3 legged chihuahua off leash scurries by to keep up with its human owner, an older African American gentleman walks off the buss towards me and I hear the tip tap of his shoes. I look down at his feet and see that he’s wearing tattered tap shoes. He notices my intrusive stare towards his shoes and tries to walk silently. I catch his gaze and smile, he smiles back a toothless grin and tips his black hat to me.
As I continue my stroll to my car my mind starts to focus on the “beast” called traffic. My thoughts are thwarted back to my present moment by evangelical singing of ” santo santo dios,” blasting from a bullhorn into the streets. I follow the singing and find myself looking into a place of worship where a man with a bull horn continues chanting evangelical hymns to a crowd of one man and 2 women wearing veils over their heads.
Half a block away from my car I notice there are several police cars in the parking area where my car sits waiting. As I get closer I notice there’s a football game happening at the school adjacent to my parking lot. The police have detained and placed handcuffs on 2 Latino teenage males. The boys stand with their hands behind their backs as police interrogate them.
I get in my car and I put my key in the ignition, I see that the police have released the handcuffs on the boys, and they have been set free.
It’s 730pm and the beast called traffic has winded down, my commute is only 35 minutes today.
The next day I do the trendy Los Angeleno workout thing and go to sweat cycle in Toluca Lake! I sit in the lobby and fix my bike shoes adjusting the screws on my cleat before prepping to sweat out my week, the stress of the beast called traffic, and those yummy tacos!
I look up and see a guy lost in his boyish adolescence sitting across from me. He flips through a magazine. He’s handsome. He’s familiar. He’s ” Brandon” aka Jason Priestly from 9210.
This is my Los Angeles.