I’ve been to a handful of places around the world and no other city has the same effect on me like Los Angeles does.
Sometimes I love it, but most of the time, well, I don’t. I always cringe whenever I’m faced with the prospect of going but once I’m here, everything turns out to be OK. Part of the reason why I can’t stand the place is the fact that I don’t know how to drive.
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Well, I know how to drive an automatic car but I don’t know how to park.
And I don’t have a driver’s license. I had a student’s license many, many years ago but it expired.
I just can’t be bothered going through the sheer inconvenience of trying to learn how to drive again because I do not have the patience, let alone free time, to do so.
LA is a massive city where driving is de rigueur. I once walked a mile and people thought I was cray cray! But what can I do? Cabs are difficult to find and sometimes, they don’t even show up when you call them. I had to rely on gracious friends to drive me around (on a side note, my gurl Rumi is a really good driver!!) but I can’t do that all of the time especially when they have things going on in their life.
As for cabs, well, let me tell you about the time I had a very important meeting in Glendale. Rumi slept over at my place in West Hollywood so she dropped me off in Glendale the next morning on her way back to Silverlake. Because she had things to do, I was on my own to go back to West Hollywood. It took me about an hour to wait for a cab to pick me up and then I paid roughly around $160 to go back! Can you imagine? I’d be paying three hundred bucks roundtrip if Rumi didn’t drop me off that day.
LA is so big that it doesn’t have a decent and speedy public transport system. I felt like a crippled person!
Driving dilemmas aside, LA is the only city where I felt so insecure about my body. A lot of people have terrific bodies. Everything about them is fake but they’re perfect. The girls are thin, the guys are all muscly. People look good! There are gyms in every corner. In West Hollywood, even the gyms have rainbow flags in them. I’d love to see WeHo queens go on a death match with Chelsea queens in New York.
They have all these “healthy options” type of places everywhere, even cafes have 10-word drinks. Whatever happened to just wanting iced tea? No, it’s not available. But they do have “organic Moroccan mint tea with bobba beads, soy latte and light ice”, which, btw, I love.
Lawd have mercy.
Whenever I go to places, I like to “unlock” the city within the first two days of me setting foot. Not in LA. It’s tough to crack. No matter how many times I go back, I can’t get my bearings. In cities like New York, Milan or Paris, it’s piss easy. You know where to go and how to get there. I often question myself, where do all the young, beautiful people go in Los Angeles? There’s always that aroma of mysteriousness wafting around in the air. Sometimes I feel like LA is just one big illusion. A city filled with smoke and mirrors. You see all these glittery LA places online, on magazines, on yes, TMZ, and think to yourself ‘oh wow, it’s fabulous’ and then once you’re there, bam, there’s nobody or it’s boring.
In hindsight, maybe that’s what makes LA special. Everything only exists in your imagination.