Although I live in Los Angeles county, it’s easy for me to feel like I don’t entirely live in L.A. For one thing, we live in the San Fernando Valley, and everything feels a little less congested and crazy out here than it does downtown. For another, I work evenings and my freeway commutes generally occur when traffic is lighter. Add to that the fact that I’m an “indoor enthusiast” who likes to stay home and watch TV, read, game, or work on websites, and I feel like I could be living just about anywhere.
But every now and then I have a few days when I’m reminded that I actually do live in one of the biggest, craziest, sprawliest, weirdest cities ever. Usually this happens when we have visitors and we take them around to see the sites. This weekend Rick — an old friend of Jenn’s, a new friend of mine — was visiting, and on Saturday we spent most of the day out on the town. We drove the winding switchbacks of Mulholland Drive, taking in the vast smoggy views and seeing how the wealthy folks lived. We ambled up and down Hollywood Boulevard reading star names off the sidewalk (my favorites for the day: Steve McQueen and Rod Serling) and comparing our footprints to those of the celebrities at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. We ate lunch in Little Tokyo, then drove down to Carson to see the Los Angeles Galaxy take on D.C. United at the Home Depot Center. Since Rick is a United fan, we sat near the crazy D.C. fans who flew out for the game and got to hear the wild, drunken trash-talking and off-key chanting of the diehards from both sides. (Although my favorite comment from the stands came from a little kid a few rows behind us: “You’re offsides, Homey!”) We also got to join in the raucous celebrations when Landon Donovan scored not one, but two goals in the final ten minutes to win it for the Galaxy. (Sorry, Rick!) It was a fun day, tiring and entertaining, and one of those days that made me appreciate all that L.A. has to offer.
To top it off, on Monday I had jury duty in Hollywood. Which, in a considerably different way, felt like a very L.A. experience. You know you’re in Tinseltown when there are photos of celebrity jurors in the assembly room. During my lunch hour, I made my way over to the Walk of Fame again looking for lunch and ended up grabbing a sandwich at a Trader Joe’s. Someone out front was hassling shoppers with a survey; to avoid them, I detoured into the parking garage, got turned around, and walked out an exit ramp, where I stumbled onto a movie set. The courtyard was jammed with film people, clearly in-between shots, and they sat around looking pretty much as bored as the potential jury folks waiting around for selection that morning. I wandered across the set to the sidewalk, unchallenged. No star sightings, alas, but still…only in L.A., right?