To The West!

A little worm asks his father:
-Daddy, why do some worms get to live in apples and oranges and we live in a pile of shit?
-Because it’s our Motherland, son…
Old Soviet Joke

When I was boarding a plane to Los Angeles last Wednesday I knew all about my destination.
It was full of aging hippies…

…who wear Birkenstocks year round…

…overrun with crime (I am pretty proud of this shot right in front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre)…

…chronic diseases…

…about to be washed out by a tsunami…

…infested with illegal tax preparers…

…where fat people are discriminated against while being taunted with snacks…

…and skinny people are being put on a pedestal.

But somewhere during my five days in LA, my American dream got kicked in the groin. For years I was arguing with my friends on both coasts that I live in a better place, full of parking and almost devoid of traffic, safe and with good schools, reasonable and affordable, while still having a chance to see recent Broadway shows and dine at ethnic restaurants. After every trip I returned home complaining about the crowding, overpriced real estate and horrible traffic everywhere I went, feeling good about the rush hour slowdown on the highway we refer to as “traffic” and my relatively minuscule mortgage payment.

LA made me realize how badly I was mistaken. My friends were right, I live in a Podunk town, in a boring provincial backwater where the foodies are taking turns revisiting the same 10 restaurants and 3 markets; where the same 6 women (and probably men) are at the top of all dating sites (albeit under different handles); where finding a date with at least two degrees of separation from your previous one is almost impossible; where any chain restaurant opening is an event worthy of TV news coverage and traffic congestion; where the only bragging rights are “at least we are not Tulsa or Omaha”. Indeed we are not.

At the same time there are wonderful magical places where it’s almost always warm and sunny but you can look up in the mountains and see the snow; where at any given time more women are dressed in heels and bikinis than the whole statistical female population of the KC Metro Area; where the people are always in a sunny mood and free of depression or PMS and are happily smiling even while being arrested; where the 52-week donut project would take 52 years and still will not be able to eat a donut at every one of them; where the restaurants from all over the world are open even in the areas that are not scary without bars on the windows; where the oranges and lemons grow in people’s backyards instead of the allergy-inducing trees that are planted here for some mystical reasons; where the produce is not an imitation food sold here; where fat people are magically drawn outside to ride bikes or walk or run so even their over-consumption of donuts or cakes from a Cuban bakery around the corner is not detrimental to their health; where driving up and down the mountain roads makes one feel like James Bond; where you “can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile”.

So I told my daughter to pick a college in California, the only place where my American dream can make another run for it.

Maybe I can take a ride on the “Possibility bus”…

…or just mount my Focus on top of a school bus…

…I can trow down my magical money blanket on the sand…

…or pour my lifetime savings into a yacht…

…just so I can see this…

…or this…

…and this…

…and I will wait as long as I have to.

P.S. I don’t need to know why it’s so great to live here and why it sucks in California. Trust me – I know. And learn about hyperbole.

  • Burrowowl

    I’m glad to see you enjoyed yourself here. We get a lot of refugees migrating here from the midwest, many of whom have even funnier accents than yours.

  • Yep, it’s the best. Glad you had a good time! Thanks for all the pics!

  • Joe

    Now you know why I put up with all the bullshit it takes to live in California. I never shovel “partly cloudy” and can golf and ride my scooter 12 months a year. It costs a mint to live here, and I am leaving once I retire, but still.

  • I’ve no desire to even visit California, but lately I’m getting an intense desire to visit my sister in Mission, Texas. Just to warm up, you know.

  • I travel for JOOLS

    I moved here from a beautiful place, albeit cold, and couldn’t stand it, begging to go home but he would not. Face it. Kansas is BORING. Missouri has the Lake of the Ozarks and mountains so at least it has some beauty, but there are plenty of other drawbacks. Now, all these years later, my daughter has established her life here with her family and so I stay because of them.

    Don’t wait or you’ll never leave.

  • I’ve been trying to peel my mother-in-law off the Astas long enough to return to Santa Cruz, which I personally find to be the best of all posible worlds; just south of Half Moon Bay, an hour away from San Francisco, less than an hour north of Monterey and Pebble Beach, great weather, good universities, the world’s feshest produce….

    i may just have to drug the ol’ bat.

  • The Neilitist

    Jeez, that cinches it. I’m staying. Call me when you get here.

  • Meesha, move away from thar!

  • I don’t think I can afford the Beverleee

  • Oxana

    Замечательный отпуск 🙂

  • midtown miscreant

    If I could afford it, I’d move to the L A area in a minute, probably Redondo Beach area. as much as I love KC, I’m sick of the winter bullshit.

  • Wanda

    It’s true. All my years in NYC I heard what a horrible place CA was. Then I went there and I was like: Bullshit. Why don’t we all live here again? The weather, the food, the green, the art, the food, the culture, the music (one of the best symphonies in the country, with possibly the best programming), the food, have I mentioned the food???? Amazing produce, lime and avocado trees in people’s yards, amazing Iranian, Armenian, Mexican of course, Vietnamese, and and that’s not even mentioning reason #1: best Korean food in the country. Please tell me you hailed the Kogi truck.

  • Not Wanda

    Oh, and yes, KC is boooooring. Tears-inducing boring. What passes for culture around here makes me very very sad.

    • I don’t complain about the culture too much, I wouldn’t be frequenting the symphony even if I lived in LA. But the food, that’s another story. We didn’t catch the Kogi truck, I just didn’t have the time to track it down, we were busy driving around high-income housing. Maybe next time.