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February 27, 2007

TT: Springing eternal

Apropos of Monday’s posting about my visit to Los Angeles, a friend who now lives in New York writes:

I'm from California, and had a close college friend who lived in Santa Monica, but other than strolling along the Palisades—the romance of palm trees, and they really are so ridiculous as to have to be romantic—I never really spent any time in LA until a few years ago, the coldest winter, when a close friend and I took off for LA with some sort of pipe dream of leaving everything and moving—really, anywhere. Anywhere that was absolutely elsewhere. And LA, from what we knew (nothing, really), seemed like a pretty good fit.

It felt just like you said: where was the there? Avenues extended for miles and miles and then a tiny huddle of shops and cafes that the natives thought counted as a neighborhood. I suspect all the action happens indoors. Did you go inside any of the Spanish-style homes? They're laid out in such a luxurious way. Ample square rooms with windows on all sides and the palm trees leaning in. The rents are low. You can have space. I think people don't mind getting in their cars and driving to one another's houses because when they get there, they get to stretch their legs. Here we live in closets, which takes some of the appeal off spending an hour driving around in one.

The one thing, though, I really loved (vain creature that I am) is that whenever we would stop driving and go into some funky cafe, everyone would look up. The neighborhoods, such as they are, are so isolated from one another and at the same time so possible to get to—and people will drive—that anyone walking in the door could be someone you want to know. As a Californian, I loved that. I loved all that misplaced hope....

And I love that last sentence.

Posted February 27, 2007 12:00 PM

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