LA- it’s like a chocolate bar you hate eating but can’t help chomping into. The sun, the beach, the diversity, but also the smog and the cars and the traffic. “You get used to it,” says my friend as we approach lane upon lane of traffic.
I, the budding LA scientist hired by secret corporations in DC, performed a study today. I counted the total number of bicyclists in this sprawling megalopolis. How many? 4 bicycles and cheap ones you wouldn’t mind getting stolen. Gone are the sports bicycles of the San Fran hills. Gone are the bike lanes that keep us safe. Want to get around LA? Better have a car or you will wait for a lifetime for the bus.
“Let’s just throw streets arounds these hills,” said the founding fathers of LA, “let’s just make an oasis in this desert.”
And God gave us LA, and he said it was good enough. Don’t get me wrong. LA is full of sights and sounds. Where else are you going to find a record shop that specializes in punk and ska? Where else are you going to see Mexican burritos with real chorizo in them?
It feels like an American Mexico, with its long strips of concrete shops. It feels like the glamor is really just the dust and the grit of Raymond Chandler’s hills. It is a desert and one that is expensive and struggling to renew itself. Seattle is far more beautiful and bicycle friendly. Yes, it is the capital of entertainment. Yes, it is gritty and weird and cool.
It is a love hate relationship, not too unlike the one people have for NYC, the oasis for the East-coast masses. It is the dystopian future of a people that have refused to change their ways, like Chris Burden’s vision shown below: