This is where I live.
I don’t have my mail delivered here. There is a mailbox out in front of a place that bears an address, to which my bills go to.
Yet what you see before you speaks of Los Angeles to me. Day in, day out, on the freeways crisscrossing the landscape, the traffic piles up and crawls along. It colors everything about my experience here.
I am tied with these ribbons of roadwork and road rage. They leave me off balance. Will 15 miles take 15 minutes or an hour? I often arrive at my destination very early. I often arrive at my destination late. Occasionally when I get where I am going, I can find a place to park.
It has made a difference. It has altered my personality and my activities, and even my friendships. There are people I would no doubt be more involved with, if only they lived 30 miles North, rather than 30 miles South.
The 405. The 101. The 5. The 10. My brother in law visited recently and he asked us why do you call it “The”, isn’t it just 405? He was teasing, but I was serious in trying to explain why these expensiveways deserve a definitive article. They are more than a means to an end. They color moods and determine timing. It is not a road, it is a relationship. My husband spends more waking minutes with the 405 on most weekdays then he does with me. She can be a harsh mistress, but she treats us equally unfairly.
And this, this is what passes as my love letter to Los Angeles.
That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.
Los Angeles has been good enough to me. I am better off in every way than I was when I arrived. I have plans for things to get better still. I do not believe that anyplace else would have been a better move for us, when we made the move here, even though the traffic often barely moves at all.
It is not my true home. I expect to go elsewhere when career matters matter less.
People mover, parking lot, bearer of friends and enemies, source of frustration, porter of goods, enabler and inhibitor of interaction – this is where I live.