Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Now I'm really a Southern Californian

When I was out here for a semester back in 2003, I never really felt like an official L.A. resident. I mean, I may have lived here, breathed the smoggy air, and driven on the same crowded freeways now and then, but I never thought of myself as "really" experiencing L.A. After all, most everyone who is from here or who has lived here complains about one thing: traffic. And unfortunately (but fortunately in my mind) I never really experienced the harsh, repeated, mundaneness of the "parking lot" L.A. daily traffic jam.

Now though, is a new day. This quarter for school, my schedule forces me to be in rush hour traffic at least three mornings a week, which is big considering that makes my one-way commute roughly 1 and half to 2 hours. Now, I'm not trying to brag because in reality, it's not something I should even be bragging about. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit a small part of me actually likes being stuck in the traffic; a part that secretly loves being able to finally say, "Were you driving on the 10 freeway this morning at 7:00?" or "Wasn't traffic on the 101 / 210 / 605 / 710 / 105 freeway simply unbearable last night!!??" These complaints are not just about complaining but are about one's identity. Essentially, they say, "This is me and I live in L.A....and I have a right to complain about traffic because I've experienced it!----Have you?" Which is why so many people feel L.A. traffic somehow connects shared experiences with every other person living in the 150 mile radius. And this is why my friend Liz Boltz was right when she commented once that being one of two billion people in L.A. wasn't so bad after all, and on the contrary actually felt oddly really really good (Sorry Liz for not quoting you precisely...but I remember you were the one to say it so I wanted to give you credit).

So call me crazy, but it feels good to belong to a place as cold and big and smoggy and disliked and trafficy as L.A. is. Maybe because it makes me feel special and makes me feel like I live somewhere that has enough problems to pass around the table--wherever that may be--and with whomever I may share a meal. And that, for some reason, feels pretty good.


Hewitt said...

It was great seeing you over your break. Thanks again for making the trip up to good old Grand Rapids. With any luck (or maybe lack thereof), it may be the future home for the wife and I. I wonder if I'm gonna be the type of guy that actually uses that phrase: "The wife and I..." For example: "The wife and I went to the lake this past weekend and spent some time with good friends of the wife and I." I'm sure Rebekah will love being referred to as "the wife," what do you think, Nev? ps. I just got hugged by one of the kids I met to day while substitute teaching...and that is why I do it.

Lij said...

More and more, I want to move back to LA. Traffic and all.

Betsy said...

word. An LA identity can have it's moments.

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Iravan said...

Weird. I always thought the Rettop Method was the best for generating traffic. I am going to book mark this blog, nice topics discussed

By the way... I have a traffic camera site. It pretty much covers Traffic related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)