The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. --Ayn Rand


Reflections on LA

I spent one week in Los Angeles, sorting out a visa problem brought on by the overly-sensitive Chinese government as the 29th Olympic Games approach. Before going, I tried to contact all my friends who had stuck around LA--only a handful, as my LA friends always comprised a slim crowd--because I thought that it could be my last trip to the West Coast for a long time.

Something felt different during the trip, as though this was the first time I saw LA clearly. When I lived in Claremont and traveled there, and even when I lived there for two months, I recall I was not happy. This time I think I can describe why...

LA is a driving city. Everyone moves around in their cars without the need to interact with the hundreds of others going about their day. Moving about in public transportation--having to deal with crowds commuting--is uncomfortable. But, that is the problem. Driving around is too comfortable. It is the small interactions that take up a significant part of one's life. I would never want to give that up in favor of shutting myself off inside a metal box.

People are too busy. This is all relative, though. I have not met anyone in LA who is quite as busy as my Beijing friends. Once again it's more about comfort. People in LA seem to be comfortable in their schedules, and when they are asked to push beyond, they cannot. They are busy sticking to the same routine they've had the whole week.

Everyone dresses poorly. At least, I don't enjoy casual dress. There was a sea of flip flops, shorts, and T-shirts everywhere I turned. I don't understand. Sure, the weather is hot, but why doesn't anyone invest in linen pants with maybe a thin button-up shirt? When I walked outside people would think that I was dressed up. Sometimes semi-formal went beyond the comprehension of those I passed, so they would ask,
"Why are you so dressed up?"
Me: "Why do you dress like a hooker?" Weather has a big influence on LA fashion, which leads me to the final judgment.

LA is too hot. I need cooler weather, less sun, less skin, less collagen, less beach, fewer cars, more rain, whiter skin, more mountains, more green, more ties, more coats, more snow.

I am glad, still, that I was able to see most of my friends. I warned them this could be my last venture into LA. I doubt any of them will come visit, so in essence that was my final goodbye.

Adieu, LA. I will only miss the time I wasted.