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LA Does To Have Seasons

jacaranda blooming

Los Angeles is accused of being a lot of things which I cannot refute. Los Angeles can be deeply superficial and way too many people get way to much plastic surgery. The traffic here is ridiculous and despite how many people moved here from places which actually have weather, no one here remembers how to drive in the rain. This city does make people soft and there’s nothing I can say to argue with any of that.

However, many people complain about the lack of seasons which supposedly is what drives them back to all the different places from where they came. But LA does to have seasons and this one is my favorite. Spring here is about cherry pie and stone fruit. Spring here is about jacaranda blooming and pelicans flying north in awe inspiring bunches. Spring provides warmer temperatures in the coastal micro-climates and for those of us on the far west side each year is marked by another stretch of May grey which sometimes extends into June gloom.

We don’t have snow to deal with or large variances in temperatures to mark the passing of the year but we do have spring, summer, fall and winter here, and some of us do revel in each. We have trees that turn colors and leaves that fall. We have all sorts of produce which cycle through abundance as one season turns into the next. For me, the seasons here are more about food than anything else, but there are signs of passing time all around Los Angeles.

Even if they are too busy or self-centered to notice, people should stop complaining that LA doesn’t have seasons. They should admit that wasn’t why they left LA to go back to where they were from, and they should pick one of the other reasons to hate LA as an excuse for why they didn’t stay.

Tomorrow, I promise to post my cherry pie recipe so you can take time to revel in the small things life has to offer. And in the meanwhile, I’m going to go enjoy this beautiful spring day in Venice Beach.

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Dear Venice Drivers

VENICE BEACH, CALIFORNIADear people who don’t live in Venice but who try to navigate the back streets anyway:

Please accept this blog post as a desperate plea from a girl who lives her life pretty much AWOL, which in LA-speak means Always West of Lincoln. I live in the heart of Venice and I work in Santa Monica and I only venture East of Lincoln Blvd when I absolutely have to. And now that spring is here, I once again find myself frustrated by those of you who don’t live on the far west side but who try to navigate the back streets of Venice anyway. I know that traffic is worse this time of year, but please, please , I beg you, don’t venture off the beaten path to beat the traffic or find parking.

First of all, you’re probably going to get lost because Venice is not an easy little rectangle like Santa Monica. We’ve got the canals and we’ve got Abbot Kinney Boulevard which throws everything off on a diagonal. The streets aren’t numbered for your driving convenience, and more importantly, we have these funny streets which are two way streets even though they don’t actually fit two cars side by side. And this is why I’m begging you to stay on the streets you know.

I’ve only lived in Venice for a decade, so I can remember what it was like to be perplexed by these two-way streets which should, in theory, be one-way streets. But now, now that I’ve lived in Venice this long, I use these streets like a native to get away from all the traffic on all the streets you’ve heard of caused by all the people who like to venture to the far west side, but who think it’s too chilly, or too expensive, to live here. Now, I need these side streets to get by. I need these side streets to run errands on the weekends and I need these streets to get to work every day now that the soon-to-be end of the Expo Line has traffic in downtown Santa Monica entirely effed up. These side streets, despite how perplexing they are, are my life blood. I zip around on them in my compact car with my windows down and my music blaring and it’s all well and good until I meet one of you on one of those streets on which you cannot figure out how to drive.

Somehow, people who live in Venice know what to do on these streets. We use the drive-way no parking zones and that convenient no parking zone right before a stop sign to politely pull over and let the other person by. Or, if necessary, we cross the street and stop far enough behind the parked car in front of us so the other person can pull out and we can pull past. We know when to let the wrong person go at a stop sign just to make it easier for everyone to get past each other and we know when we both can drive towards the center of the street at the same time because there are two drive-way no parking zones in the middle of the block which will allow us to path each other unscathed. I used to wonder how people did it, but now I’m one of those people and there’s nothing more annoying than one of you people who freezes in panic at the wheel because the street you just turned down seemed like a two-way street until you made the turn and saw a car coming at you in a space that is not in fact wide enough for two cars.

If necessary, we wait patiently for the other person to drive half a block and we don’t get all uptight about it because we are not just trying to avoid traffic or looking for parking, we live here. We wouldn’t live in Venice if we didn’t have a little joie de vivre and we don’t have any trouble at all navigating our far too narrow side streets until one of you people shows up and panics. It’s true, you can find yourself in Venice on two-way street that is not wide enough for two cars, but it’s not rocket science and it’s not so hot on the west side so you can turn off your air conditioning, open your window, breathe in the ocean air and chill out for a minute.

And better yet, you could stay on the streets you know. Stay on the streets you’ve heard of like Pacific and Venice and Rose and stay off the streets you’ve never heard of like Riviera and Andalusia. That’s it. That’s all I’m asking.

From a west-side girl

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