Because the love of my life hails from the Berkley/San Francisco area, we cruise up the 5 on occasion to socialize with members of his extended family. The NorCcal circle includes some best friends from his former life, his really cool ex-wife, (I know, it’s unusual, but she and I get along) his fab daughter and assorted tech wizards. Invariably the discussion always gets around to ‘how horrible LA is and how wonderful Berkely or ANY place in Northern California is’. In fact, “How can you two bear living here?”
Now, I do love San Francisco and Berkley…. but I have also lived in Los Angeles for 24 years, so I’m a hard core semi-native. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the sweet spots on the planets, especially when you load in all the ‘living here’ data. So, I’m the lone dissenter in rallying to her cause in these discussions. In my world, people in LA don’t even think about comparing themselves to our Northern sister. It’s just not too relevant a discussion. But up there they go on and on about how intellectually inferior people are in LA, how boob jobs and appearances seem more important than anything, and how we don’t have enough social awareness going on. The vibe is that in LA it’s all about money, money, more money and looks.
Okay, so there is a surface to the place. It’s pretty shiny. And it can throw you off course if you let it. But the real LA lies beneath it’s beautiful, sometimes languid surface. My experience is that there are some ridiculously talented, smart, fun, spiritually aware, people here. And sometimes they even look good. And hey! What’s wrong with beauty. It soothes the soul! Even funnier to me is that Berkeley and Northern CA are traditionally where the idea of “universal love” originated. If so, wouldn’t that mean embracing everyone? See, that’s where I think we get into trouble. The whole ‘Us vs.Them’ idea. Whether it’s the Westside vs. the Eastside, LA vs SF or Israel vs. Palestine, we are all one when you get down to it.
Yes, we girls in LA sometimes do wear ‘come fuck me’ shoes rather than the Berkely Teva staple… merely to get your attention mind you. But that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. Just different.