“The fashion is so much better in the fall,” declared I. Cardigans, edgy leather jackets and decorative beanies epitomize New York’s high fashion season (also known as fall). In one very exotic part of the world, t-shirts with band logos, baseball caps and shorts are synonymous with fall.
“Fuck, shit, fuck, is this a parallel universe?” asked I, nervously maneuvering the confusing zigzag of freeways. The coffee house radio soothed my anxious soul. “Did I enter the Twilight Zone, you ask? Quite frankly, it did feel like the twilight zone. The parallel universe, I speak of is known as Los Angeles.
On a warm autumn day, I drove into L.A. from my dad’s house. It had been years, since I had last driven a car around la la land. The idea was frightening.
Like brave warrior, I took on the mission to drive to Los Angeles. Thinking of my friends smiling faces kept me motivated. When I finally reached Los Angeles and found a coveted parking spot, I almost did the happy dance. That morning, Nicole and I went out to brunch at a cafe near Beverly Hills.
“Hello, culture shock,” declared I. Los Angeles was obviously different from New York. The crowd at the cafe was more casually dressed than their New York counterparts, yet everyone was perfectly manicured and chiseled. I felt out of place, especially not having visited L.A. in years.
As we walked out of the cafe, the sun was blaring. I was schvitzing in my cardigan. Strategically, I kept my composure, even though a more terrifying fete would follow me. As the day progressed, I was continually attacked by a case of the mental jitters. I drove from Beverly Hills and faced the greatest challenge of all
“Oh shit, I can’t find parking,” said I, once I reached Santa Monica. In the Southern California town, which best epitomized laid back-ness and charm, I circled around the neighborhood attempting to find a spot.
“Oy, there’s a fire hydrant, can’t park here. Fuck, that guy is hot. Shit don’t hit that parked car. I think I’m wasting a lot of gas, driving around here. Oh shit, I give up. Why can’t L.A. just have a subway system as extensive as New York’s?” These were the questions, which plagued my cranium.
In one exhilarating moment, the palm trees swayed and birds chirped. I looked to the left and saw a vision. “Oh my god, it’s a parking spot, ” said I, while nearly crying in joy. I turned my car around and was ready to pull a U-turn. Then the parking spot gods laughed in my face. An old hippie took my beloved parking spot.
My face became motionless and my tears of joy morphed into river of agony. I parked in front of Tom’s apartment. He met me outside. Internally, I declared my hatred for L.A. and it’s many unnecessary obstacles. After forty-five minutes, my car finally found it’s resting place at a parking lot with 3 hours free parking.
We found a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean and enjoyed a glass of wine. Something unexpected occurred, while staring into the blue waters and dumbfounded tourists, it happened. “Wow, it’s very calm here. This might be the wine talking, but L.A., you are too damn laid back and relaxing, and that’s just great,” said I.
L.A. has never been New York and that’s the point. Its not about high fashion, public transportation and tenement apartments. L.A. is relishing in a bowl of avocados, basking in the lack of exotic sounds and most importantly, taking a hike in a real-life hill.
The legendary California sunset faded into a starry night. Like any good L.A. tourist, I had a hippie dippy evening. With my fellow California native, Audria, we ate ice cream, the Venice Beach way.
It didn’t have dairy or processed sugar, oh it tasted like Venice. We sat on busy Lincoln Blvd and reveled in the legendary ocean breezes. With hippy dippy ice cream, I celebrated my trip and wonderful friendships.
Afterwards, I drove to my father’s house, feeling less anxious and neurotic. I faced my fear of driving again and didn’t let culture shock, ruin a positively wonderful day in L.A.