Superficial LA

LA la land: Scape Goat Syndrome

In the absence of the city, it has been easy to develop a bad attitude about LA. Returning here is always a shock to my system. First of all, my head feels like a snow-globe on account of the jet lag. Moments of seeming coherency are abruptly interrupted by a complete loss of time, space and the words I planned to use next. I feel like a mime doing the box, only it’s clear and round. The snow swirls by and I forgot what I was talking about.


Combine this with the manic road warrior pace of the city and I end up with a very lost feeling in the pit of my stomach. Commutes are plagued with epic traffic and rapid five lane changes so you don’t miss your exit. Before I left Berlin, a German friend assumed that LA was more easy going than New York. “Wont it be so relaxed there? I mean after all, it’s Southern California.” That’s when I explained that LA and New York actually have a similar pace. While New Yorkers let you in on the secret that they have neither time nor patience for your bullshit, Los Angelinos just smile and look behind you to find someone more important to talk to.


A good friend told me that it is both normal and necessary to distance yourself when you move away. So, I have been using LA as a big bowl in which to mix my frustration with culture, gender roles, consumerism and all the other things I used to struggle with when I lived here. But I know it’s just a place. It’s just a city filled with as many opportunities as drawbacks.


Sometimes being angry is necessary to stimulate change. There are so many things about LA that I can’t stand. But I know it’s all about perspective. It’s two kids raised by a working mom. One believes that she leaves every morning out of neglect. The other feels it’s out of love. The best and worst part of this life we have is that we get to choose the way we spin our reality. And on some level I know LA isn’t the problem. But the things I have learned along the way, the complexes created, the fears embedded, the prejudices encouraged… created a need for me to leave.


Someone asked me a question the other day that gets asked a lot, “Why Berlin?” The response that came out this time was interesting for me. It feels like a safe place to ask questions. A good place to meet myself. Now when I think about that I wonder what it really means. How did such a foreign place feel so completely like home from the start? Perhaps because of what it’s been through, its rise and fall – it’s division, reincarnation and current emergence. It neither takes things for granted nor judges its inhabitants for not knowing it all. Wrestling with equal parts pain and possibility, I believe that Berlin is trying to be honest about its transformation. I respect that because I am doing the same. LA has never felt like that. It was always more of a “fake it till you make it” kinda life. Some place that people keep their guard up so that no one has to know that they are flawed- that they are human. I’ve come to a point where I just can’t do that anymore.

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