Friday, November 30, 2007

Walking In L.A.

There's something a little bit perverse about saying that I really like walking around L.A. L.A. is a famously bad city for walking in; there are songs about it and everything.

But I do. Tonight I was en route to the convenience store (when in doubt, go to the convenience store) and I stepped out into the courtyard and the rain was bouncing off the surface of the lit-up swimming pool and I decided to walk around first.

I don't walk around my neighborhood that much. I've only lived here for a year and some change, and it still can feel a little bit foreign and therefore menacing to me, and so when I walk for comfort, which I often do, I go back to my old neighborhood. And when I walk for natural beauty and a sense of accomplishment, I also don't usually stay in this neighborhood, because the natural beauty portions of it are heavily trafficked and frighten me with their cultural currency.

But really, when you just want to walk, it's always best to do it in your neighborhood. Then you know you can turn around and go home when you get tired or bored, and it gives you a satisfying sense that you know what the space you live in looks like, and there's just generally something intimate about it.

Some people like to walk by shops, and some people like to walk by landmarks, but really, when it comes down to it, for this kind of casual walk I like best to walk by houses that I don't know that are all lit up inside and try to imagine what kind of lives those people lead and feel a vague sense of envy and estrangement but also coziness. That's the killer combination: simultaneous attachment and detachment.

It was raining a little bit, and there were some puddles on the sidewalk and wet leaves and not too many cars out and people were lighting their fires and the wood was smoky and some Christmas lights were out and it was, really, all pretty satisfactory.

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