Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Hate the West Side

Los Angeles is a big place. A really big place. You can divide it into zones for reference. I live in the Valley, i.e. the San Fernando Valley. On the very north end of the city, it used to be known for being a quiet bedroom community. But it's grown up and has all sorts of entertainment options now.

There are the beach communities. Laid back, artisans mingle with the rich business crowd without much concern about the class differences and materialistic outlooks. They're all bronzed a golden brown and are proud to show their athletic bodies off while walking or jogging on the beach.

There's downtown; not much of a place in my opinion. And "Central Los Angeles," which used to be known as "South Central." The residents there insisted on the name change several years back because of that zone's reputation as a haven for gang violence. They thought that the name change would make a difference. Sadly, they were wrong.

And then there is the West Side. Westwood, Beverly Hills, Century City, West Los Angeles. Trendy, fashionable, just filled-to-the-brim and overflowing with restaurants, shopping, theater. A hang-out and residential zone for the rich and famous. And wannabe's. When I was growing up and even into my 20's and early 30's, I wanted to live there. As did everyone. And those who could afford it did. And those of us who couldn't lived in the Valley. And secretly resented our oh-so-much-more prosperous and trendy and fashionable friends.

But something has happened over the years. Whether it's the maturing of the valley, or the maturing of me, I couldn't tell you. But I've come to realize that the West Side isn't all that and a bag of chips too. Yes, there are all sorts of amenities, but you can't get to any of them. The traffic is just horrible!

Today, I had a doctor's appointment at Cedars Sinai at 3:30 pm. I tried desperately to make it on time, but getting there was awful. Here are a few views from my windshield.

You get the point. I made it only 20 minutes late, and given what I had to face driving down, it wasn't so bad. A little over a 90 minute drive-time.

But when the appointment was over, I had to deal with rush hour traffic getting out of the city. Here is the view that I had for almost two hours.

TWO HOURS! And I wasn't even home yet. All I achieved during all that time was getting out of the West Side.

We were literally at a stand still almost the whole time!!!!! I spoke to Eric by cell phone a number of times during the drive. He had arrived at my home for dinner; I wasn't there. Fortunately, I had prepared everything and just asked him to pop it into the oven. An hour later, the chicken was done, and I asked him to turn on the stove to cook the corn. I arrived home at 6:30. He had to leave for a meeting at 6:45. Oy.
There are things on the West Side that I would consider worth driving for. My doctors. Slimmons. But all-in-all, I'm glad I'm a Valley Girl.

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