I’ve been in LA for about three weeks and much has caught my eye. While most of what I’ve witnessed/experienced constitutes normal differences that are expected between two major metropolitan areas of the US, the stuff that stands out appears to be unique to LA and California.
Food prices are cheaper out here. While LA is near the top with its astronomically high rents — about twice the national average — food is cheaper than in Chicago. At least the food I buy — mostly fruits and veg, chocolate and panther piss-esque booze. Perhaps that’s because most fruits and vegetables are grown in this state, so the price of transportation, storage, etc. isn’t tacked onto the product. However, residents are zapped for other expenses like transportation (you need a decent car out here) clothing and entertainment. Gas isn’t too bad either, but I’m sure it’ll get more expensive as the warmer months approach and Angelenos emerge from their well-appointed, cozy lairs, don their full-length mink coats (hey, it gets cold here at night! Around 50 degrees!) and get moving. So far, the city doesn’t appear to have its hand out for every little thing, every little service. Of course, I could be wrong. I just haven’t witnessed it yet. In Chicago, it’s a different story.
As for restaurants, there are shitloads of vegan/vegetarian eateries out here. I’ll write more about this at a later time.
In-Your-Face-Nature. A few days ago, mockingbirds woke me up around 3 am with their yap-yapping, trying to be all clever with their mocking ways. This little pest was in the citrus tree right outside my bedroom window and he just … wouldn’t … shuttie. I finally had to open the crypt door and tell Mr. Mockingbird and his cadre to sit down. Did they? Oh for about 10 minutes, yes. But soon they were taking requests and recruiting members of the audience to join them on the branch. I finally gave up and retreated to the living room to read. Seriously though, I don’t mind mockingbirds because they like to mix it up AND they’re sassy as hell. Total brats.
The mockingbird is somewhat of a milquetoast of the fauna I’ve encountered since landing at LAX. The weirdest was the brightly colored snake I startled while leaving my apartment. It was chilling out on my porch, and was gone before I could snap a photo of it. So now I traipse around the outside of my apartment with care these days because who knows if the snake is considering a comeback and moving into my mailbox. Or recycling bins.
Let’s chat about hummingbirds. A tree in front of my place is festooned with them. They’re everywhere — yesterday I spied a wee nest, not much bigger than my thumb, tucked in the crook of a tree branch. I follow the “No Moleste” mantra of my wildlife loving friends and family, so I don’t gawk and try to become one with the tree to get a better look. Plus, hummingbirds will pull out the big guns to defend their territory and I’m not into getting pelted by tiny beaks. Maybe 20 years ago, sure! But now? Nah. Not so much. I find their frenetic, squeaky speech hypnotic — except when they’re coming after me as I’m leaving my apartment.
So, as the song goes, Let it be.
I haven’t spied anything shocking with four legs yet — like a cougar or a woolly mammoth — but once I do, I’ll write about it.
LA is lousy with birds of prey. They’re everywhere. Illinois is too, but it doesn’t have Harris Hawks. Apparently, there is a pair of these hawks living in the hills at the end of my street and like to cause trouble with their tag-team hunting ways. Last week, the pair snagged some sort of varmint and the cacophony of bird squeals and squawks was almost too much for me to take. One of my neighbors informed me that this pair has been here for quite some time and they’re left alone.
That’s a huge relief.
Cops. Yes, cops. The po-po, fuzz, 5-0, the Men in Blue, donut patrol — or whatever monikers kids these days are giving G-men. I’ve noticed that LAPD officers are in much better shape then their brethren in Chicago. Perhaps the tough fitness requirement the department has for wannabe cops is carried over once one becomes a member of the force. Or, perhaps this is Hollywood and everyone is vying to be the next big thing. Since it’s alllll about what you look like out here, the need to be attractive no matter what your profession is constant. Also, cops out here tend to become the news. (note: Zsa Zsa’s cop was from the BHPD). The cops trolling my neighborhood are also easy on the eyes — they’re kinda cute in that jack-boot thug kinda way. It’s tempting to get arrested. “Really, Mr. Po-leeece man, you can tighten the handcuffs more if you like … Aaaand your night stick?”
Now I’m done.