And here I am in Los Angeles on "Talk Like a Pirate Day" after a very early flight out of Chicago.
When I first started coming here for work years ago, I never drove anywhere. I was provided a car and driver, and never much had to think about where things were at. Eventually this got kind of boring and I wanted to make my own way around, so I started renting a car whenever I had work here. For a nine-month period, I was flying down to L.A. fairly frequently, and got to know the streets of the city pretty well. In many ways, it's Los Angeles I have to thank for teaching me how to really drive a car.
Alas, my trips to L.A. were less and less frequent as time went on. I'm lucky if I make it once a year now. Because of that, I don't feel as comfortable driving here as I used to. It's far easier to just schedule the car and driver or take a taxi.
But never walk.
Today I made the huge mistake of choosing to walk in a city where nobody walks. It was only six long blocks, but I could feel the stares of confusion and contempt as people went driving past. "Funny, he doesn't look homeless!" I imagine them saying. I became worried when I waited at crosswalks that drivers who were stopped at the light were going to panic and throw money at me so that I would go away.
But it was a beautiful day. Plenty of sunshine, but not too hot and with a nice breeze going on...
Pretty much everything you want from a day in La La Land.
Los Angeles is such a bittersweet city for me.
I have great friends here. I remember good times here. There are places I treasure here.
But L.A. is a city that can really destroy you if you're not careful... more-so than any other city I've been to. My "big break" here ended badly, and I consider myself lucky to have escaped with my spirit and sanity (somewhat)
Los Angeles is always calling me in the back of my mind.
Because there are also so many reasons I love this place.
And a part of me just can never... let... it... go.
That's probably a good thing.