I’m traveling for work in Los Angeles. It’s 35 degrees back home in Chapel Hill right now, and 81 here. The warm weather, along with a completely different landscape, combine for a mild dose of culture shock.
Cars. Lots of cars. Lots of really expensive cars. Everywhere. Lots of Porsches. Who the hell drives Porches in North Carolina? Not many. Too pretentious. In LA, every other garage or parking spot has a Porsche in it. You know you’ve made it when…
Big, busy roads. I know this makes me sound like a country bumpkin. North Carolina indeed has paved roads. I commute almost 2 hours every day on an eight-lane highway.
The problem with LA’s big roads is that they’re foiling my plan to walk. I found quaint lodging a few blocks from my conference, thinking it would be simple to walk everywhere. While each road has sidewalks, only being able to cross a six lane highway every half mile isn’t completely pedestrian friendly. During an afternoon jog I almost replaced the hood ornament on a glossy Mercedes, then proceeded to get scolded by a crossing guard at a Jewish school. WTF, LA?
But as I’m walking out of Ralph’s grocery near Century City, I see a BMW driving, rich looking dude in designer jeans and t-shirt hand a bum a few bucks and a bottle of water in the parking lot. Beemer guy waves goodbye, drives off, and grateful homeless man salutes farewell.
Does not compute.
In the land of designer everything, a brief moment of compassion restores balance to the universe.