This week, Karen poses a pretty simple question – perhaps deceptively simple:
Extra Credit: How could that good thing be even better?
It’s easiest to tell people I live in “Southern California” or “the LA area” without being overly specific. It’s amazing how many small niches make up this metropolis; drive a few miles down one street, and you can pass through four different little cities (in many cases, actually glorified oversized neighborhoods), and each of them has its own character, architecture, and even geography. (Oh, and you’re still on the same street, by the way.)
One funny thing about living here is that places you’ve never been before can seem instantly familiar. That’s because you’ve probably seen them in movies or on TV. I didn’t realize until I’d been here for some time just how LA-centric popular entertainment really is; unless there’s a story-related reason for a show to be set somewhere else, it will probably take place in Los Angeles. I guess that helps the writers to “write what they know,” and makes location shooting much more convenient, but as a non-native, I really feel that it overstates the city’s importance. It feeds that California-dream image that makes people want to come here (and complain about it once they’ve been here awhile – oh, wait, maybe that’s just me), but an image is just what it is, and it gets manipulated in lots of ways. It can be fun, if a bit distracting, trying to identify where something was filmed, especially when it claims to be somewhere else. For example, Tall Paul and I enjoy watching 24, but its depiction of LA cracks us up sometimes – Jack Bauer zooms from one area of the city to another in fifteen minutes, when in real life those places are 25 miles apart. On top of that, there’s never any traffic and he always finds a place to park the car right away – story considerations aside, those two details alone make it obvious that this show is total fiction.
I’ve gone totally off on a tangent here, but I’ve actually been wanting to talk about that for awhile. Besides, I’m stalling while trying to come up with something less obvious than “the weather” or “the beach.”
Another reason I say “the LA area” is that I live outside of LA proper; I don’t even live in LA County. (I think the LA Moms Blog is stretching their boundaries by letting me play with them – lucky me!) But that’s one of the best things about my Ventura County suburb – location, location, location. The attractions of the city are within reasonable driving distance, and so are the beaches, the mountains, and the desert, should you want a change of scenery. At the same time, we have those suburban perks, like big supermarkets and ample free parking.
What could make it better? Less traffic, or at least better roads and traffic management. (Oh, and better drivers.) I was actually serious when I mentioned reasonable driving distances; what makes driving in these parts so exasperating is the time it involves, which is usually longer than it needs to be because the roads are just too darn crowded.
What’s one good thing about where you live?