Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Los Angeles, I'm Yours

There is a city by the sea
A gentle company
I don’t suppose you want to
And as it tells its sorry tale
In harrowing detail
Its hollowness will haunt you
Its streets and boulevards
Orphans and oligarchs it hears
A plaintive melody
Truncated symphony
An ocean’s garbled vomit on the shore,
Los Angeles, I’m yours

Old ladies pleasant and demure
Sallow-cheeked and sure
I can see your undies
And all the boys you drag about
An empty fallow fount
From Saturday to Monday
You hill and valley crowd
Hanging your trousers down at heel
This is the realest thing
As ancient choirs sing
A dozen blushing cherubs wheel above
Los Angeles my love

Oh what a rush of ripe élan
Languor on divans
Dalliant and dainty
But oh, the smell of burnt cocaine
The dolor and decay
It only makes me cranky
Oh great calamity,
Ditch of iniquity and tears
How I abhor this place
Its sweet and bitter taste
Has left me wretched, retching on all fours
Los Angeles, I’m yours

-The Decemberists, "Los Angeles, I'm Yours"

Whenever my mother visits L.A. for work, which she does three or four times a year, she says she always thinks upon landing, "Huh, why was I so averse to this place? It seems lovely." A week later, when she's about to leave, the only thought in her head is, "Oh. Right."

I'd hate to live there, but this day-long visit, particularly now that so many of my friends and family members live in L.A., was rather a pleasure. The day was a rush of loving people and beaches; I missed most of the tourist ridiculousness, and that pleased me to no end.

My friend Alex, whom I've known since we were fourteen, picked me up in his dilapidated car at the port. The others had their own plans for the morning, but Alex had class in the afternoon, so I got up and disembarked pretty early. Alex took me out for coffee and a bagel—bagels in Los Angeles are almost, though not quite, to New York standard, certainly better than the Midwest—and then to his studio to show me the paintings he's working on. I haven't seen his work live and in person for a couple of years, so that was a joy. After we hung out for a few hours, he drove me to The Getty Center, where Connor, Jess and I were meeting our friend Talia for lunch. T moved out to L.A. in August and I hadn't seen her since, and she and Connor and Jess hadn't seen each other in years, so even this brief lunch break was a joy. She'd also managed to get us tickets to the Getty Villa (off of seeing Chihuly in Miami, I'd really wanted to hit the the Glassmaking in Antiquity exhibit at the museum itself, but it was closed Monday. Poop). Connor and Jess, however, opted to join Meridith, Sumara and family for the Hollywood excursion. Clara, Amber and I met up with Malcolm and Garrett in Pacific Palisades (in terms of finances, it *is* really nice to have everything provided for on the boat for these four months, so we mostly don't have to gulp at the expenses of, say, taxis), and we wandered the grounds for a couple of hours. Then Clara and Amber headed off to meet the others in Hollywood, Garrett and Malcolm decided to catch a decent movie, and my uncle Roger and his kids, Phoebe and Atlas, picked me up and took me out to dinner. Unable to resist the allure completely, I joined the crew for a quick Hollywood drink, and once again we barely hit the ship in time.

I've woken up too early, as usual—even ten days skipping through time zones hasn't fixed that problem. Maybe when we cross the International Date Line I'll be jolted enough to get some rest. Now out of the lounge and into the Queens Grill. I could use a good chocolate croissant.


At 12:42 PM, Blogger Connor said...

I think the fact that we're always on the verge of missing the boat as it shoves off says a lot about us getting good money's worth. :)

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Meridith said...

In response to the Decemberist's lyrics, I wish to quote the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

Sometimes I feel
Like I dont have a partner
Sometimes I feel
Like my only friend
Is the city I live in
The city of angel
Lonely as I am
Together we cry

I drive on her streets
cause shes my companion
I walk through her hills
cause she knows who I am
She sees my good deeds
And she kisses me windy
I never worry
Now that is a lie

I dont ever want to feel
Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love
Take me all the way

Its hard to believe
That theres nobody out there
Its hard to believe
That Im all alone
At least I have her love
The city she loves me
Lonely as I am
Together we cry

I dont ever want to feel
Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love
Take me all the way

Under the bridge downtown
Is where I drew some blood
Under the bridge downtown
I could not get enough
Under the bridge downtown
Forgot about my love
Under the bridge downtown
I gave my life away

-"Under the Bridge"


Post a Comment

<< Home