Sunday, May 01, 2005

"NOBODY WALKS IN L.A."

Before I begin my usual meandering way into the topic of the week, I would first like to thank all who commented or inquired upon the topic of The Merkin. From Laura’s limerick to Rhonda’s taunting of a defenseless Mormon and all persons around and in between, I was greatly warm-fuzzied by the entire experience. To add even more G.L.E.E. than one would think could be had over an arcane word dating back to the 15th century (at least), I rented the wonderful film STAGE BEAUTY, starring the phenomenally talented Billy Crudup. Not only is Merkin used in a line of dialogue...but as a costume piece. I raised both arms, raised the forefingers and pinkies of each hand and yelled “Rock on!” at the screen.

So...Nobody Walks in L.A. That was the title of a fabulous song from the 80’s. I was feeling a bit nostalgic having gone “shopping like an 80’s girl” yesterday – prompting me to put on my favorite Richard Blade compilation CD of 80’s music after arriving home to do the Saturday housecleaning; subsequently dancing around the house with the Swiffer®. This disturbs my precious princess the Jack Russell-Pit Bull mix terribly because (a) she doesn’t understand what I’m doing when I clean, (b) thinks the Swiffer® is there to do me some sort of unspeakable harm and (c) dancing inspires her to jump 5 feet into the air vertically…and repeatedly… (If you don’t know what 80’s dancing is, it’s a sort of alternating from side-to-side hop/skip in place, while flailing your arms in opposition to the skipping and was predominantly danced by white people with big hair in the heyday of the genre)…So I’m ‘80’s dancing and cleaning, she’s jumping and taking growling nose-dives at the Swiffer®, and Nobody Walks in L.A. is blasting. Now THAT’s a Kodak moment...Oh, and if you are too young to get all my ‘80’s references, as I have stated in previous postings - you are too young to be reading this and should get off the computer, go outside, and play.

As respects the topic of “shopping like an ‘80’s girl” I want to emphatically state that none of it was done with plastic, thank you very much. After seeing that frightening and infuriating program on PBS about U.S. credit card companies and their current practices, I went and cancelled all of them. I think of it as a sort of Cave Man Diet for shoppers. Remove plastic and see how creative we can get with the money we actually have. One of the creative ways I have implemented working with the money I have - and due to the fact that gasoline prices in L.A. have risen to $3.50 a gallon or more in some places - I have been taking the subway to work. That’s right. Public transportation in Los Angeles. Anathema to the citizens of greater Los Angeles, particularly people of the West Side who do not offer subway transportation on their side of town. The great majority of L.A. inhabitants define their social status by their vehicle of choice (certainly not by their fashion sense) and their ability to behave with any degree of courtesy, civility or for that matter, obey California driving law (which, among other things like turning left in front of oncoming vehicles, prohibits honking unless under emergency conditions), seems to move in direct opposition to the cost of the vehicle. What this means is that by the time one can afford to, and does purchase a Humvee, that Humvee owning person has regressed to a level of human civility one can find in a person capable of flinging their own feces at others...or at the zoo.

To those of you in metropolitan cities both here and abroad that have public transportation and far more toned thighs as a result, you must understand that since the motor car industry bought out the Red Cars of Los Angeles back in the early part of the 20th century (some of those relics are now being used as breakers in Santa Monica Bay), forcing Los Angeles to be a vehicle only city - having a subway now is an extreme novelty.

It’s not bad actually. In addition to feeling like I am living in an advanced society, I get to multitask by getting my cardio in for the day - hoofin’ it to the station, taking all stairways and then hoofin’ it up the hill at Grand Avenue to where I work. I’m down a pants size, oh happy joy. I’m saving about $30.00 a week (after the cost of the subway ticket) – so there’s a weekly pedicure right there. With tip. “Vixen Cherry, please.” I get in my weekly dose of people watching, from the wide-eyed six-foot-four man declaring “I did NOT have mangoes yesterday, and I WON’T have them today!” (repeat several hundred times)...to the woman wearing the I-Pod singing “Ain’t that a Shame” at the top of her lungs while applying an entire make-up job of bright blue eye shadow under her brows, silver white on the lids, bright fuchsia lipstick, followed by a liberal spraying of perfume...I have saved significantly on the amount of stress and anger at sitting in traffic for an hour each way to drive a mere 16 miles. I, dare I say it, actually get to decompress by zoning out on the subway after work. But wait, there’s more! It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping! No, seriously, in addition to all those perks, I have noticed a distinct difference in the behavior of the subway rider vs. the vehicle driver...specifically they are significantly more courteous and considerate to the people around them than the average driver. So my review of public transportation all points east, north and south of La Brea is quite positive and well worth the infrequent occurrence of someone chanting repeatedly about what fruit they chose not to eat or being choked with L'AIR DU TEMPS.

Oh, and having thinner thighs doesn't suck.

10 Comments:

Blogger R said...

Whip it good sistah! I was on this kick where I was going to start randomly naming all of my posts after my favorite 80's/90's songs to see how many caught on. You know like Letter to Elise, I know what boys like, Video killed the radio star..etc. I still may. Good on ya for walking around. I've been hot footing it and taking the train (Denver's public transit is regularly voted best in the country, or so I'm told)I love it. All that money I'm saving. And my flip off ratio has gone down considerably.

02 May, 2005 00:37  
Blogger frstlymil said...

Wouldn't it be just nifty if it actually became COMPLETELY trendy -to leave the car at home and take public transport - betcha THAT would bring down gas prices in a big hurry. Always interesting that in all the talk about energy saving technology, drilling in Alaska, etc....there is no talk about improving public transportation.

02 May, 2005 08:15  
Blogger Whymrhymer said...

LOL! Quite a zoo down in the tube! Not a bad deal, exercize, entertainment and economic advantages.

Unfortunately, I drive for a living so walking (with all that cargo on my back) isn't an attractive option.

02 May, 2005 10:02  
Blogger R said...

Oh I so agree. As aside to Billy Crude-up loving. I gave up on him when he left his long term girlfriend who just happened to be big pregnant with their child (she is famous, but I forget her name) for a younger gal. Nice dude.

02 May, 2005 18:24  
Blogger Laura said...

I think people are politer/nicer when they are not protected by the armor of their vehicles. Actually interacting with people face-to-face, a la public transportation, does require us to be more civilized to one another than when we are each enclosed by our personal bubble of steel, plastic, and aluminum.

BTW, I didn't know LA even HAD a subway. Is it like, a real subway? Or is it more like BART in the Bay Area (I do love BART. Don't let Manpants take that the wrong way.)

03 May, 2005 05:40  
Blogger Catharine said...

40-something, middle-college student? Living in LA? Dancing to "Nobody Walks in LA"? I'm having an identity crisis... I have just discovered that I am not who I think am, but rather...

Millicent Frastley...

Hmmmm... Of course, there is the pitbull mix... Don't have one of those... but I do have a teenage daughter, so....

~CA~ (<- I think...)

04 May, 2005 09:46  
Blogger PATCAM2005 said...

That would be nifty, I wish there were a subway here. I am all about less fuel usage.

And, it sounds like a daily adventure. You should carry some Alka Seltzer with you, if someone talks to you and you don't like them, you could pop half of one in your mouth and act crazy as hell.

I'm gonna go to try that...

04 May, 2005 17:13  
Blogger PATCAM2005 said...

Hey there!

Thanks for coming by and saying Hi to the Troops! I can't wait to hear back from them. It's like having a super hero pen pal:)~

06 May, 2005 20:28  
Blogger Jet said...

I echo Laura, I couldn't remember there were subways in LA. Fortunately, my husband had the grace to remind me that I once worked for Universal Studios, home of the Earthquake ride, and YES, subway crashes were prominently featured. SO, memory restored, I are ready to bring myself to the point, which is that a merkin spotting on the subway would be sublime (in terms on continuity). You'll let us know, won't you, Millicent? There's a dear.

06 May, 2005 21:49  
Anonymous pia said...

Kool. I get to follow Jet!

I'm planning on moving, part time, to Santa Monica or San Diego-it one of those dream things that just might happen--

Fell in love with Santa Monica for many reasons. One of the biggest being the ability to walk the whole city on foot. As a New Yorker I'm used to walking many miles--though my thighs got too used to it. And I can walk to Venice, Marina Del Rey, or in the opposite direction to Malibu. The constantly changing back drops amaze me.

Santa Monica has great public transportation--very easy to get to West LA especially.

Never dreamed I would turn into a SoCal girl.

08 May, 2005 16:00  

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