Ode to Los Angeles 

It's a weird thing to be worrying if I'll miss Los Angeles. Mostly because I hated Los Angeles from the day I met her. Driving through all the chain restaurants and billboards. The pasty palm trees dying of thirst and smog and not enough dirt before the pavement. This concrete jungle. This parking lot. How am I worrying that I'll miss this place? I never felt like this was the city for me, until I decided to leave. 

Maybe it's the fact that this city plucked me right out of my New York living room - away from my home and family and everything I knew - to go to best film school in the world. This city believed in me. It was in this city that I was forced to prove myself. To stay above water. To make my first film. And then show it to my class - a room full of other big fish from other small ponds and industry professors. Then do it again and again until I got better and better. This is the city where I got a film accepted into a film festival. This is the city where I met my best friends. This is the city where I met the love of my life. This is the city where I got my first job and paid for my own rent. This is the city where I became an adult. This city is hot and salty. It's dried sweat. From the heat and the hard work. This city is homeless. And yet this city is my home. This city is the poorest and the richest. This city is tacos and burritos and backyard mariachi music. This city is for those who believe in their dreams and live to make them a reality. This city is for storytellers. This city is gasoline and horrible infrastructure. This city is the ocean twenty minutes away - in theory. This city is art districts and flea markets and brunch and green smoothies. This city is lap dogs. This city is where I learned to drive without bumpers. Like bowling. This city is where I lost my bumper. This city i where I learned. This city held strong beneath my feet when my dad lost his job. This city took me to church. This city held my brother. This city defines queer as both it's brother and it's sister and both and neither. This city was my first bank. This city called me smart.

 

Los Angeles, you never pay people enough. You never welcome nature into your agenda. You build highways over the trees and you never rain. But you never asked anyone to love you. You created a space for people to live out their dreams but you never claimed to be perfect. You have potholes and fault lines and forest fires. You're beautiful on one street and you smell like pee and weed two blocks down. You hide the magic for those who hang around long enough to discover it: in hole-in-the-walls and outlooks over the city and in tolerance. We never loved each other but that doesn't mean you don't have a hold on me. 

Did they ever tell you Los Angeles have it's own river? Once you get there, you'll learn it's all dried up, and it has been for years. But they still keep calling it the Los Angeles River. Is it starting to make sense now?