…upon entering California

This was beautiful land once: the mountains in the not-too-distant distance, the weird little spiky plants, the craggy hills and craggier valleys, the long flat stretches like the open sea. But some time in the past century, a 17 million ton Cement Monster took a dump, and the steaming heap that resulted is Los Angeles. Even as big piles of crap go, it isn’t particularly pretty. Most poo at least has some sensible design to it. LA is a jumble of freeways, overpasses, disconnected neighborhoods, more freeways, mish-mashed architecture, even more freeways, and jarring height differentials outdone only by Las Vegas. LA is like that unholy tangle of cords and wires behind your desktop computer, brought to hideous life, with humans its electrons.

I entered the city on a 10-lane highway around 9 PM on a Sunday night. On a Sunday night. Somehow, some way, there was still traffic. Instantly I felt my first twinges of homesickness (absent in Ohio, Kansas, Utah and the rest). I found myself missing New York City, where there’s central design and where things make sense. I found myself missing New Jersey, where things don’t make sense, but they have the courtesy to do it in a familiar way.

My first stop was to be a place with WiFi so I could look up addresses of hostels. Anything would have been fine, a Starbucks even. I drove around the city for an hour. I couldn’t go 20 miles in Utah without finding a Starbucks, but now that I needed one, in the second biggest city in the country, they were no where to be found. I gave up and ended up sleeping in a $50 motel room with three friendly roaches, a piece of used condom wrapper on the bedspread, and a toilet with no lid. I slept in my clothes and didn’t go near the shower.


One Response to “…upon entering California”

  1. ranting2006 Says:

    I’m finding that I like reading about your roadtrip. The proposition of sleeping with a few cockroaches is hardly appealing. Hope you are getting settled in ok there. No Starbucks? That stinks.

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