August 21, 2004
Before the thunderstorm today the air was thick and muggy. You would think rain should cool things off but it only seemed to add to the oppressive humidity. I was headed down to Pearl Paint and had just entered the subway when the storm broke. Crowds of people without umbrellas ran down into the station for shelter, many of them slipping on the feces left on stairs by some severely gastrically challenged individual. Once in the station, water suddenly began pouring down through a ceiling grate onto the tracks and a small swarm of rats jumped onto the platform seeking drier ground. The commuters, many of them still dealing with stinky shoes started freaking out. One woman actually screamed "Oh my God, RATS!!!!"
When the train came everyone stared down at the ground and avoided eye contact.
I think it was just as the woman screamed that I realized LA is all about comfort. Not once in the last six months have I sweat through my shirt just trying to get somewhere (this happens at least 3 times a day here). Not once have I had to avoid human feces. And I've haven't seen a single rat (although skunks are another story). But oddly enough none of the unpleasantness bothered me the way it might have in the past. Perhaps it's because I haven't been back long enough, perhaps I was just in a good mood today, but I think part of it is that I chose to be here and I know the deal.
I've had lots of internal dialog about this sort of thing lately. I've realized my 10 years away have changed the way I see the New York. I keep noticing how dirty the city is and how long it takes to get from point a to point b and how there is real weather. But I also notice how much more rich my life is here, how many new faces I see each day, and how great the water tastes. It will be weird to be back in LA next week. I imagine the experience will be something like going back to school after you have graduated... we'll see.