If you’ve lived in West LA long enough you start to know things that only people west of the 405 know. For instance, except for a few blocks in Venice and Santa Monica, only Mammoth after a storm gets any whiter. You also know that for mysterious reasons the 405 headed north between LAX and Brentwood must remain an under 5 mile an hour zone at any hour of the day or night (going South is different), that only the immediate threat of a Tsunami (I have no idea why I capitalized that word) will send you East of that God forsaken street, Lincoln Blvd, that Baja Cantina is a slimy pick-up scene any night of the week, the 3rd street promenade is for tourists, and there’s no way in hell you’re going to ride your bike on the strand on the weekends in the summer (unless you enjoy the 405 headed North). You know that the only cheap food west of the 405 is Mexican (even the taco trucks get into $10 range), that straight hair, gym-bodies and an unnaturally even tan can be found at Beachwood, that Abbot-Kinney is Artsy Wealth, as opposed to Montana which is Wealth Wealth and and that the Santa Monica farmers market is where you go if you want to be around the bold and the beautiful, and get really, really, depressed (and buy a $4 peach). You know that the Peete’s on Main Street is where you’re likely to run into a movie or television star (so rumor has it, though, thus far I’ve only seen Chad Lowe and Joe Pantoliano), but you’re also less likely to get any work done with all those aging hippy artists breathing down your neck and asking you about your screenplay. You know that Culver City is where you go to get a breather from West LA, as it seems to come from another part of California. You wonder why Venice has managed to maintain some authentic funk, even just a few hundred feet from Santa Monica (I can actually feel the energy shift after Rose), and about the appeal of an off-beat drum circle ruckus (fortunately, the police kicked them off the strand and now they are closer to the beach). You know that if there is a short dark-skinned man at any bar or club, he is surely bussing the glasses and plates. And you know that all the hard-driven, ambitious, people has to have some corrosive effect on your soul….and, yet, you still don’t want to live anywhere else.
…or, at least that’s what I know.
Just for today, I live in West LA.