Let’s Take A Moment To Talk About…Car-less In LA

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My car was ready and there was no one around to drive me to the mechanic.  So I took the bus.

Gelato Baby doesn’t own a car.  Neither does Miss Chiffonade.  They walk everywhere or take the bus.  And, although I felt reluctant to take it, once I got on the bus, it turns out that they’re a lot faster than you’d expect! The express bus mowed down everything down to beat the cars and I feel certain that the driver must have something that lets him change the light because when the bus came up to a red light, instead of slowing down, it sped up and the light turned green.  But still, however fast they take you there, there’s the getting back.  And that’s the challenge with public transportation in LA.  There are no options .  Once you take the bus somewhere, you’re taking the bus back. Full stop, end of story.  Unless you’re meeting someone who offers to give you a ride home.  In other cities, I feel unconstricted; I have a choice.  I can take a bus there, then hop a cab back.  I might feel like walking if it’s nice or I’m having a particularly interesting conversation or perhaps I ride the train. And it feels like there is discovery in walking.  There’s an interesting shop, and I feel like going in, so I do.  I feel like a coffee and I stop.  In LA?  Not so much. Places in LA don’t usually look like much from the street.  They don’t have to entice you in.  The action’s inside, where you can’t see it.  It feels like some of the best restaurants are in strip malls because when it comes down to it, it’s all about the parking and about how close you can get your car to the front door. (Food trucks are the ultimate LA restaurant; they drive to you.)  It’s sad but there’s no such thing as a post-prandial stroll here.  Instead, you click open your car door or slip some money to the valet and hop in. The more you have to walk, the less likely you are to go.  It’s weird but even if I walk for miles and miles when I’m in NY or Paris, which I do, and it feels great and contemplative and empowering, if I have to walk more than a block or two in LA, I feel uncomfortable and small. It feels weird to walk in LA.  

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