Ming the Mechanic:
Los Angeles

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Los Angeles2003-07-10 20:37
picture by Flemming Funch

So, 3 days left as a resident of Los Angeles. I sort of had in mind I'd have spent some more time appreciating it before leaving. Driving around taking pictures, taking a ride in the underground, etc. But these days are hectic so it doesn't seem like I get around to it this time.

When we got here 18 years ago it seemed like a huge and amazing place. A paradise with perpetual sunshine, blue sky, broad boulevards lined with palm trees and filled with luxury cars. I had never seen a 10 lane freeway before, let alone a city that seemed to stretch continuously for 60 miles in all directions. I soaked it all in with my eyes wide open.

But, well, the magic gradually rubbed off. We lived at first in a small apartment in Hollywood, which sounded like a glamorous thing to write home about. But the drug dealers on the street and the helicopters with search lights circling overhead all night sort of gave a different picture. And the sun and the palm trees stopped being very interesting once it was established that they were always the same. It was close to a year before it rained the first time.

After a few months my life was suddenly hectic like everybody else's. What at first looked like a perpetual vacation spot is really a lot of people who are in a terrible hurry, stressed about catching up with everything, working overtime, paying the mortgage, getting the right car, being dressed right for your bicycle ride along the beach. And everybody has some level of ADD. There so much going on, so many people to see, that you can't easily commit to very much, or remember what you committed to.

Various big events further eroded the image of paradise at different times. For a while the joke was that the four seasons in Los Angeles are: Fires, Floods, Riots and Earthquakes. Indeed. Once a brush fire was burning from close to here, all the way down to the beach in Malibu, more than 20 miles on each side. And, you know, the LA River is a strange thing to look at when one first gets here. It is all made out of concrete and with no water. But 2 or 3 times during our stay, we realized what it was about, as it was all full of raging water. As was Balboa Boulevard, and the local park was under 10 feet of water. The riots was probably the scariest time. Not that it got too close to where we live, but the air was still full of smoke from many large fires set by angry people.

And then there are earthquakes. If you look at the map of the disasterous 94 Northridge quake, we live in the middle of the red dot. It was measured as 8.2 on the richter scale in our particular zip code. Quite a mess. Freeway bridges falling down up to 20 miles from here. The epicenter was actually a couple of blocks from here, and luckily the shockwave was mostly going in the other direction, so our own damage could have been worse. But I got reminded of it when I was packing my books, many of which had been water damaged from a broken water pipe that fateful morning. Lots of stories to tell about that earthquake, which actually included many synchronistic and miraculous elements, but that will be another time. I actually kind of like earthquakes. They make me feel connected with the earth somehow.

But nothing much has happened recently. Life has just become a bit too much of a routine. I no longer go exploring parts of the town I don't know well. It all sort of seems to look the same in my eyes now. Wall-to-wall suburb with a 7-11, a McDonalds and a Mobil station on every corner. Of course I live in Van Nuys, which is a particularly unremarkable place.

But it is also an easy and pleasant place to live in many ways. And of course there are lots of things to do. Yes, you can go surfing by the beach and skiing in the mountains on the same day, and take a walk in the desert while you're at it. Not that I've gone surfing or skiing at all here.

I have many friends here. I'm sure that won't change. And maybe I'll appreciate the town again anew when I come visiting.

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11 Jul 2003 @ 02:44 by jazzolog : Bon Voyage
I sort of had in mind to wish you and family luck.  

11 Jul 2003 @ 10:04 by ming : Voyage
Thank you, Jazz.  

11 Jul 2003 @ 16:00 by martha : freeways
Yep, that's my problem out here in the west. Too much traffic on these large freeways. Also the smog can be unhealthy at times. But every day i look out my window I rejoice seeing the palm trees, even after five years. Good luck ming on the transition.  

12 Jul 2003 @ 03:20 by magical_melody : Wow Flemming, what a huge change ey?
Very best of luck with the move Flemming! Max and I wish you a very smooth transition and we both are very excited for you and your family. Last summer you said you felt to move and I saw it coming up fast! Way kewl! You are doing it bro!! Yeah!!! We know that you will be much happier and that many surprises are in store for you and yours!! Keep us up-to-date with all the changes!! Much love coming to you from New Zealand...Alana and Max  

Other stories in
2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

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