oh, the deep-seated ambivalence

Un-fieldwork-like and just plain grumpy, but I would like to devote a moment of silence, or desperation, or something, to my annoyance at the L.A. way. They are filming on my block today. [It is apparently this film, and I do love Robert Downey Jr. and Catherine Keener, but still.]

Not only have they made it impossible to park in an already limited parking block, but on trash day (always unpleasant because of the excess of trash cans blocking the limited parking and usually making it really dangerous to bike), they lined all the trashcans up on the sidewalk. The sidewalks on my block are barely wide enough for one person to walk comfortably. This is because L.A. hates pedestrians. Seriously.

The walkers are hated with a passion. Most of the crosswalks have timed their pedestrian signs to be about the length it takes to get 1/4 of the way into the busy boulevard, and then the light changes. Sometimes, the pedestrian signal never goes off at all. If you were a person who obeyed traffic signals, which I am not, you could ostensibly stand at a corner for 2 full light cycles.

Really, this is not about the filming, though I've realized they are actually filming at night, which will be fun (!!) and their generator is directly outside my window, but about the general disinterest in everyday human life that goes on all the time in this city. As far as I can tell, the monolith, mono-industry trumps all here. And I want to be sympathetic. I mean, I like movies...some of them. But I am losing patience. I want to be able to walk on the sidewalks. Or not fear death when walking to the farmer's market.

L.A. was the first place I learned what jaywalking really was. Having grown up in NY, the idea of not crossing against the light was foreign to me. Crosswalks, though important, were not an absolute necessity. I was 15 years old, visiting a friend who had moved here in junior high school, and we were out hanging out on Melrose Avenue. She and I had split up, and I needed to get back across the street (as one does). No sooner had I traversed, when a cop on a motorcycle came up to me. He asked me if I knew what I had done. I said no. He chastised me for five minutes about jaywalking. I was totally baffled and thought the whole thing was hilarious. He let me off with a warning. My only other pedestrian run-in with the law was in Berkeley, where a friend and I were asked for our driver's licenses (I think we refused, since we were not driving at the time, but rather, walking). All these things would bother me a lot less if the "pedestrian" infrastructure were actually substantively pedestrian.

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