Thursday, April 30, 2009

A beautiful day in the neighborhood...

I've been busy with various projects, including an attempt to translate a Chinese-language Hollywood Reporter that was way above my skill set (but definitely a great learning experience). Mostly I'm waiting for a few things to sort themselves out so I have a slightly better indication of what I will do in the next couple of months.

In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy my neighborhood and surroundings. Who knows how much more time I'll have to spend here?

Yesterday I took quite a long walk, up through the Santa Monica Airport, stopped at the Whole Foods up on National & Barrington, then walked down Barrington to Palms, up to the Trader Joe's just on the other side of the 405 Freeway, then back down Palms and home. About a seven mile circuit. I needed Trader Joe's Almond Butter and hummus, and I like to have a destination when I walk. An excuse, really.

It's a great walk. I particularly enjoy the stretch through the Santa Monica Airport. Something about seeing all those little planes parked neatly alongside Quonset hangers, the DC3 monument (an actual DC3 mounted up on a stand), all this fills me with an odd sort of nostalgia. I've always loved airplanes. Not that I'd actually want to fly in the little ones, mind you, but they remind me of when I was a kid, and my dad had the aeronautical models from his work at Ryan Aviation, and the little Matchbox airplanes I had myself. You pass through the airport, and at the end there's a dog park and a people park where little kids learn soccer.

Then, down Barrington and over to Palms. This is a residential neighborhood, mostly, nice, mostly modest houses (pricey due to the location), mature trees, pretty yards. Up Palms past a municipal park, kids playing softball. It's a diverse neighborhood, different ethnicities, nationalities, ages. One thing I've noticed, on this walk, in my own neighborhood in Venice, is how friendly most people out on the sidewalks are. You'd think in this age of economic downturn and desperation that you'd feel more of that, more fear, but instead, I get the odd feeling that people are warmer than they used to be. It doesn't matter who they are, where they're from - if I smile, 99% of the time I get a smile back, a "Hi there!" a "How are you?"

Of course, I live in an affluent area, overall, solidly middle-class to wealthy with not many poor people, but still, I wonder if something has shifted, just a little. For a city where supposedly nobody walks, a lot of people are out walking in my part of L.A. Walking their dogs, talking their kids to the parks, jogging down the leafy streets. And smiling at each other.

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