Wednesday Glork

 

I was browsing the news and saw the Tiger Woods crash. He crashed about 9 miles from me, but much closer if you draw a straight line. But that area is a world apart. This is stuff I enjoy writing about. How all these little changes to a region can affect society.

The reason I have lived in my tiny beach city for >20 years is largely because…I can afford it. And I can afford it because the super wealthy don’t want to be here. And because of that you can still find places to get cheap food and cheap whatever you need to live.

But where Tiger crashed would be a different story. I had a friend who moved to that area and like the first day he moved in, a neighbor came to him to try and get his support to get rid of parking on one side of the street. And he’s like, why? And she said because it looks better. But it was just to keep outsiders out. If you can’t park there, you can’t get there and stay. And the houses all had big garages and driveways. That kind of busy body, let them eat cake, crap annoys the hell out of me. When I lived in Manhattan Beach, they did absolutely everything in their power to keep people out. To try and make the beach a private beach, despite it being vigorously public property. I found that so selfish.

For me to drive to the area of Tiger’s crash is only 9 miles. But it would take almost a half an hour. And my average speed would be 21.6 miles an hour. That has nothing to do with the crash or police activity, that’s kind of like all of Los Angeles and why we have and use freeways. The suburbs, or basically anywhere not a freeway, is really bad at moving traffic. And freeways aren’t a hell of a lot better.

I saw Matt Damon at my local Starbucks some weeks ago. I passed within a few feet of him with my dog. But what am I going to say? Super celebs might come here for a coffee, but they wouldn’t live here. When they zoned this city they made all the house lots tiny and roads close. So this is a terrible area for privacy. Which is why I can afford to stay here. When you go next door to Manhattan Beach or down the coast where Tiger crashed, it’s different. And consequently, the entire micro society shifts and morphs.

In Los Angeles I’ve witnessed all sorts of gentrification and white flight and societal changes. When I moved here in 1994, I could drive west and see the exact line of houses for sale, going north-to-south, as the rich whites attempted to flee the encroaching Latino immigration. Fast forward a few decades, and they bought it all back and even pushed east into former gang/drug areas and gentrified the living fuck out of it, with hipsters on every corner. That’s kind of cool stuff to watch and try and figure out how it all happened.

Like when I moved to LA, I lived in a downtown flophouse. And on the weekend, I could walk down the middle of the street in the financial district bouncing a ball, and never see another person or a car. It was like a post apocalyptic doomscape. I thought for sure it was forever going to rot. But “they,” whoever the fuck they are, cleaned a lot of it up, flipped all the properties, and made the area vibrant and valuable again. Though it took a long time.

The area where Tiger crashed isn’t even a place I like to visit. It’s so scrubbed and manicured and pristine. Like some Stepford Wives or Handmaiden’s Tale version of pleasant. It’s not that I want people throwing bottles at my head or breaking into my apartment to steal my dental floss, but there’s something to be said for people actually making eye contact now and then.

I love old buildings and history and trying to figure out what happened. It’s not just social/economic changes that affect a city. Weather, geography, topology, snorkpology, all have a hand. I’d love exploring on the east coast, which has a few centuries more activity and consequently you can come across stuff and wonder what it was and how it came to be. Like my own park beyond my childhood backyard. It was mostly a thin strip of trees to block the sound/view of the Beltway freeway. But I was bouncing through one time and saw there was a little bridge over ditch. Just a little metal bridge, maybe 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. I’m like, WTF? And I figured out that area used to have some tiny park building or community center. But the area was too wet, humid, and they couldn’t keep back the underbrush/weeds/trees. They must have been doing some underground work and they came and blasted the area to dirt. Cut it all down. And in a month, it was swallowed back up and the bridge was under 6 feet of bushes and weeds again and completely unreachable.

I had a friend who was a bank VP and they had invested in some lush hotel in the rain forest (or jungle?). And they sent him there because they wanted to see how viable their loan(s) were. And he was saying they had Terex trucks flattening and plowing their way through the jungle. Those things: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Terex_6300AC.jpg
And my friend said the project was doomed. Because it was impossible to keep back the jungle for long. So they denied any further loans, wrote it off as a loss, the project stalled, and now there is an abandoned hotel in the rain forest like some long lost Aztec temple. And 50 years from now, people are going to stumble on it and be like, WTF?

Anyway, just a morning rant on the oddities of community and social transmogrification.

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