One of the best books I read this year was Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathanial P. It provides more insight into a certain type of a twenty/thirty-something male mind than a whole swathe of psychology books ever could. Hence why I was so pleased to read this article detailing the author’s correspondence with the many men who recognized themselves in the title character. It’s a slightly disheartening, but fascinating (and potentially useful?) glimpse into this particular iteration of the modern psyche.
— LA continues to grow on me with every passing day, but lately I’ve been lamenting the lack of spontaneity that results from going about life within the bubble of my car. What of chance encounters and random moments! Add Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking to my ever-growing list of books to read.
Whenever I move to a new place, I take stock of the local fashion trends. Every city has it’s own unofficial uniform. Only one item has been pervasive enough to catch my attention in LA thus far: patterned leggings. They are e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Nearly three months in, I’ve finally succumbed to the fervor. See below snapchat:
I have been so well-behaved about NOT buying new clothes here. But for $12 while I’m buying shampoo at Target? Done.
The difference is geography. New York is a traditional metropolis: 8.3 million people crammed into about 300 square miles of gridded land. (Chicago and San Francisco are the same basic shape, only smaller.) Los Angeles, on the other hand, is much less dense: about 3.9 million people spread out over nearly 500 square miles. As a result there’s a lot more room to carve out ethnic enclaves, and to cook. “It’s a big place,” Choi tells me. “Real estate is not that expensive if you look around. It’s not like New York where you have to go out to the boondocks just to afford something. We’re like the old Manhattan—it’s still cheap in certain sectors. And even within the city core, we still have pockets that are hidden. That’s a kind of freedom.”
After traveling to far flung reaches of the city for naeng myun in Koreatown, pupusas at an El Salvadorian restaurant, and ash-e reshteh soup at a Persian place (and all within only the past week!), I will concede that this essay makes a compelling argument.
Confession. I’ve erased Toronto from my personal history. When people ask me where I lived before LA, I say New York. To say otherwise seems misleading (I don’t think of myself as someone who ever really lived in Toronto; my time there was just this slightly unreal, very cold and dark, temporary detour on my life path) and also complicated (I burden myself with the duty of qualifying WHY I found myself in that city). Saying New York is not only simpler, but it seems more honest.
Hence why I’ve barely mentioned Toronto on this blog since I left in June.
I only bring this up now because of the intense spotlight currently fixed on the city. Everyone is abuzz with the Mayor Rob Ford controversy. The whole situation is embarrassing (not just for Ford, but for the citizens who continue to support him and keep his approval ratings high!), and seems positioned to become exponentially more absurd with each passing day. My social media feeds are overflowing with it, but I can’t seem to muster the interest to care. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all part and parcel of a distant land that I once had some tenuous connection to, but now I’m just too focused on looking ahead.