Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cement and palm trees

I have come to realize what one of my biggest problems with Los Angeles is. It’s the lack of seasons. Specifically, it’s the lack of deciduous trees. How am I supposed to fully get into the autumn/Halloween mood when all of the trees around me are still bright green? I know what you may be thinking;
“But Lauryn, it isn’t even October yet! Isn’t it a little early to start getting into Halloween mode?”
My dears, it’s never too early.
I’m a bit torn. As most of you probably know, Los Angeles is a desert chaparral region, which on the plus side, is a biome with very mild weather. This is great for me since I have terrible circulation, which results in extreme sensitivity to both heat and cold. I would be miserable living in an area where I had to deal with the heat and cold that comes with real seasons.
Of course, while this lack of seasons keeps me from wanting to kill everyone around me, I also find it to be one of the biggest aesthetic weaknesses of Los Angeles. Perpetual summertime is visually dull. Yes, Topanga is beautiful, but after a while the consistency of the green shrubs gets incredibly boring. Not taking the weather into account, temperate deciduous forests are amazing. You can fully appreciate the beauty of how plant life changes with the seasons when they lack the permanence that Los Angeles plant life has.
Despite how much I hate weather, I miss having real seasons. Yes, I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but as a kid, I spent the majority of my summers and winters visiting my older brother up in Lake Tahoe. The colors aren’t as amazing as they are on the east coast, and summer isn’t particularly interesting, but the winter is gorgeous.
It is an eight hour drive (depending on traffic) and for most of the time, the only thing you see when you look out the window is a long stretch of desert, and the occasional cluster of cows. The length of this journey made the payoff even greater. Once we would reach the base of the mountain, it felt like we were driving into another world--one that was transforming around us, changing as we drove up higher and higher. The trees started getting taller and all around us the ground started turning from a dusty brown, to a fluffy white. This of course was only if we left at an early enough time in the day that it was still daylight at the time of our arrival. Of course because my family is generally incapable of doing anything in a timely manner, though we would always plan on leaving in the morning, it would almost always end up being mid-afternoon, giving us a 12-3am arrival. When that happened as was usually the case, it was much too dark to take in any of my surroundings. So, once we arrived I'd head right inside, say hello to Big Charlie (the taxidermy dear head that hung over the fire place. I named him after our cat), unpack some of my things and go to bed.
This gave a very different, but equally as fantastic payoff. I remember waking up and looking out the giant windows to see all of the towering trees covered in a thick blanket of snow. Instead of taking everything in slowly as we drove up the mountain, it would all hit me -BAM- right at once.

My brother(s) and I would pile on layers of clothing and sneak into the golf course next door to take advantage of all the perfect sledding hills. Usually we would get yelled at for trespassing but that didn’t stop us. After we got tired, we would head back and pull off the icicles that hung off of the ledge of the roof to gnaw on. Or we would throw them at each other. After we came back inside and peeled off all of our snow soaked clothing (my brother liked to pour it down my coat), we would sit on top of the floor heat vent and drink hot coco. It’s amazing how much better coco tastes when you’re in the process of un-numbing all of your extremities. Of course I am idealizing my childhood, but who cares?
Now this isn’t to say I still don’t hate the cold. I do. I really do. Snow is only nice when you only experience it for a few weeks out of the year.
But today’s rant is about the fall, not the winter. The point of that digression is to give  you an idea why of why I’m so fucking bored with all of this green.
I never had much experience with a full-fledged fall, but I like to think it is as (aesthetically) fantastic as I imagine it is. My elementary school had a long row of deciduous trees that at least allowed for some experience of what it was like to see trees bursting with color. I remember spending recess sitting in piles of leaves making color wheels.
Green to yellow.
Yellow to orange.
Orange to red.
Red to brown.
(I guess I was destined from a young age to become a graphic designer)
As awesome as it would be, I’m not in elementary school anymore and I don’t have rows of the deciduous trees I am yearning for or the piles of leaves to sit down in and play with. It has been years since I have gotten to make a snowman or been yelled at by someone for pelting them with snow. All I have is a lot of cement and palm trees.
I want October to be filled with trees that match the pumpkins on everyone’s porches. I want a gust of wind to pick up and rattle a pile of leaves. I want to know by looking around me that it is time to start breaking out the decorations. I want the winter to turn each tree into a skeleton and then wrap them up in snow. I want the spring to come and give us a burst of green speckled with flowers here and there, and perhaps a little rain. I’m not fond of the summer time, but I guess I wouldn’t mind it for a few weeks.
I want all of this; I just don’t want the weather that goes along with it. I don’t want to deal with being snowed in, having to shovel snow from the driveway so the car doesn’t get trapped, waiting for the engine to unfreeze, numb toes and fingers, my nose turning red, none of that shit. I don’t want to deal with the unsavory transition between winter and spring where the snow isn’t quite gone but the only snow left isn’t as much snow as it is slush mixed with dirt. I don’t know what a real fall is like so I don’t have any complains there. The summer time we have plenty of here, which though not terrible compared to other areas, is still muggy and miserable in my book. I say we tone that down a bit.
I want to live in some magic land where I can watch the seasons change, but the weather generally stays around 70 degrees. I want all this and while we’re at it, let’s throw in a million dollars too.
Apparently I have way too much to say about trees.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sock gnomes

I am starting to think that every residence I have ever inhabited has been infested with sock gnomes. No, not just sock gnomes. Sock, underwear, ear plug, and colorful foamy balls that come in packs of four from PetCo gnomes. I can only assume that these gnomes require these four items for their survival.

We have all come to accept the fact that things like toilet paper and food run out, and that unless we want to wipe our asses with xerox paper and continually open the fridge hoping that maybe this time there will be something in there, these things need to be replaced. There is however a difference between things that run out, and things that wear out.

Socks get thinner and thinner until eventually our heels and toes break start peaking through. The elastic in that cute lace thong you spent too much money for at Victoria’s Secret starts wearing out or god forbid snaps one drunk night. Your ear plugs get oogie from, well… they live in your ears. Does it really need explanation? No. As for the foamy balls, after time tiny razor kitty teeth will turn each one into a sad, malformed version of their former-selves. But these things are NOT supposed to run out. Those awesome Halloween socks can still be worn even if there might be a hole or two.

So someone, please explain to me, how these four items have found themselves in the category of items that run out. Where are my odd socks and underwear going?! Are the ear plugs melting into my brain in my sleep?!?? Is my cat eating her toys? I have searched the apartment. I don’t understand.

I think the safest assumption is gnomes.