The Great Plotnik

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Venus, Saturn and Mars

The other day Plot, Duck and The Great PD were talking about cities -- which one would you like to live in? What about New York? What about Washington D.C.? What about L.A.?

"Dad," TGPD said, "L.A. is ugly."

He's right but it's not alone. Some cities are old and worn out. Trenton, New Jersey comes to mind. Gary, Indiana. Newark. Detroit. They are so torn up their patina of age has become a toxic pothole. Their chief industry is despair. L.A. is not like that.

You can't despair in L.A. You don't have time. You are running late for your 10 o'clock with that agent's dog walker who knows a woman who was married to Harvey Keitel's second wife's chiropractor.

Some cities are new and awful. Phoenix. Houston. Dallas. Denver. There is absolutely nothing there except sprawl of the highest order and pollution to match it. Even the suburbs are ugly, carbon copies torn from some magazine they glanced at a decade ago then threw it out and started building. L.A. is not like that.

Some cities have a lot of history and have maintained it. Boston. New York. Charleston. New Orleans (despite God's continuous jealous rages). These are cities whose age adds to their charm. L.A. is not like that.

Some cities are just unique, like Las Vegas. It has managed to transcend hideousness and come out smiling on the other side with only a few teeth missing. Say what you will, there is nowhere on earth like Las Vegas, Nevada. L.A. is not like that.

Some cities are beautiful, historical, great places to live and also boring. Saint Plotniko is like that. But it's easy to live there. L.A. is not historical and the living is not easy, but it's not boring either.

But man, this is one ugly place. UG-LEE! Sure there's a park over there, in back of the Starbucks under the billboards behind the DMV in front of the strip mall. There goes that actress, she was in, you know, the movie with that guy, the hat? You remember the guy with the hat? You don't?

Hey! Is that Tim Roth? Yes, it, it's not. It's not Tim Roth, it's a Tim Roth impersonator who works infrequently at parties. He can also do Abe Vigoda.

Some cities give us nothing back. L.A. gives us our face. All those movies, all those commercials, all those beach blanket bingos, all those sit coms, so many of them shot here that people in Argentina think they can find their way around town. The world thinks America looks like Bay Watch. They really really do.

Some cities are like Oakland, Christ. Oakland's last name is Christ. Everybody says Oakland? Christ.

Honolulu's last name is Oh Man! It's not all beautiful, it's kind of built up randomly, but it's got those amazing green hills and crazy beautiful beaches and maybe there are too many hotels but that's just in one spot. The rest of it is old mango and breadfruit trees in back yards and tiny houses up on blocks and you can't leave your bicycle on the street because the meth heads will get it but you can get a smoked tuna fusion or a meat-and-three Korean barbecue that you can take with you up one side and down the other into paradise.

L.A. is not like that.

Brooklyn is 'way cool. But it's concrete. New York is 'way cool. But it's frantic. Chicago is kind of cool. But the weather. Atlanta is the San Diego of the South. A little smoke, not much fire.

Cities Plotnik has heard are surprisingly nice to live in: Kansas City. Minneapolis. Toronto. But he's never heard that from people who actually live there.

Places Plotnik has lived in and loved: New York. Miami. Berkeley. Catawissa, Pennsylvania. L.A. (at times). Saint Plotniko (at times).

Places Plotnik has not lived in but loved anyway: New Orleans. Boston. Tucson.

Right now he needs one more set of eyeballs, because he's got one eye on Providence, one eye on Brooklyn, one eye on Mummy P's house in L.A. and one eye on La Palma Mexicatessen and Huaracheria in the Mission.

Tonight he and Ducknik held Mummy P's hand and walked her onto the grass in her backyard and they all looked up in the sky. There, right above their heads were three planets within a few inches of each other: Venus, Saturn and Mars. Mummy P. could see Venus. It was bright like the headlight on a train coming out of a dark tunnel.

This felt very nice.

Planets Plotnik has lived on and felt quite attached to: Earth.


At 9:31 AM, Blogger notthatlucas said...

I'm pretty sure it was Harvey's first wife's chiropractor. San Francisco is boring? Granted, I'm including most of the Bay Area with it, but it hardly seems boring. Very familiar for you maybe.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

Lovely and I enjoyed your photos from yesterday. Come home to the fog.

At 7:39 PM, Anonymous jj-aka-pp said...

Ahem! Please explain Atlanta comment...We have plenty goin' on thank you very much!
However right now with our 1000th day at 90+ temperatures, it's not very inviting, I will admit!

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous HankyGirl said...

And St. Louis doesn't even make the list? Here's an example of a great city—gorgeous buildings, friendly people—handicapped by ten months of weather that's either too hot or too cold. During the other two months though, one of my favorite towns!

At 4:30 PM, Blogger DAK said...

Well, Hanky, like I said -- you rarely hear people extolling certain cities (like St. Louis) unless they don't live there anymore. Now JJ-aka-PP has a legit gripe because she does still live in Atlanta, though we all know she's moving to San Francisco of these days.


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