So here I am, an exile returned to Los Angeles. While I’m Chicago born and raised, I’ve lived a big chunk of my adult life in L.A. and it’s very much home to me. Perhaps because my time in L.A. has been very much outside “industry” circles (which is not to deny that, like many an Angeleno, I’ve ended up with a few famous friends along the way), I view the city rather differently, as a place defined as much by buses and trains as by automobiles, by working people as much as by actors and musicians.
My first stop after leaving the airport was In-N-Out. Since the FlyAway bus was going to Hollywood and Vine, I decided to go to the one near Sunset and Highland. It turns out, this may have been a bit of a strategic error given the crowds present. I’d hoped I’d be there off peak, but I’m guessing that this close enough to all the touristy stuff on Hollywood Blvd to be a big draw (not to mention having Hollywood High across the street). Still, one Double-Double and a Strawberry Shake later, I knew I was back in my town.
My other must-do was a visit to the Los Angeles Catholic Worker for their Wednesday night mass and dinner. It was a chance to see some old friends from what I like to refer to as the radical left-wing fundamentalist fringe of the Catholic church, the people who take the words of the Sermon on the Mount seriously. One of the community members, Jeff Dietrich published a book, The Good Samaritan: Stories from the Los Angeles Catholic Worker on Skid Row, last year that I finally got around to buying and thrown in was a copy of Daniel Berrigan’s A Sunday In Hell: Fables and Poems. So my first two book purchases of the week took place without even making it to the convention center.
Tomorrow, I face the teeming hordes and try not to flee in terror.