They Headed West


Every time I visit LA I realize how much the West Coast lifestyle permeated the culture in TV in and movies during my youth. Seems like an obvious conclusion to come to, but the things that jump out when you spend even a little bit of time there are those things that set California apart from the rest of the country. First, this is it—there is nothing West of here. In New York you have Boston and all of New England to the East. For that matter London seems more closely tied to NY then LA to NY on some days. Even driving into California from NY (which I have now done 3 times), you start seeing Los Angeles signs states away. Time zones away. That is the final destination. As you approach the city names drop off. This trip I saw a sign that 300 miles prior had four cites on it and half a day later was blank on the top half—as if there was no where else to go. Second, every dreamer from every nation, landed here to tell their story. Across the country, for centuries, various ethnic groups built around each other because there was space. Ethnic-American micro-cultures were born from the availability of land. Little Italy’s lived next to Chinatown’s all across the US. And while LA has no shortage of divisions, you get the sense that all these various people ended up here at the same finish line and looked at each other and just settled. Sharing backgrounds, ideas, whatever. From the architecture to the landscaping to the language (yes, they speak a different dialect in LA, easy to pick up, but not heard elsewhere), you can’t put one finger on the origin. As I walked to get coffee one night, and I was told the Brady Bunch House was down the street we just crossed, I once again realized that what was so familiar and yet so unique was born from this beautiful town. I realized, like so many other pop culture moments, the mashing of all these various backgrounds in one place, then sending the results back out to the world, is what made it feel so familiar for families everywhere. I miss it already.—Dominick

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