Why do I like Los Angeles so much? As the plane descends, I see a layer of smog coating the city, and I smile. The air is so clear and clean in Oregon, so it is nice to see the dirt of a city rise up into the air. There is dirt because everyone is busy, everyone is doing something, everyone is driving somewhere. It is exciting. I don’t know what they are doing or where they are going, but it makes me curious and it makes me happy.
I get my rental car and drive to Santa Monica. It is early in the morning so I search on google for “coffee shops with wi-fi near me”, so I can get some breakfast and write this blog. I locate one about a 20 minute drive away. The MAPS voice calmly guides me. She gives me plenty of notice of when I need to turn so that I can cut across the 5 lanes of traffic to do it. I find it, and drive around for 15 minutes and finally find a parking spot. When I get there, it seems quiet and everyone looks like they know each other. I can’t sit here for 2 hours and write my blog. I would feel awkward, and maybe it would just be me and the barista there once the few people that are there finish up. I ask a girl behind me in line if there is another coffee shop around, and she tells me about a place called Bulletproof right up the street. This place, coincidentally was founded by an author. I walk in, and the author’s face is on a big flashing screen behind the counter and copies of his book are at each table. The author’s brazen self promotion seems to go unnoticed by everyone but me. I look at the menu, and everything is grass-fed, organic, and gluten free. I was going to have a coffee and pastry, but end up ordering organic, gluten free avocado toast with a healthy protein berry smoothie. I haven’t even eaten it yet, and already I feel healthier. Everyone in the coffee shop looks like they just worked out, or like they are about to work out. They all have coordinated gym outfits, with fanny packs and sneakers with no socks. Some people have their dogs with them, and the dogs wag their tails and pant in anticipation of their bowl of water and the scrap of food that is coming their way. I find a seat, and ask for the wi-fi password. The girl behind the counter tells me there isn’t one, I just have to sign up for the mailing list in order to use it. Hmmm, good marketing. As soon as I sit down I hear my name, “PeeeeeTA”, Huh? I don’t remember them asking my name when I ordered. Did I hear right? The girl behind the counter almost makes a song out of my name “PeeeTA, Peta, Smoothie for Peta, PeeeeeeeTa!”, I get up and grab it, they must have taken the name off my debit card. Another good idea. I take it all in.
I love observing people interacting, what they wear, how they present themselves, and LA is a great place to do this. There is such a variety of people and they could care less about me, so I can observe without being noticed. Like the older man that just walked in that everyone behind the counter knows. He has a red face and a permanent smile. A young good looking boy hands hand him his regular order and the older man asks him if his friend got back to him. ‘No, not yet’, the boy frowns. He laughs and tells him to give it time, and then he turns and seems to skip out the door. I wonder why he is so happy. So I make up a scenario in my head that he is a big Hollywood producer living in a huge house with a beautiful wife, and he is off to work on the set of an upcoming movie.
Things are happening. I can feel it. The music in the coffee shop is very loud and people are talking over it. Everyone is talking either to each other, or someone on their phone. There is a buzz in the air. I like that feeling. Maybe that is why I like LA. It feels like if something isn’t happening already, it is about to happen. And it can happen to anyone. People come from all over to be ‘discovered’ in LA, to become famous, to be a movie stars. Maybe someone in this coffee shop is a future movie star, everyone started somewhere. It is possible. It is LA.
I am here for a class on how to use Instagram to better market my art. It is a 3 day class starting on Monday, but I came early to work on the online course work that I was supposed to read months ago. I signed up at the end of January, it is May now. How did I not find any time to complete the course work? As I look back over the past 4 months, I feel like every moment has been filled with me trying to make things ‘happen’ for me. I want my art to ‘happen’. I can create art, but in order for something to really ‘happen’, people have to know about it. I admire the people in LA because they seem like they enjoy promoting themselves. I have a hard time doing that. But I have come to LA to learn to do it better.
I shouldn’t feel like I am disrespecting my art when I promote it. Because what is art if it is not seen? It still exists, but it is not alive. Art comes alive when people see it. Art is like the shy child that lights up when someone admires them. And like a child, art always exists in the present moment but has the ability to transport the person admiring it to a better place in their mind.
Los Angeles is the place of dreamers, promoters, idealists, and people that want to make things happen for themselves. I feel the energy of these people when I come to this city. I feel it in the smog that rises up above the city, I feel it on the bustling busy freeways, I feel it in this healthy ‘coffee shop’ where I don’t think that one person has ordered coffee, not even me. In this city I feel like if something hasn’t happened yet, or isn’t happening now, it is possible that it will happen in the future. Because here is where things ‘happen’, and I want them to happen for me.