So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night

moving187x227Long time no see, bitches! I have been caught up in a never ending nightmare of moving. First the company I work for relocated, Part of my job was to plan the move, top to bottom, so if you can imagine what it’s like when you move to a new house or apartment, it was kind of like that, if there were 25 people in your family, and you were building the place you were moving into.

As the dust was settling on the work move, Carol and I left our beloved seaside shack in San Pedro and moved to Alhambra. When you say Alhambra to most people in Los Angeles, they look at you sort of blankly and say, “oh, is that near San Diego?” The same thing they say when you tell them that you live in San Pedro. Even though San Pedro is part of the city of Los Angeles.

So rather than saying “Alhambra,” when people ask, we say South Pasadena. Everyone knows where that is. And actually, we’re only a few blocks from South Pasadena, so what’s the difference.

drivingbird155x101What’s the difference? Well, here’s the main difference: my commute has decreased by 75 miles a day. I work in Pasadena, and to get to work from San Pedro I had to drive 44 miles each way. It was usually 2 1/2 hours a day (or more) in the car, just getting to and from work. Now I am 6 1/2 miles from work and it takes 15 minutes to get there. Half an hour a day of driving. And no freeways. I used to drive on five different freeways to get to the job.

I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, you’re saving a shitload of money on gas and mileage!” Yes, but brothers and sisters, that is not even a drop in the bucket compared to the savings of time. Think about it. I’m in the car for two hours less every day. That sounds like a lot of time just by itself, but start to add it up and the numbers are frightening.

Two hours a day is 10 hours a week. More than one full work day. That’s 65 full work days per year, or thirteen work weeks! 13 work weeks. I had to type that again just to let it sink in. Forget work weeks, I was throwing away more than three weeks of 24 hour days behind the wheel.

I know that a lot of you reading this live in Los Angeles, and a lot of you probably commute more than I did, and you’re thinking that I should shut up and quit whining (or gloating), so I will.

PointFermin301x196I loved the Point Fermin area of San Pedro. Living there on the cliff, the neighbors were mostly good, the weather was cooler than the rest of Los Angeles, you could hear the sea lions barking about who-knows-what all night. But there’s a lot wrong with San Pedro too, and most of the people there choose not to think about it.

The pollution created by the ships and the port make the harbor area’s air quality the worst in LA, by far. People in the area directly around the port experience higher levels of a lot of cancers. There’s a gentrification move at work that threatens to extinguish the very things that made San Pedro a great place (as gentrification tends to do everywhere).

San Pedro is also secluded from the city center, which is one of the things that make it desirable, actually, but also the thing that starts to drive you crazy after a few years. If you want to go to a good restaurant, visit friends, see art, buy something (anything), etc., etc., you have to get in the car and drive away from San Pedro, far away, because there is really nothing in San Pedro. Okay, there are a few great breakfast places. But they all close at 2 pm. Yeah, I know. How many restaurants in your town close at 2 pm?

And specifically in the place that we lived, the noise was becoming unbearable. We were on the corner of a pretty busy street, a block from the park, and right in front of Sunken City. When we moved there it was February, foggy and cool, no one was around, and we couldn’t believe our luck for finding such a gem of a spot. Then summer came, and it was like living in the monkey house at a crumbling zoo in a forgotten Russian town somewhere.

Just filth and noise and day after day after day of assholish behavior, loud music from the park (not good music – San Pedro loves – and I mean loves – really, horribly shitty oldies bands…take the worst possible oldies bands you can imagine and multiply them by 50, that how shitty each and every one of these bands were), and this went on for 5 or 6 months of the year.

ear173x146So it was quiet and peaceful for the other six months, right? No, no it wasn’t. Being a block from the park meant being a block from Walker’s, a biker bar/hangout/joint. Even without Walker’s, the street we were on was a popular cruising street. It’s the southernmost street in Los Angeles, running along the coast…motorcycles day and night. Weekends, motorcycles times 20, plus low riders, extra loud stereos, and the aforementioned generally loud assholes everywhere.

These aren’t just regular motorcycles I’m talking about. They are all straight pipe, 120 decibel, “look at me, I’m the world’s biggest cocksucker!” motorcycles. If you were sitting on the couch talking to Carol or I on a typical weekend day, you would have to stop talking and wait for the bikes to pass about 100 times. It was that loud, and they were that close to the house. And just to make it even worse, about halfway through our 8 years there, the city decided that the intersection in front of the house should be a four way stop. What? Yeah.

So anyway, enough of that. The new place is great. Beautiful house, spacious (12 foot ceiling in the living room kind of spacious), quiet, peaceful, garden-like back yard, French doors, decks, long driveway (off-street parking, woo!) leading to a huge garage, central air. Ha. It is very refreshing to live close to things that people need: food, clothing, electronics, hardware, general ridiculous shit, work, civilization…

But I love you San Pedro, you were really something for a while there. I don’t know what the hell you are becoming, and I’m not sure I want to see it, but I will always feel a little bit like I’m “from” San Pedro. Just like I’m from Venice, Topanga, Redondo, Lawndale…

I’m typing this on the new IBM ThinkPad, part of a “get rid of all your big ugly shit” kick that I’m currently on. We’ll see how that goes. Many have tried to simplify, and have failed. No doubt I will fail too, but it’s something different for a while.

fit155x75Speaking of getting rid of big ugly shit, the Trooper is history. I got into an unfortunate wreck on the 110 freeway a while back and the Trooper was totaled. So I got a little Honda Fit to make the commute. Now I have no commute, but I still have the fit, which is a pretty good cheap little car. Honda rarely misses. Carol and I have had Hondas that we had to get rid of because the bodies were disintegrating, but the damn engines and transmissions just seem to go on forever. It’s hard to get rid of a Honda.

Okay, okay, enough already. We have been here for a week but still have no internet connection. I am posting this courtesy of some neighbors who do not believe in wireless security. See, the place is already better!

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