Big City Livin’

so the WGA is on strike. i believe on the west and east coasts. writers must show up for four hours a day for a minimum of 20 hours a week. the last big strike in 1988 lasted for 22 weeks. that’s a long time to be unpaid.

WGA strike

gina ferazzi, LATimes photo

have you ever walked a picket line?

i have, twice. or was it three times? i can’t recall how many times we graduate students went on strike when i was at UC Berkeley. i think perhaps the last time i was already off campus and wrapping up my dissertation and making plans for Life After Graduate School.

my first thought upon hearing that the writers went on strike is that the west coast writers won’t have to walk in the snow. striking is like that: at first all drama and outrage (jay leno bringing you krispy kremes on the picket line), and then as the powers-that-be ignore you and try to starve you out (there’s no other way to describe it, really), and days and weeks pass, on that lonely walk your mind turns to details like cough drops so your throat doesn’t get sore from shouting and really really comfortable shoes. and maybe a hot cup of coffee or tea every now and then. walking a picket line develops its own monotony; it becomes its own job.

hollywood is really only one part of los angeles. it’s a big part, but if you live here it doesn’t have to dominate your life.

in fact, we live in a part of los angeles where lots of “creatives” choose to live, and the great thing is that it still doesn’t dominate our lives in the way it might if we lived on the westside or in santa monica/brentwood/beverly hills/hancock park. (i’m not saying we could afford to live there–just that i’ve always associated those areas with where the tv/movie biz movers and shakers live.)

we live close to griffith park, THE largest urban park in america. it’s bigger even than central park in manhattan, and to my mind, way nicer. because we have no yard to speak of, we treat griffith park like our back yard.

earlier this year huge swaths of the park went up in flames from a rogue spark. it was nowhere as bad as the most recent wildfires that burned across southern california, but it came close enough to houses in our neighborhood that we had to evacuate los prius. (my name for los feliz.)

since then, we’ve watched helicopters drop bright green grass seeds and mulch on the bald brown mountains in the park. i guess the hope is that before the winter rainfall, the seeds will take root and keep dry soil from eroding or forming mudslides.

the “trails cafe” sign is back on los feliz boulevard, letting you know your source of fancy brownies, smoothies, and burritos just within the park is back in business. while most hillside trails are closed, there’s some limited hiking along the main roads.

i haven’t seen our wednesday night coyote, though. we usually see him skittering across the road, low and wary of our car’s lights like a nervous junkie, as he peruses all the garbage cans set out in advance of early-morning garbage pickup the next day. we joke that he has no reason to run off, dingo-like, with our plump and tasty preschooler between his jaws because he dines so well on our neighborhood’s gourmet leftovers. wonder if he survived the fire?

pretty soon i’ll take the Unreliable Narrator back for a hike along the secret cool shady creek that leads to the hidden playground. i think the ferns in fern dell weren’t burned in the fire, as i know houses abut that side of the park and no houses were lost. we’ll see if the frogs and turtles have found places to hide for the winter. throw sticks and leaves into the brook. harass and get harassed by squirrels looking for a bite of apple or a peanut. it’ll be almost as if we don’t live in los angeles.

ETA: WOW. wish i’d known about this in advance! i would’ve loved to have taken the Unreliable Narrator to see some electrifying classical music played by an orchestra that’s universally acknowledged to kick ASS.

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