On Monday morning I woke up in a strangely perky mood for a Monday. This past weekend officially marked a full year in Los Angeles for me, and even though I didn’t really consciously acknowledge it, I think knowing that I’ve spent a year doing what I never really thought possible back in Kansas has filled me with an incredible sense of accomplishment. Monday was a strange day, though, and my bright morning was about to turn into a less-than-shiny day.
When I got to work, I discovered on a local news site that a robbery and subsequent manhunt had taken place in Century City during my commute. Century City is fifteen minutes from the neighborhood where I live, and many of my assistant friends were discussing it on Facebook, as CC is where several different production companies, one studio and a handful of agencies are situated as well.
This in itself didn’t really phase me all too much, besides the initial surprise that in the year 2015 people are still committing big-time robberies in the middle of the day as if they were Bonnie and Clyde and this was the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first. However, I took bigger note of this situation when later that afternoon, I got a text from my roommate who couldn’t go home because our neighborhood had been blocked off by the police, who were searching for two men who had hijacked a car, rammed into a police car, and then taken off on foot through our neighborhood. It would be another two hours before she’d be able to enter our street.
This really hit home for me, but the events of the day weren’t over yet. As I was driving home after a long night of printing, I passed a car that was essentially parked in the right hand lane of the street. I passed by slowly, wondering if they had stalled, or if there was something wrong, and was surprised to find that the driver was simply sitting in the driver seat, waiting. I though perhaps he was an Uber driver waiting to pick up his next customers and drove on, but as I looked into my rearview mirror, I noticed a second man kneeling on the ground near the passenger side of the car, doing something to a tire of a parked car on the street. I was too far away to tell exactly what was going on, and decided it was better if I stay out of it, but if I didn’t know better, I would have said that those men where stealing hubcaps off of cars.
And while I can’t say for sure that that is what I witnessed, it was a jarring experience nonetheless. And the entire day’s worth of events really got me thinking about the world we live in, and more specifically, the city that I live in. It was a very timely first-year anniversary reminder that LA isn’t some glamorous or shiny city where everyone is middle class and can be trusted not to steal your things. LA is a grimy place where people who are suffering live and are desperate enough for money that they’re willing to steal your hubcaps or car or attempt to pull off a robbery in broad daylight in order to improve their situation.
The world can be a scary place, and I think we often let ourselves fall into these places of disillusioned comfort so that we don’t have to face the dark, harsh reality around us. And honestly? It was a good reminder for me, as I realized that I had been falling into this abyss of comfortable ignorance. To me, that is worse than depressing reality, because when something bad does happen, it is that much more unexpected, that much more jarring, and that much more hard to handle. I don’t want to let myself grow comfortable and rigid in how I think the world works, because I want to be prepared for the tough times, and as much as I wish they were all behind me, I know that there will always be tough times ahead of me, too.