My original assignment for this column was to write about life in a wheelchair in Los Angeles. I have strayed from this noble purpose because, a. I am in LA but not of LA, and, b. I have an eclectic mind, which is the same thing as scatter-brained. But, here is a paradox about LA worth examining from the wheelchair POV:
1. Everything in LA changes all the time.
2. Nothing in LA ever changes.
I live in a modest neighborhood on the west side of LA where they are now building behemoth mansions with five bedrooms and five bathrooms that fill up every inch of the property site. They will soon turn a funky street with funky little houses full of artists and plumbers into a bland, treeless, Generica Estates full of lawyers and bond traders, not the most fun-loving of neighbors. Oh, yeah, they are also building a Metrolink system about five blocks away and taking an old cement plant and turning it into a zillion high-end apartments. If you lived around here 10 years ago and came back for a visit, you probably couldn’t find the house you lived in.
Why am I telling you this? Because I don’t want you to move here thinking this is the swinging city you see on Extra with Mario Lopez. The middle class, as in most cities, is being pushed further and further out of Lopez’ LA and into the desert. Soon, to buy a modestly-
priced house, you’ll have to move to Barstow. The new intra-city Metrolink is seemingly a good thing, but there are no spaces specifically set aside for wheelchairs, the station bathrooms are scary, and what use will you have for it if you live in Barstow?
OK, so LA is a city that gets plowed under and rebuilt every Tuesday. What doesn’t change about it? Anything that would improve the