Pilates, juicing, hot yoga, paleo, gluten free, homeopathy, acupuncture, ionized bracelets, pole dancing workouts, acacia berries. If there is a health craze in existence, it has taken root in the Los Angeles Valley. I used to think this was so because of some creeping vanity that asserts itself when you live among the glitterati of “La-La Land” but after a recent trip to the area I’m not so sure.
My twenty seven mile drive from Hollywood to Redondo Beach lasted one and a half hours. That’s a lot of time not moving, looking at liquor stores, crazy people yelling at walls and dancing, barbed wire fences around schools, liquor stores, and more power lines than can possibly be necessary in the land of rolling brown outs.
While sitting in a car doing nothing your mind wanders. Is Korea Town the largest district in existence or am I just moving that slowly? My nineteen hundred mile flight from Atlanta to LAX lasted four and a half hours. This twenty seven mile drive has taken at least a quarter of that and is still counting. Manual transmissions in this city are for masochists. How much time does an average Angelino spend in their car per day? Per year? How much of your life do you sacrifice to traffic to live here?
And then it hit me. The workouts. The cleansings. The excessive kale. None of it has anything to do with looking good. That’s what they think botox is for. Denizens of LA are desperate, grasping at anything that hints at health because they need to live longer to reclaim time lost on the 10.
If I spent one twenty fourth of my life listening to Mark and Brian, sucking up smoggy exhaust, and changing lanes without indicating my intentions I might be tempted by the promises of a prebiotic gelato myself.
To be fair, this is my first swipe at anthropology, but for a naif, I think I’ve stumbled upon a basic truth. In deference to Steely Dan, I will henceforth refer to this now proven theory and immutable fact – that Southern Californian’s indulgence in questionable health fads is directly related to their realization that life is fleeting and that life spent in the car is life squandered – as the LA Concession.