The Angeles / by Vanessa Fiola

**The next 29 days I’ll be posting 500 words a day as part of a creative writing challenge. You can join the fb group here. **

On one hand I can tell my very corporate colleagues that I spent the weekend doing healing sessions with my shaman, and they’re all like, “Cool. I caught up on Modern Family reruns.” I am fairly certain that if I shared that same information in Detroit, I’d get punched in the face. 

And last year my co-worker literally breastfed her baby while giving a presentation, in front of our whole company. Having nursed my own child until he was old enough to tell me a plot-less story about Penny the Bicycle, I’m obviously a supporter, though I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I OCD-chantwhispered, “…just look at the PowerPoint….just look at the PowerPoint,” for the better part of fifteen minutes. Regardless, they probably arrest you in Florida for buying nursing bras. 

On the other, jchrist, Los Angeles, you’re the worst.

I don’t hate Los Angeles for all of the reasons that most people do. The fake boobs and Botox and mass consumption have their own charm. I see those things and think of them the way I think of my nineteen-year old tortured self hovering in a dark café at midnight, furiously scribbling away at my journal, certain I had the Great American Novel within me: you’re adorable.

But a lady cut me off in front of the crystal store today and I almost lost my mind.  She yoinked the spot I had been waiting for, just as the dad picking his kids up from Tae Kwan Do in the family Tesla pulled out. We’re not at Target, lady.  I happened to be on the phone with my shaman at the time. “THIS is why you don’t live in Los Angeles!” I told her. In fact she lives in an idyllic little slice in the Pacific Northwest, where there are real bald eagles and otters in the bay and a stargate, which I don’t even know what that last thing is.

“The traffic is the worst and people are mean and this lady is going into the CRYSTAL STORE for crissakes,” I seethed. It’s the hypocrisy and paradox of this town that can be periodically soul crushing. The way the yoga teacher tells the room in savasana that the class is “…donation only, in the spirit of the tradition, but, you know, $20 is customary.” Or the street art stencil of a slaughtered pig in front of the music conservatory for kids to remind us “Veganism is magical.”

I sighed. My shaman told me that I probably have a heightened sensitivity now, and maybe this is a sign and I should just turn around and go home, so I had to declare my love for her right then because she gets me.