Tuesday, October 28, 2008


You know what I just noticed?  I was biking back from the North Hollywood YMCA (hey, everybody: the Valero on Vineland and Oxnard is at $3.02!) where I now go to sublimate all base desires not otherwise accounted for by food, showering, and going to the library.  It's amazing how many base desires can be completely taken care of by a rousing browse through the Young Adult New Releases.  I like books.  So sue me.

Anyway, I just noticed that there is something missing from LA: animals.  More accurately, wild-ish animals, those street pigeons and squirrels that clutter everyone's backyard in every other city I've been to.  Further pondering on this subject (also dodging a Mexican dude driving a scruffy van who firmly looked not-in-my-direction as he pulled into the street) leads me to notice that there is a surprising dearth of any and all street life: birds, shrews, mice, whatever.  There are hardly even any bugs, except for black widow spiders and bees.

I wondered at first if it was because there aren't that many deciduous trees around here; everything is either palm or sawtooth or otherwise hazardous to cute fuzzy things that might live in them, except for tarantulas.  They're also scrubby and short, which goes gratingly against the Platonic archetype of "tree" that lurks in my subconscious.

Then I wondered if it's because the built-up-ness of every street -- with cement and cars and fences and cultivation -- might be responsible for killing off any and all native habitats.  I wondered if it's because people preferred to exterminate rats while encouraging the growth of tiny dogs that look and act like rats.  I wondered if it has something to do with the pervasive brown air -- should you be able to see air? -- and how my lungs now feel like I've been running a marathon when I go outside in the afternoon, peak smog time.

Then I saw a squirrel.  He was clearly taunting me.  But, unfortunately, he was unable to address my concern, given that he was your normal everyday type of squirrel rather than Hollywood-movie type adorable talking critter.  Maybe I should spent more time a few blocks down in Studio City and see if I can hit up one of the dudes on the Disney lot...I hear those talking mice love to catch a smoke outside the cafeteria.

1 comment:

MaggieMayDay said...

I never noticed that about LA, but I've spent far more time in San Diego. There's wildlife there because of the mesas and valleys.
Our condo was touched by a fenced off wooded area which led down a slope to the valley that connected into the freeway system. We had all sorts of birds including pigeons and raptors and owls right in our trees. I could watch the baby skunks going through the chain link fence. They were little puff balls, they'd squeeze through a link, all sleek, then pouf up on the other side. And ground squirrels ... wow, they were everywhere. Lots of squirrely goodness for the coyotes to eat.