Having lived in Los Angeles for over eighteen years, I’d say I’m qualified to speak about this city. And one thing I’ve noticed all these years is that there lacks a connection among those who live here. Granted, this is largely a transplant metropolis, meaning the majority of dwellers were not born here, raised here or even have been here for long periods of time, so their loyalty often lies to another city. And this being a mecca for those interested in film and television and of course, home of the legendary Hollywood, many come to Los Angeles with big dreams and even bigger problems. So I would argue many of the cityfolk feel little bond with this city, and in fact, may even come to hate it because it didn’t offer everything they had expected or wanted it to. This city gets a hard rap, often undeserved.
Though I’ve lived in Los Angeles the majority of my life, I had the benefit of growing up on the east coast, in Buffalo, New York. And from birth until I was ten years old, I lived in a place that was quite united. During the 1980s, I remember this city was consumed by the Buffalo Bills. Have you seen Vincent Gallo’s film, “Buffalo ’66”? Well, he nails this feeling. And yes, the Bills never won the Superbowl, but they did go to it four years in a row. See, even I, who couldn’t care any less about football, will defend this team until I’m blue in the face because gosh darn it, they have heart. And they had support of an upstate New York city who I would argue often cared more about them than they did themselves. My dad often took me to these games and I had a great time. But my point is, this city rallied around their football team. They shared this common bond and it was strong. Perhaps it still is, I don’t know, because I haven’t lived there in many years, but I distinctly remember the fellowship, the bond, the connection that permeated there throughout my childhood. And it felt good. It felt real. It felt like we weren’t all just strangers.
I can’t remember feeling this way about Los Angeles, except for when the very destructive earthquake happened in Northridge in the 1990s. But this week, I’ve noticed cars with Lakers flags on them. And while my first thought was that they were annoying, I immediately changed my tune when I kept seeing them and they conjured up a feeling I had when I was a kid. I started noticing people walking around in the colors of the team and wearing Lakers jerseys. It gave me a feeling of a city united. And it’s been great.
Yes, I think it’s important that we march to the beat of our own drums, but sometimes, it’s nice to be a part of a large band.