Just back from LA and out of the loop. I’ve heard the baby-killer got off and Obamster gave a disposable speech, but other than that I have no idea what’s going on.
More specifically, I’m back from the San Fernando Valley, one of those quintessential American places where 80s high school flicks were filmed, and where DH happened to go to a high school in the 80s. I suppose it was a “the end of history” kind of place. White Jews and Christians got along swimmingly, and all skinheads were Mexican. We were at a grocery store when a middle age woman exclaimed “Oh my god, I’m in a wrong line!” DH says it’s a little too Valley even for the Valley.
The next day I went shopping with my sisters-in-law. I found (don’t laugh) three deeply discounted cardigans and bought them all. I never find good buys like that up north, probably because we actually need sweaters here. The sales girl, a Persian, by the looks of her, rang me up and then, for some reason, started counting on her fingers.
“We women count on our fingers, and then the men roll their eyes at us,” she explained. And who says immigrants don’t assimilate?
Next I went to meet a high school friend of mine at an modified Israeli restaurant in Encino called Cafe Aroma. Modified because they have some American and Mexican fares. They serve very excellent lemonanas, or lemonade blended with what seems to be an equal amount of mint leaves. My friend, who spent nearly two decades in Israel, was chatting with a girlfriend when I arrived. She had on her self two sell phones and a lap top. Her friend left and another one stopped by for a glass of lemonana and a chat. She had the same last name as my maiden name. For some reason it happens a lot to us Jews.
Men at Aroma wore quite hunky. Younger women were tanned to perfection and wore tight-fitting black outfits. The grandma contingent often spotted designer imitation vintage dresses. They wore this style in their youth, so no irony there. I would be out of place in my neutral Anthropology knits if not for Israeli jewelry that I thought of wearing at the last moment. Not that anyone cared. It wasn’t any kind of hipster hangout, but a multi-generational and very easy-going kind of place. Great lunch food.
A glass of Riesling can be refreshing on a hot day, but Cafe Aroma doesn’t appear to have a liquor license. We Jews don’t drink that much, and that includes Russian Jews and Jewish-related Russians. Russian Jews feel like chastising themselves from time to time: “Oh no, we come to Israel and ruin the country! There is so much alcoholism there now!” Oh, but we’ve been to a Russian club in Israel. Some Russian band was playing, and the singer was standing on one leg pretending to be a mushroom. The audience sat there sipping vodka. I’m sure some Russians in Israel do get arrested for drunk driving, and there are Jews everywhere who drink more then average, but all in all we are not a hard drinking bunch. During that Israeli trip of ours Israeli soccer team was playing the Irish team. And so a bunch of Irish soccer fans flew in to save the day.
I told my girlfriend that the place is interesting from a cultural anthropology perspective, to which she responded: “Oh, LA! We call it La-La Land in Israel. There is a show about LA on Israeli TV called La-La-Land .” I can see why she thinks the term La-La Land is an Israeli invention: it just sounds Hebrewesque. But no, I’m pretty sure it’s American, and I wasn’t talking about LA in general, but about the Israeli cafe. I suppose it’s an easy fit, though. Grater LA looks and feels very Jewish.
We had a fabulous BBQ on the 4th; the kids played with their many cousins. Once it got dark we ended up going up and down the Ronald Reagan freeway (118) to watch fireworks from my sister-in-law’s balcony. Other fireworks were going off as we were driving. Some of the fireworks we saw from the balcony were happy faces, which was a bit disturbing. I was concerned that they would do pacifism signs too, but to my relief they didn’t.
We went to parent hell commonly known as Disneyland on Wednesday. We played “Mickey Mouse” by the Sparks as we were approaching Anaheim.
DH likes to describe them as a very rooted SoCal band. We were tempted to tune into Rush on the way there, but given that we had a car-full of cousins who, given their age had no interest in talk radio, we didn’t.
It was hot and humid, and loud music was everywhere, but Yelena had fun. She claims that she liked Dumbo and Tea Cups the most, but she obviously enjoyed It’s a Small World more. At the end of the day we bought her a princess baby doll ripe for plastic surgery jokes.
Muslim women walked around in full headgear. One of them was wearing a black robe. I wonder how often they overheat. For fairness sake I have to mention a group of nuns, most of them in black, visiting Disneyland. They displayed more skin than the Muslimas, though, and had no kids to watch.
Our last night in the Valley we met up with a high school friend of DH’s. We went to bar that closed early, and then wanted to buy some beer at a liquor store. It was 12 am, but most liquor stores were closed.
“The Valley is changing,” our friend explained.
It certainly is. It’s visibly not racially homogenous, with all sorts of “brown” people, like Chinese, Mexicans, Filipinos shopping at Von’s. Women in Muslims garb are not unusual. I hope they won’t end up erecting a separation barrier between Northridge and Encino. History doesn’t end.
We drove back Friday. We were relived to turn off the AC and open the windows as we approached the Bay Area. That evening I wore one of my new cardigans. That’s what I call climate change!