Saturday, February 2, 2008

Welcome to Glendale

A reader (I have readers!) requested another tale of my neighborhood. Unfortunately no one’s been killed, as far as I know. Okay, that was a terrible thing to say. I only said it because I thought it would be funny and now I feel kind of bad. But not bad enough to erase it.

I can tell you about Glendale’s fascism. I don’t actually know if it is fascism because I’m too lazy to look up the actual definition, but I like to call Glendale a fascist state because it sounds good and it’s all about the sound, baby.

I didn’t even realize I was buying a house in Glendale until I noticed the trash cans were mauve and not black. And then I was a little embarrassed, because apparently I’m a huge snob and there’s something, just, I don’t know, uncool about having to say you live in Glendale. I don’t even have a problem living in the San Fernando Valley, because I happily lived deep in The Valley for years, back in the day. But there is nothing geographical that divides Los Angeles from where I live in the southern tip of Glendale; to go from Atwater Village (in LA) to my neighborhood (Adams Hill) you just cross a road. How's that a valley? And, since I live on the border, I feel like I’m misleading people if I just say I live in Glendale. They ask me something about my city and I can’t answer it and I look like a dang fool. I work in Los Angeles, I eat in Los Angeles, I shop in Los Angeles, my friends live in Los Angeles. Geez, no wonder nobody talks to me in Glendale.

Now what am I going on about? Mm, fascist state. Glendale has rules, but they don’t tell you when you move in. Now when I moved in my house had some simple, attractive landscaping. What I didn’t know was that the sprinklers had been off during escrow so by the time I got there, the plants weren’t happy. And the grass had clearly had its day. I figured, ya know, we’re going into the rainy season, this lawn needs work, why waste water and money on it? Why? WHY? Because one day you will get a terrifying letter in the mail telling you you’re in violation of everything Glendale has ever dictated! And you have 30 days to correct it, or woe be unto you!

For example: "Glendale requires that all front yard areas be fully landscaped and maintained in a neat, orderly manner. At least fifty two percent (52%) of the front yard must be landscaped. All yards and parkways must be fully landscaped with live plant materials, irrigated and maintained in good condition at all times. All trees and shrubs should be trimmed away from any building or structures; the property should be free of weeds and overgrown vegetation. Paving in the front yard area is limited to driveways and walkways."

And the thing is, how does the city know if you’re in violation? Sure, they conduct inspections, but I think they only do that once a year. Generally, YOUR NEIGHBORS TURN YOU IN! Nice. Neighborhood. To live in. And you gotta believe me, my neighbors turned me in. With a vengeance. And when it took me three tries (and a couple years) to get a landscaper who actually did the job (and did it beautifully, god bless the dreamy Nick Tan), I assure you, my neighbors’ vengeance was mighty.

When the last bit of thyme was nestled against dove gray flagstone, my neighbors began pouring out of their houses to introduce themselves and say how lovely the garden is and blah blah blah and this that and the other thing. And I smiled and said thank you, but in my head I shook my fist in their faces and thought, “You lousy piece of crap, I’ve lived here three years! Where are my Jell-O molds!

I’m gonna go get coffee now. In ATWATER!

Love you,


1 comment:

Ellen said...

Before we leap to any spurious assumptions about one another, know this: I'm the kind of guy who leaves comments on blogs.

More often than not, those comments will have no bearing on the post. In your case, that would be your last transmission, "Welcome to Glendale."

And,just then, while I referred to the title of your entry, please do not assume I will make any further note of your various witty and terrifying observations about your little town of Glendale.

You should know that I harbor no false or implanted illusions about Glendale. It is a police state, pure and simple. In truth, I have always preferred La Canada-Flintridge, because it has a way fancier name. In fact, two names: one which appeals to my French ancestry, and the other which makes me smile because it sounds like a town Fred and Barney might cruise after work looking for girls.

Let me be the first to say that I miss our special time together. And let me be the first to actually mean it. And let's leave it at that.