Sunday, November 8, 2015

je préfére

I wonder, sometimes, if and how we're predisposed to preferences.
I love the hustle and bustle of New York, but that's probably because it's the city I first knew, and I knew it as the city; not to mention that the commotion reminds me of my childhood home, what with the nature of my parents' careers and social lives. I love the melodic elegance of the French language, but so does my Colombian grandmother, as she's repeatedly told me; and much of the whole wide world has a reverence for Paris, however imagined or misguided. But I didn't expect to love the cultural landscape of Los Angeles.
En fait, I'd hardly known one existed... and I'd be grateful if you could please excuse such a truth. This is a place to become. There's freedom in the space, in the undefinedness, in the beautiful excess of palms and bougainvillea across miles of unruly concrete.
Then again, this is also a place to drown--overlooked, forgotten--in the oppressive sunshine that blurs months into empty "nice days".
Do I love L.A.? Not quite, though I do really like it. I'd like to stay, too, for the right reasons. And leave when a move is due.
Recently, as I was commuting with TED Radio Hour on Identities, it occurred to me that after "what do you do?" and "what are you?" (a careless and annoying way to inquire about race/ethnicity), the most common question exchanged when meeting new people is "where are you from?" Too often I refer to myself as a "New Yorker in L.A. by way of Paris". A true response that reveals so little.
To be fair, declarations of identity tend to be oversimplified that way. And I'm only just beginning to understand the nitty gritty of myself. Thus these thoughts with these photos.