Can’t kvetch without you

There’s so much to kvetch about yet I have been a no-show on ObJew lately. I think I’ve let the Los Angeles anti-kvetch automatons get the better of me.

I’m so sick of Ms. Pollyanna Purebread and her minions. How is it that their optimism is so fragile that my kvetching is a threat?  They get so damned resentful that this little heeb can, with a couple of well placed gripes, pierce their WASPY suits of  I-must-be-optimistic-or-cry armor. On top of that, they resent that I consider kvetching to be an art form — though admittedly, a dying art form. They don’t understand that there is comedy in kvetching!

An old friend named Blair recently used a quote from Eddie Hunt as his Facebook status. It read, “LA’s Fine. Nothing terribly bad or terribly good will ever happen here. In NYC amazingly good and amazingly bad things can happen.”

Oy, what a tumult it caused. A band of insecure LA anti-kvetches went ballistic, not realizing that one interpretation of the quote could be that LA is a heck of a lot more even-keeled than New York. New York’s extreme ups and downs — while perhaps tremendously exciting — are, for the most part, the urban cultural schizophrenia most Angelenos prefer to avoid. Angelenos, that’s okay.

Blair didn’t know what hit him when the anti-kvetches began to flame his status message. First there was (LA spokesperson, I guess) Robert C:

ugh…blair, you used to live in Los Angeles…you know better than to make such ridiculous statements. reveals a new york provincialism that at this point in history is just laughable. when new yorkers talk like this their insecurity is showing.

Our insecurity? Really? And, is it provincialism to say what we all know but just can’t say in Los Angeles (and — I know from experience — in San Francisco) that New York is the capital of the world? (It probably is provincialism but let’s move on.)

Of course, I had to take this on. Admittedly I was in a somewhat grumpy mood:

When New Yorkers talk like that it’s because it’s true.

Then I took another swing. A New York right hook — right below the belt:

Face it. LA is a sleepy suburban sprawl that gets up late and closes early. It is a movie-set facade of a city that many people seem to enjoy. They say it takes at least 3 years of living in LA to actually like it. I’ve got two to go…

I thought that was funny. Ed, another one of Blair’s friends, did not. I was told by Ed to:

“hop back on that jet plane to NYC. (Stereo)typical New Yorker.”

Ed did not understand that kvetching = fun! I made up my mind to prove it to him.

To drive the point home, I told him I’d be staying in LA until I was done complaining. Ha! Anyone that knows me knows that that was code for me staying here indefinitely. Suck it Ed!

I also told him to think of my kvetching as punishment for not being able to find restaurants in LA open after 9:30 PM. Major LA kvetch! How can you consider yourself a major metropolis if everything shuts down by 9? Huh Ed?

Next came the Ms. Purebread ultimate (I left her spew unedited):

“we have ,sun,beaches,culture,fashion,film,radio,tv,top ranking colleges,desert mountains,green grass,clean city,oppurtunity,architecture,Inice people,beautiful beautiful people,1 recovery in the world,low stress,cars,every race possible,……LA is just the place for people who already figured out who they are,what they want,andwhere they want to be, and to do it in a beautiful atmosphere…….and don’t have to prove to everyone else………why struggle in the land of cement!!! carry stuff on your back,freeze your ass off,and it doesn’t matter how much money you have…..still complain. Love NYC,to visit,and then get back to real life!!!!!!!!!!!!!! why does everyone come here then complain,NYC is NYC,and LA is LA. Dig in and allow yourself to enjoy all that LA has to offer.

Already Ms. Calm-and-Collected LA Purebread is breaking a sweat and her low stress veneer is melting all over the beautifully manicured green LA grass. And, by its rambling nature, we know one thing for sure: She should put down the crystal meth pipe right away. Right away.

But never one to pass off an opportunity to infuriate a crackhead, I hammer my point home, again:

“I guess kvetching is just an art form that is undervalued and so misunderstood here in la la land…”

He shot back,

“…..we have just outgrown it.

Touche. Exactly my point. RIP New York Jewish cynicism, particularly when it rears its ugly head in LA.

One more volley from me:

“Yes. So advanced here. You need a light to tell you when to cross the street. Can’t figure it out for yourself?

Then Ms. Pollyanna Purebread snapped, choking on soured optimism. Oozing from her pores came doom and dread.

“at least the streets r not filed with rats…….clean,beautiful,and green grass. Is life about being advanced,or just the joy and gratttitude to be alive??????? Whats it like to be so advanced?????????? r u discovering any cures,or changing life?

The horror. The horror.

The movie set facade of her life had shattered. Her distaste of me and, by extension all kvetching New Yorkers drooled from her lips. We had pushed her over the pessimistic edge. Her life would never be the same.

I felt vindicated and alive!

And, of course, I felt some guilt. (It’s Jewish law.) Was I really just a pessimist curmudgeon that couldn’t enjoy LA?

During my hiatus from ObJew I pondered that very question. Should I too be an optimist? Should I embrace LA and all of its great attributes?

Nah.

I decided to embrace my inner, and outer kvetch. I decided to complain with gusto as if my life depended on it! I will not let the anti-kvetch automatons win!

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What a dump!

Ah Los Angeles.  Sprawling suburbs speckled with strip malls and surrounded by traffic-laden, potholed streets. Freeways are parking lots and public transportation is virtually non-existent.  

Drive to a bar.  You’re done. Now turn on your ignition and cut across four lanes of traffic. But be on the lookout for pigs.

Ah LA. La La Land. You love it here because celebrities live and work here.  Their stars line a street while everyone serves them.

Fun. I know. Because you want to be just like them. And you don’t even know them.

Feels real, right?  

Well guess again.  You’re not the star of your own reality TV program, though it feels that way to you.  

But you’ll find that out the hard way, soon enough.  

You think I’m bitter?  Well maybe just a tad.  

They tell me I will love LA in the requisite two years it normally takes.  But why must I wait so long to like this place, I ask.  They never have an answer.  And I am always scolded for being such an obstinate New York asshole.

And again, I think to myself, that that’s not an answer.

I will try, I tell myself, to like LA.  Just to like it. To acknowledge the good things, like the weather.

But the weather is all I can come up with.  Then, as predicted, I go negative. Oy, the intellectual desolation and traffic. That’s pretty much all there is. Isn’t it?

No. That can’t be it. I know there’s more to Los Angeles.  Hmmmm.  If only…

Wait. I know. Randy Newman. I knew there must be something more!

Yeah. I feel better now.

Let’s do lunch!

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You can take the man out of New York, but…

Old New York Deli

 

 

I know you can’t take New York out of the man and I’m very thankful for that. But would it be so bad to live in a city that takes the phrase “quality of life” seriously?

 

Just a thought…

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