Monday, December 15, 2014

Nothing very bad ever happens here

A Pineapple Express came in last week and dumped some rain on drought-shrivelled LA. Being, as it is, a desert city, LA doesn't do too well under heavy rain.  Also the people here don't cope well with bad weather of any sort. Los Angelenos drive, in the rain, as if either a) they're in the middle of a blizzard or b) they're oblivious, and it's the perfect day for taking corners really fast. There is no middle ground. So there were the usual reports of landslides in Malibu, power cables down over Pacific Coast Highway, flooded basements, and some nasty and probably idiot-induced accidents on the freeways.

Again, I had the feeling that although technically we do live in LA, we are in a little bubble far away from all that. Yes, we had rain. But people don't drive like idiots here. And although we are a town built on sand, nothing seemed to collapse. A few tree branches came down, and there was some sand run-off on the road, but nothing parks & rec won't have cleared up in a few days.
After the storm
Ugly stories of police brutality are everywhere in the news right now, and over the past couple of years violent and property-related crime have increased in California's cities. Here in Hermosa, the police are dressing their police dogs up in Christmas costumes, putting festive wreaths on their cars and bikes and pulling Santa around the neighbourhoods to give out candy canes to local kids.
Santa visits our street under police escort

Intimidating police presence
But despite all indicators to the contrary, there are some people in Hermosa who think something bad might, just might happen.

The police station open day this weekend included lots of stands providing information to keep us safe. My favourite thing was the Hermosa Beach Disaster Service Workers' kiosk, which struck me as an elaborate cover for a lot of thumb-twiddling.
I also liked the Hermosa Beach SWAT vehicle, which I suppose would be useful in the event of a riot, or zombie attack (which seem equally likely to me).
Eager worryworts pressed dozens of leaflets on us, and a child ID kit (so we can keep Lady P's fingerprints on file at home), and some high-vis bike stickers.
 It was very sweet. And it did prompt a conversation about where we turn the gas and water off, in an emergency. It's good to be prepared.

And yet, nothing has yet shaken my notion that nothing very bad ever happens here.

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