I left behind Seattle for good. I just watched the sunset 30,000 feet in the air- pale yellow fading into orange, fading into a thin gray cloud, and finally pink as bright as lava descending into a flat plane of white, puffy clouds. Once we dip below the clouds, nighttime falls. The airplane then begins its descent along the coastline. A grid of orange lights and lines dots every speck of land to the east; the wide Pacific Ocean ebbs and flows on the west. As we descend further, I can make out the 405 by its signature unmoving lines of red lights on the right and white lights on the left.
I love it.
I love the 405. I love the (over)population. I love the shitty suburban cities that sprawled away from Los Angeles. I love the lack of trees and abundance of electricity- palm trees are good enough for me. I love the dirt, the grit.
I love the streets in Long Beach that are “nuts and fruits” (the ones to avoid, according to some guy). I love when the storefronts aren’t in English. I love being surrounded by people who come from all over the world and/or whose families might look and act quite different from mine- yet in Long Beach we find commonality. It is a city in which cultures mishmash.
I don’t love poverty, but I love having grown up somewhere unsheltered.
I love tacos.
I don’t care that Seattle tops lists of best places to live, or that it’s so clean or environmental or whatever. Lists and methodical studies don’t capture a city’s heart, or my own, and Southern Californians are environmental in our own way.
The plane lands smoothly into the Long Beach airport- my favorite airport, well, ever. I’m home.
(Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach)