The following thoughts came to me during a recent Wednesday walk, on a sparklingly beautiful morning in Santa Monica, California, 90405.
Two things just took place in significant contiguity. (I looked it up. It’s pretty close to what I actually had in mind.)
In reverse order:
Second, I am taking this magnificent walk on a morning that, if not incomparably perfect, rates a “Photo Finish” Second. The sun. The sky. The flowers. The birds. So much for description.
It’s a sensational day. Made even more sensational – and Canadians, I beg your forgiveness here – not in its rarity, but because we are blessed with them virtually every day of the year. I told you, I’m sorry.
The contiguizing first thing that happened – only minutes before – is that, my breakfast was seriously unsettled when, reading the paper at breakfast as is my morning habit, I was physically unable to pick up the “Sports Section.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in last place in their division, seemingly losing every game they play. The Los Angeles Angels are one game from the bottom in their division, losing, if it were possible and it apparently is, even more games than the Dodgers, and spared the bottomest ranking only because of the minisculey-payrolled Houston Astros (league lowest $24,328, 538 paid for players’ salaries, as compared to the Angels’ fifth highest team payroll, $142,180,333. By the way, the Dodgers have the second highest payroll in baseball, $216,302,909. And they’re still last.)
Los Angeles has yet to recover from the recent four-games-to-nothing drubbing of the once high-flying Lakers, blown away in the first round of the National Basketball League playoffs. Sports columnists continue to chronicle their ignominious demise. (That’s why I can’t read the “Sports Section.” It’s just too painful.)
All teams lose sometimes. Except the Chicago Cubs, who have not won in a hundred and four years. (The World Series, that is.) There will always be seasonal ups and downs in a team’s performance. Some cities can handle it. Other cities cannot.
Los Angeles cannot.
(I was watching the game last night – the Dodgers lost 3-2 – and staggeringly inflated attendance figures notwithstanding – they count Season’s Tickets holders who don’t show up – there were expansive swaths of “nobody” in the stands.
Why is Los Angeles so incapable of handling failure?
Contiguous Element Number Two: The sparkling weather, virtually every day of the year.
(Conversely, Cubs fans are the most passionate – See: One hundred and four years of losing and they continue to sell out – and their weather’s the worst!)
Los Angelinos cannot deal with adversity, because we don’t get much practice at it. When it rains here, people write the governor and complain. Not really. That was a mild joke. But you look in their faces, and they invariably say, “We didn’t come here for this.”
Trouble with the “lows” is hardly an admirable characteristic. But we can’t help ourselves. Everything else is perfect here. Continual losing doesn’t fit. (File this under “mitigating circumstances.” “Fair weather” fans? – Guilty as charged. But with an explanation. Which, ironically, happens to be the weather. It just worked out that way.)
But it isn’t only the weather.
Augmenting L.A.’s near meteorological idyllicness in our inability to confront the up’s and down’s of everyday reality is the fact that L.A. are also the locale of the “Hollywood Dream Factory”, whose repeated recipe for cinematic success, as I have (arguably too) often observed is, “Somebody wants something, and they get it.”
L. A. is the Home of the “Hollywood Ending.” Which is definitely not “Somebody wants something, and they lose 3-2 in the ninth.”
Two games out of three.
Magnificent weather. Wish-fulfilling Fantasy Machine – that’s “Unreality Squared.” Our teams have to win. Or it disrupts the illusion.
These ones keep losing.
And it played havoc with my breakfast.