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arlt ass 1 - Mark Zeitouni Assignment 1 ARLT 101 L.A...

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Mark Zeitouni Assignment 1 ARLT 101 L.A. Fiction Growing up in Lebanon, I had always envisioned Los Angeles as a paradise where the thrill of the beach trumped any worries of the day, where a chill and mellow way of life dominated. Furthermore, the media promoted that image even more, with shows like Baywatch, the OC, and beverly hills 90210 which illustrated Los Angeles as a place where rich hard bodied men and skinny models were the majority of the population. However, as I was on my way to USC on the 110 freeway after having just landed from Lebanon, the shock on my face was more than visible because dirty street after dirty street of worn down houses spotted with an occasional palm tree was not the Los Angeles I had expected. Soon, I would learn that that area, called South Central, is only one among many of these massive low- income Latino and Black communities. What I found out during my four years in Los Angeles, is that it is a megacity torn apart by racial conflicts and social class, with the media promoting the rare rich beach life while trying to dust all the city problems under the rug, hoping no one would notice. Four years after landing in LAX for the first time, I could now say that I am an explorer of Los Angeles, constantly searching for that small speck that would give me hope that this great city is for me. Alas, even though some small glimmers of hope have appeared now and then, I have yet to find a valid reason to like LA. I have always considered myself a person who lives life by 'going with the flow,' who enjoys stepping out of his apartment and just wandering around aimlessly on foot until I see a cute hole in the wall cafe or a friendly family owned bakery, then grabbing a quick bite or a coffee while conversing with various like-minded people I meet. However, if I were to step out of my apartment next to USC and just wander around aimlessly, I would find an array of cheap fast food joints set on littered streets, while
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being bombarded by drunk homeless men asking me to spare a dollar so that they can go buy some crack for dinner. Additionally, if I were to wander that exact same path after 11pm, there is a very good chance that I might not make it back to my apartment that night. Therefore, I have concluded that Los Angeles is a city of cars, the birthplace of freeways as some people put it, that is not a pedestrian friendly place at all, with a few minor exceptions. It is a giant hassle to leave one's apartment in this city, therefore a person has to have a specific time and place before going out then quickly rushing back to his safe place or his home. Los Angeles, in my opinion, discourages aimless wandering because it is merely a giant suburb. Cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, or Washington DC for example encourage this type of 'go with the flow' aimless wandering around because of their big city atmosphere.
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