In what kind of place does a man wake to sirens and screams, gaze upon his neighbors’ house engulfed in flames, close the glass slider to cut the sound, and return to bed having done nothing? Within minutes of waking, I fell back to sleep in spite of the bright flicker on my wall and common urban murmur outside. A mere annoyance, nothing more.
The morning after, I reflected on my apathy. It made me sick to think of all the similar experiences I have had in Los Angeles. I realized how cold I had become.
I have resided here for five years and seen things I hope you never see. A car on fire riddled with bullet holes in South Central; a woman mugged across the street in Venice Beach; a bank evacuated on bomb threat by USC; a motorcyclist flipped and crushed at 65 mph on the 5 Interstate; the corpse of a homeless woman lifted from a gutter downtown; a tanker truck explosion on the 105-110 overpass; prostitutes fighting over a fare in Hollywood; a SWAT-grade drug bust in Koreatown; and far too much more. My heart froze over long ago to endure such things. I am not proud of the man this city numbed me to be.
It takes a thick skin to survive in Los Angeles.