Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Los Angeles is Not a Desert

There's been a shift in my plans.  I'm more dutiful daughter than flowing stream, but you get the benefit of more words as a result as I sip instant coffee with instant creamer and follow it with Ovaltine because I'm at Mom's house and that tastes like my childhood. Los Angeles is not a desert.  Seriously.  It goes against everything I've ever been told, but I'm reading and learning because there's a boy who looks like a man and he said it's not and I'm researching a bit because he sparked my curiosity and I need to know now. Yes, he shifted my perspective, but we won't go into that because I work with him, can't have him and will only be able to daydream and objectify him. Technically we aren't even in the same department and he's not my supervisor and maybe he's too close for awkward later. I don't want to risk it going south. And I don't know that he'd be interested. I don't write about the people I actually go out with for the most part because reality is rarely as amazing as my imagination. And some guys are just special with memories that are mine. As long as I don't see him as a possibility, I don't mind objectifying him. 

Yes, this would be the same man that was on my mind when I wrote Earthquake Country and part of a conversation with him happened before I hit Santa Monica and met two other Los Angeles transplants that prompted me to write Native Californian before that.  Talking to him makes me want to write and it's a good thing.  I may also look for him in common areas, and that's a problem.  But it's my problem and I'm enjoying it.

Yesterday at the company barbecue we were talking about the endorphins that hit him after running about a mile and I was in my slack jawed glory, just trying to focus on his face and not the way his faded red t-shirt was hanging off of his pectorals making my mind drift to naughty places.  The conversation shifted to the Los Angeles mild weather versus East Coast hell.  After painting the picture of shoveling snow and layers of clothes contrasting against oppressive humidity and a need to shower more often than the commercial breaks in an hour long episode (and yes, I pictured that), he brought up the fact that we are not in a desert.  He mentioned a documentary and his curiosity was infectious as he managed to say it all without making me feel objectified. He was adorably expressive and nearly bounced with childlike excitement.  Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I loved what I was seeing.

It was sometime after he wasn't in front of me and I wasn't looking at the chest hair peeking out of his shirt, or the bright excitement over his ideas and sharing them or the way I wanted to . . . There's a point, and I will get back to it because we work together and he's off limits and that is the story I keep telling myself.

The American Association of Geographers has a long case built on the fact that we have more rainfall than a true desert making us semi-arid and we have groundwater that keeps us looking like LA and not Barstow in natural areas that are not funded by water wasters. (We can ignore the fact that they misspelled Los Feliz.) The fact that our water resources cannot support our population does not make the land a desert in the classic sense. We also grow much of the food for our nation in California, and aside from pretty lawns and luxurious bathing, what we put toward agriculture on a national scale requires more water than is natural to the land, but our climate is arid and mild enough to nurture most plants and vegetation.  I often ignore planting schedules on the backs of seed packets, because plants will usually sprout as long as they have water because our sunshine is good for that.

This article says we have a Mediterranean climate based on the Köppen system.  We certainly have a love of mediterranean food and I have a thing for the men. Sometimes.  It just depends. The point is we have great plants that thrive here and if you are wise enough to support a xeriscaped garden somewhere, these plants are made for home and know how to come back after a drought or fire or flood because that and the earthquakes are what Los Angeles is used to. I remember a geology class where my professor talked about plants that will only release seeds once the plant has burned. We usually get heavy rains and mudslides after fire season.

I won't go into articles that whine about bad propaganda because that just blames long forgotten individuals for an evolving classification system, because science changes as we see things differently and add information.  But yes, Mr. Adorably Curious was right.  We are not in a desert. His large brain has my attention. He shifted my perspective. This is what it feels like and it feels good. Imagine that.


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