LA – Too Much Sunshine

Los Angeles — There is an enchantment that exists in this sun drenched land just as surely as the marine layer rolls in from the Pacific each evening. Like a mist the enchantment seeps into your heart and binds you to Los Angeles. I believe the magic ingredient is the sun. Mankind has an internal need to bask in sunlight and when we are deprived of it many suffer from depression, but has anyone ever studied what happens when we are exposed too much sunshine.

They should begin such a study and they should begin in Los Angeles. In America’s southern states, the sun and rain mate to dance like lovers creating an abundance of trees and rivers. This is not the case in Los Angeles. Here sunshine is as constant and steady as a clock’s second hand. The sun pours into the soul like an overflowing cup and speeds up the body’s energy.

After two winters in Los Angeles and it is, to say the least, a hypnotic place.  Until this recent monsoon, dawn means another day of sun shine in Los Angeles.

I contend that this constant exposure to sun over-charges energy cells creating a rare condition I call Too Much Sun (TMS). Due to the lack of abundant shade trees they receive massive amounts of sunshine. You just don’t find a lot of trees growing in deserts and LA is no exception. Palm trees that grow to heights of 150 – 300 ft. do not create shade nor do most cactuses.

TMS stokes Los Angelinos with too much energy causing a belief in immortality, ambition, dreamscapes and the sport of chasing youth. TMS causes a disconnect with reality. How else would you explain millions of people disregarding fault lines and earthquakes? Each day on their interstates Californians deny the law of physics by proving that two cars can occupy the same space. They paper clip their houses to the side of cliffs and are totally shocked when the homes roll downhill. Southern Californians believe that either a lawsuit or a plastic surgeon can cure all ills. Los Angeles is a parallel universe.

Southern California encourages eccentrics and individuality as surely as the South once did. Stir in Too Much Sunshine and you have a mix of people that can delight and stun the average person.

Los Angelinos like animals. Their legislature has stated that anyone who has a pet is not an owner but a guardian of the chosen pet. With the exception of restaurants and many shopping malls well-mannered pets are welcome in retail shops. Recently, Lee and I were visiting a boutique with my two small Pomeranians, Jipper and Sassy. While I was trying on a belt, the saleslady petted my dogs.

Jipper and Sassy are beggars. They roll over, perform tricks, and beg for attention. It is a sport with them. They were standing on tip toes begging for more pats and a scratch behind their ears. As I purchased the belt, Lee told the saleslady that they were rescued dogs. Her response was, “My goodness, what do they rescue, cats?” Certainly, this was an LA Moment and a good example of TMS.

Later, we were carrying the dogs while descending to the parking lot on an escalator. One lady leaned over the top of the escalator as we descended and said, “Your dogs are Pomeranians. I know because I have a German shepherd.”

I was still pondering that comment when the lady in front of us turned and said, “Well, I was just thrown out of Nordstrom’s because of my dog. Were you?” She was dressed in leather, wore an abundance of jewelry and carried many packages. I kept looking for her dog, but none of the packages were moving and I could not see a dog anywhere. As we were waiting for the valet to bring our cars to the front, she turned to talk to us. When she did, there was a very small dog snuggled in her cleavage. My first instinct was to point at it.

She pulled her out and introduced us to Bijou, a fawn colored Applehead Chihuahua. Bijou could not have weighed much more than a pound, but she was dressed in a pink tutu and a jeweled collar. Before I could ask if the dog could dance, the valet drove up in a large white Hummer and held the door for her to get into the car. In a flash, Bijou was tucked back into her spot close to her owner’s heart and they drove off to another adventure. Wouldn’t you consider that this was a case of TMS? I think so.

Not long ago, we went to movie theatre near the campus of UCLA. It was a wonderful old art deco theatre. The theatre reminded me of the Carolina Theatre in downtown Charlotte when I was young. The ticket taker was old enough to have been working at the theatre since the 1940s. I just hope they keep an oxygen tank nearby for him.

People were filing into the theatre, locating their seats and talking softly as we waited for the movie to begin. We had seated ourselves at the end of a row. A couple came to the row and we stood to let them enter. The man was very nice looking with a shock of gray hair. He looked very familiar and I assumed he was a television commentator. His wife moved to slide past us, but he said, “Before we sit down, may I ask something. Are you a Democrat?”

Well, he had asked me not Lee, so I responded, “Why yes, I am. I am a raging Democrat.”

He smiled, congratulated me and sat down by me. I kept trying to figure out who he was. He had a deep voice and I figured I knew him from television. Just as the curtain parted and the previews began, I knew who he was. This amiable man was former presidential candidate, Michael S. Dukakis who obviously suffers from TMS.

I leaned over and said, “I voted for you for President.”

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