I remember the first time I heard the expression. The Southland.
I must have been in "my trailer" or visiting someone's house back in the 90s and the news was on, as it so often is everywhere you go these decades.
"Rain in the Southland and our accu weather team has it covered!!" like they were covering a natural disaster or "More Southland news than any other news channel!!" (love the repetition)....anyhow, Eastish coaster that I am, I thought, "but the Southland is ....the South, you know", like Lynyrd Skynyrd singing songs about it, below the Mason Dixon line (or in Pennsylvania anywhere within some strange invisible border where the Stars and Bars still fly) the land of Lee and Jackson, of peaches, and bad public schools and lots of college basketball, but surely NOT Southern California.
That was before I realized that California is a nation unto itself. And that everyone who's moved here has kind of turned it into a microcosm or a substitute world for ...everywhere else.
The most abstract and conceptual landscape Ive ever experienced is to most Californians the only reality they can work or live in. It's their safe space, where the oxygen has the right mix of fantasy and free will.
What Im getting at is I wouldnt think twice about riding in the rain in PA or NYC or RI or anywhere else Ive lived I actually kind of enjoy the feeling, the wheels spinning up the spray and your knees hitting the chill of the top tube miles and miles in.....fewer people, cars going slower, people staring at you like you're nuts, better be smart when you use the brakes.....but back in LA.....when it rains sometimes I fall prey to the general hysteria.
Funny, the thing this place needs the most, water, it reacts to as if a plague descended. The highways grind to a halt, the news channels embed correspondents at crucial intersections, people call off work.
And I go to the gym.
Or more sadly to someplace with 60 bikes crammed into an office space and the word "Soul" imprinted somewhere on the letterhead. The webberhead.
Jesus wept. At least he might have after getting his heart rate up to 170 beats a minute in the first 4 minutes of the session as a quad mighty instructor dressed like a super hero shouted at him to find his core, it's all about you, this is YOUR choice, your life, your health, now GOOOOOOOOO!!!!and 40 some millenials rabidly bounce their way into their minds eye of what they imagine the film of their life looks like.
But don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for it. It's a good workout. (If you dont get your heart rate that high that fast and if you stay for two sessions) and previous gyms have always had the most laughable indoor "bikes". The wide saddled torture instruments designed for Victorians.
Thank god indoor cycling ...took off...in its stationary way.
I used to go to one of the original joints in Venice run by a team of mean looking ladies who'd sweat their and my asses off and give me shit when I didn't do the yoga part after. Loved em and their tough lesbian love.
But the whole...concept.....striving alone together....sitting in rows like they would at a Starbucks feeding off the wi fi, to a soundtrack, how they must have sat in elementary school when teacher taught them they were all unique....it digs at me.
Exercise porn. The work out without the risk, the price, the personal journey.
Take out fitness.
The very definition of biking means getting out there, into the world, and thru it. Where someone might just flatten you or you might take your eye off the road and topple over a grate or come to a red light and ...have to wait your turn. That's kinda the deal. There are no conceptual pilgrimages.
But hey...when you've been livin in the Southland for too long and get a little spoiled and been under the weather for three days with some odd LA bug and something's happening on the tv in DC you just can't accept.....2 hours head down in a box as The Cult screams Dionysian dreams into your soul's core....gets the job done.
Mileage? Who the hell knows but Christ I need some water.
Try and hear this and not spin at 160 rpms!!!!!
especially the fake ending...gets me every time....
Guns and Roses? Eat shit and die. This is the great 80s glam band.