Sunday, July 27, 2008

Small City

I continue to be surprised at how often we unexpectedly run into people we know at various places around the city. Los Angeles is a city of some 4 million people (and 10 million in the county), and our "domain of presence" within it, while nowhere near the entirety, seems reasonably large. We enjoy a broad and varied set of venues for dining, shopping, entertainment, and socializing. And yet we bump into people, at venues, or even on the street. (How "un-LA" is that?) This morning, on two different occasions, I bumped into friends during a half-hour visit to the Hollywood farmer's market. And last night at the Hollywood Bowl (a venue that seats upwards of 17,000), a friend of ours had a seat directly behind us. What are the odds?

I know that the odds of things are often different than the unschooled intuition would expect (for example, the likelihood of finding a common birthday among a group of ten surprises most people), but I wonder how our experience of "connectedness" compares with the average. Is it like this for most people and in most big cities? Or is there something about Los Angeles (or about George and me) that is distinctive? I know that with cars, the perception of size on the inside doesn't always correspond with actual size on the outside, and you can find cars that feel large inside while being actually small. I wonder if there is an analog for cities, if Los Angeles somehow feels smaller on the "inside" than it actually is on the outside? In any case, I love living here.

No comments: