Remember the Momas and the Papas? California Dreamin’ was one of their best efforts.
I”ve been here for the week, in Beverly Hills, probably in one of the best suites in one of the best hotels—The Peninsula. We’ve wined and dined lavishly, and here are my current reflections on the California Dream:
• The place is so over-regulated it makes Obama look like a hands-off guy. There are warnings and rules and laws about everything. This morning, a formal wall plaque warned of lead paint that may have been used in the painting of certain china in the restaurant.
• The freeways can clog at any time of the day without warning. There are a thousand merges called for in these spiderwebs of roads, and drivers here seem to have a personal pride on not allowing anyone to ever change lanes in front of them and to forsake any form of directional signal.
• There are more Teslas here than I’ve ever seen in all my other travels. They’re okay, a status symbol of sorts (I saw quite a few Friskers here two years ago, but that company went bankrupt), but you can’t convince me they’ll become anything more than a third car for people with that kind of play money.
• No matter what exotic car you talk about, you will see not one, but several, driving by you later that day.
• In the top restaurants, there is an affectation that makes me giddy. Three guys last night in a top steakhouse, slouched over their seats, looking for all the world like stereotypes of sunglasses-on-your-head, pseudo-swingers who keep demanding favors. In another top place, we identified what must be the blowhard table, because every time we’re there that table contains the guys with open neckties, cell phones constantly in use, too-loud conversations about contracts, and frequent trips outside the restaurant.
• When women tell me they have to wash their hair more frequently here because of the dirt in the air, I’m moved to try to breathe more shallowly.
• Billboards or immense proportion seeking votes for televisions shows and actors prior to the upcoming Emmy awards seem somehow ridiculous. The public isn’t voting, and it looks like a “ransom” paid by the networks to appease the talent.
• There are so many good looking people here everywhere you look that it’s intimidating. That extends to the limo drivers, beauticians, restaurant servers, and guy who cleans our garden outside the suite.
Of course, the song’s lyric was “California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day….” And Huey Lewis and the News had a great number in, “It’s Hop to Be Square.”
© Alan Weiss 2014