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December 20, 1999 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

Breakup Girl presents:

Volume III

Again: unlike last-minute bunker-builders, BG is devoting these few weeks to the opposite of hoarding -- that is, I'm eschewing my usual opening themes in this column so as to get right to as many of your stockpiled letters as possible, quick, before your relationships/the world end(s). You think all those computers have dating problems?! I've got to fix all of yours, pronto!

But first, brief tidings from Ye Herald Angeles, where I spent three days last week as part of the Oxygen National Tank Tour. Hey, always delighted to visit. But in my more ornery moments, I'd venture to say that the apocalypse has begun, and the four horsemen are valet parkers.

See, in my estimation, the whole point of a city is to not need a car. Proud to say that I've reached the age of 30 without ever owning one; flying notwithstanding, I've always lived in cities like Boston -- where we skated on canals -- that knew what they were doing. Cars are for trips to Ikea, drives cross-country, rides to hockey practice. They're like patent leather shoes: not for every day. Indeed, as I left New York last week amidst the threat of a city-wide transit strike, I thought to myself, "Well, I'm going from one city with no public transportation to another city with no public transportation."

And sure enough: my first night there, I walked out of my hotel to meet my friend Brian at a bar; when I paused to confirm with a [rare] passerby that I was headed the right way, he looked at me in horror. "Yeah, you are, but you can't walk there. It's, like... three miles." I thanked him, persevered, and arrived five minutes later. Later, when we left the bar, the valet brought over Brian's car... from twelve feet away. And Brian gave the man five dollars.

Also: at the massive cable convention we were attending, the two exhibition halls were separated by a large passageway that took maybe three minutes to traverse. Outside, there were shuttle buses.

This car culture also makes dating completely different. In a regular city, you get the option of date-extension (an important LIKElike Index). You get to say "How about dessert?" after a movie and a walk. You get to say "Call me nuts, but how about a midnight movie?" after a lingering dinner. But in LA, spontaneity will take you at least 20 minutes. It's just not the same.

But before I end this rant -- and because we're heading into a season of love and forgiveness -- I must unburden myself. First, props where props are due: in LA, the grapefruit is really, really good. Oh, and also -- quit stalling, BG! -- when I was in LA, I took a phone call while on the treadmill. I am so sorry. When that bell rang, this angel lost her wings.

Okay. Now it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Thanks for understanding. You all, along with my team, truly make me the richest superhero in town. Merry, merry, merry, and may this season find you all in a city of angels. Taking long, long walks.



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