Today, we experienced Los Angeles at its best. Since October 10, 2010, the City has been closing down some of its streets for a day a couple of times a year and allowing cyclists, skateboarders, roller bladers and pedestrians to take over these thoroughfares in an event called CicLAvia. Originally started in Bogota, this event has had a profound effect on a city dominated by cars and car culture, and it can clearly be seen on the faces of the thousands of people who take to the streets on their non-motorized vehicles of choice and heard in the music many of them blast from speakers built into their vehicles. Today as my husband David, my son Theo and some of our good friends joined the thousands of people traversing some of LA’s widest boulevards erased of cars, we passed jazz musicians, hip hop DJs and church volunteers giving out bottled water. We rode alongside people riding penny farthings, unicycles, bikes transporting entire families and skateboarders punting themselves along the road using long poles. Children and adults alike wore costumes, face paint and carried pets. The mood was of a carnival, a festival, a joyful revolution against the car that dominates so many of our lives here.
The joyful feeling of CiCLAvia stayed with me for the rest of the day and made me want to live more of my life in Los Angeles feeling upbeat. I went through my drawers and found 6 gray t-shirts and tank tops. I decided to give them to Out of the Closet and get myself something colorful instead. I dropped them there and bought myself a wine-colored tank top. Out with the gray and in with the warm, happy, life color. When I looked more closely at the tank top I realized it had some black lettering on it: Live to Inspire Everyone, Love, Life is Full of Surprises, Always be Ready, Just Embrace Them. OK – those sound like good words to live by, especially after a liberating, love-filled day like today.