When did Northern California turn into Beverly Hills?

My cousin Michael and I went to this new shopping/downtown type area last night, and I am unsure of even how to describe it. It is a planned downtown, perfectly executed. The entire area covers several city blocks, and while it was all built at the same time, the buidings all appear to be distict, unique, architectual masterpieces. The sidewalks are wide and artistically imprinted and stained, the planters and trees are mature and lush, and the stores are unbeleivable high-end. There are living lofts, condos and businesses. There are fancy restaurants, public chess boards and gardens, chic coffee-houses and thumping nightclubs – and more beautiful people than I have ever seen in real life. The cobblestone and brick streets are blocked off during the day to accomodate foot traffic, but at night they are open the parade of luxury cars that pour in for the night life. While I was walking down the street with Michael, no less than two Ferarri (plural?), a Lamborghini, a Bentley, and a custom motorcycle from a famous southern California designer rolled by. It would appear that Mercedes and BMW are the disposable, starter cars here.

So we walked around for a while, peeking into stores that I will never buy anything in, and marvelling at how beautiful everything was. The only store we went into was the token bookstore, yet even that was a large-chain model. For how glossy and slick and well-lit it was, the book selection was surprisingly lacking. One of the things I love about authentic, organic downtowns is the variety of tweaky little shops to find. Not so here. No dusty used books, vintage shops or anything that might mar the visual perfection. And that could very well be what the super-chic twenty and thirty-somethings that frequent this place are looking for. All of the people I saw last night were also visions of perfection. There was not a wayward hair, bumpy thigh, or unsculpted ab, (besides mine) to be seen.

The place was seductive. The beauty draws you in, and you want more and more. I found myself feeling very grateful that this type of place is something we live far from, mostly because of how seductive and enticing it was. I felt like I was skirting the edge of Babylon, and if I continued to look, I might loose my way.

Michael and I were hungry, and after looking in the windows of several ivy-covered cafe’s, we decided that Taco Bell is what we wanted. So, we left Sodom and Gomorrah, cruised the drive-thorugh, and went home. Taco Bell was never so wholesome and appreciated! And, I was never so pleased to kiss my sweet, innocent, sleeping children as I was last night.