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Live Free or Die

Taking time out from the city that never sleeps

As I sat on the railing looking out toward the horizon, I couldn’t help but muse how disturbingly beautiful the lights were.At midnight, there’s nothing but empty blackness reaching from the shores of the ocean into the sky. If you’re in a densely populated area, you probably won’t even see the stars that shine above us. It’s a disarmingly serene feeling, looking out and seeing absolutely nothing except for little pricks of light 4 billion miles away.

Yet as I sat there, dwarfed by the presence of Catalina’s casino, 23 miles away from the mainland, I could see Los Angeles. I could see the brilliance of light that took the place of the quiet marriage of water and sky.

Los Angeles never sleeps. Unlike my hometown of San Jose, where activity dies off around one or two in the morning, you can do things in Los Angeles all night long. I’ve gone out to eat pizza at 4 a.m., and I’ve driven to Santa Monica and sat on the beach until 3 a.m. There simply isn’t an end to the things you can do in the city. You almost feel like you’re missing out by going to sleep. The perpetual movement that shapes Los Angeles is visible in the night sky.

From Catalina, the mainland is obscured in the daytime. At night, the mainland looks like the sun is about to rise on the horizon. The pace of life never seems to slow down.

I’m not a fast-paced individual. I like sitting and passing time with friends or a good book, even the idiot box on occasion. I cannot figure out the fast pace of life Angelenos live with day to day. Five freeways all merging together in a quarter-mile. Millions of people taking the 405 freeway to wherever the hell they want to go. All this gets reinforced when you’re looking at it on an island where the look hasn’t changed since World War II.

Today’s lifestyle has gotten out of hand. Everything becomes obsolete in 18 months. People log on to the internet and get messages from people that would take weeks to be received by conventional means. Everyone has to get to where they’re going as fast as humanly possible or the universe will collapse.

Don’t think I’m a technophobe. I love a lot of the technical revolutions that science has developed in the past 20 years. I just think that too many people are absorbed in the technology to understand there is more to life than checking your e-mail every 15 seconds.

Spring break is approaching, a time when a lot of people speed up their lives to try and cram as much fun into five days as possible instead of slowing down, relaxing, enjoying some good experiences with friends. A vacation doesn’t mean you need an itinerary and tours. Take a break.

Where would you rather be? Gazing at the calm of the darkness as it caresses the waves, or staring into a light that never ends? Don’t get spots in your eyes.