Santa Monica’s No-Exercise Zone: Get Off My Traffic Island!
OK, folks, it’s high time for what we call a “brite” in the news business: That’s the fluffy, light-hearted story that either makes you chuckle, smile or shed a little, sentimental tear. It’s the perky counterweight to the typical murder-and-mayem and doom-and-gloom stories that dominate our news.
So to brighten our dreary days, here comes a New York Times story (“Santa Monica Journal: Where the Traffic Median is a No-Pilates Zone“) straight from the People’s Republic of Santa Monica, California. It’s just the kind of entertaining story that puts everything in perspective: On the East Coast, we’re wringing our hands over the gloomy economic news (and the years of deregulation that have helped get us into this mess). And, meanwhile, some of our sun-drenched sisters and brothers on the West Coast are actually getting all worked up over working out. Now that’s something I can get behind!
So what’s the fuss all about?
It seems Santa Monica is now strictly enforcing a regulation against exercising in traffic medians. Yes, traffic medians. Reportedly, hordes of littering, loud and sweaty boot camps of exercisers are intent on building up their already buff bodies in the grassy traffic medians of this coastal community. And this does not sit well at all with the slumbering neighbors who have to look out their windows and hear all these toned bodies tromping past their multimillion-dollar homes at all hours of the day and night.
Arrested for doing sit-ups? Only in California…
So the police have cracked down on these obsessively fit lawbreakers by slapping them with a $158 fine. One man was even “arrested” after he refused to cease-and-desist doing his sit-ups in the grassy traffic median. It just goes to show you the lengths that Santa Monicans will go to keep fit, stand up to City Hall — and make a name for themselves on TV and YouTube.
Years ago when I was living in Southern California, I heard someone call this costal paradise the People’s Republic of Santa Monica. My first reaction: This slam came from a right-wing inlander who just didn’t appreciate the charm of this left-of-center, bohemian beach community. But now I see that Santa Monica came by its nickname honestly. Anyhow, this story sure gave me a good laugh at a time when there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to laugh about. Thank you, New York Times (and thank you, Santa Monica for being your goofy self)!