Reporter Laura J. Nelson covers transportation for the Los Angeles Times. Before moderating a panel on the future of bicycles and transportation in Southern California, she talked about the comforts of hummus, drinking wine with Joan Didion, and the benefits of being a cheetah in the Zócalo green room.
Where would we find you at 10 a.m. on a typical Saturday?
Handsome Coffee Roasters. It’s a coffee shop in the arts district on Mateo Street. I love it because it doesn’t have Wi-Fi. People are reading or talking to each other. They have these amazing lattes they make with Clover milk, and they aren’t sweetened at all.
What do you consider beautiful?
Personality. And enthusiasm. And sense of humor.
Who’s the one person, living or dead, you’d most like to have a beer with?
Probably Joan Didion. Even though I sense she’s more of a wine person than a beer person
How do you get to work?
I drive. A transportation reporter who drives.
How did you get into trouble as a kid?
I would read when my parents were talking to me. I also had a thick skin. I had trouble taking criticism from people. My mom told me I needed to toughen up.
What’s your comfort food?
Hummus and pita chips.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Probably traveling. I’m more willing to save up my money to travel than to buy day-to-day expensive things. I’ve been to almost all the states in the United States.
What do you wake up to?
I live in Silver Lake, and my room has a patio attached to it. I sleep with the curtains open, so the sun … morning air … and my alarm clock.
If you could be any animal, which would you want to be?
Maybe a cheetah. Then I could run really quickly, and I would be at the top of the food chain.
If you didn’t live in Los Angeles, where would you be?
Boston or Paris.