Forgive me for indulging in a few well-worn cliches about Los Angeles; the planet's mood is certainly apocalyptic enough this week as it is. A meltdown is in progress in Japan. So driving around this city again didn't help ease the sensation that the world is snapping and crumbling around us.
Los Angeles is unsettling by its nature.
I used to laugh at the over-use of this cliche because true L.A. sophisticates know that L.A. is "more complex" or "more normal" than outsiders insist on imagining. But then I remembered, in fact, I always felt a little like this when I lived in L.A., unsettled, scrambled. The amount of time spent alone in a vehicle is really remarkable and completely alters a person's relationship to the city, its landscape, its other citizens. You're driving a deadly weapon. Depth perception becomes fuzzy.
I snapped this photo Sunday while swinging under the 110 to reach the 101, after an afternoon visiting a friend in Venice, for a quick beer at a metal fest at the Echo, before the reading in Lincoln Heights, before dinner back in Pasadena. Pasadena's chiseled streets got me lost for the first time in L.A. in years. It was frustrating.
Earlier, something about driving this freeway interchange seemed especially unfamiliar. Then I noticed. All the graffiti is gone.
"Oh yeah, they buffed that."