My new hometown in the middle of Los Angeles looks like a scene from the apocalypse today. We’ve had our troubles with grocery store strikes; we’ve had the buses come to a halt for a mechanic’s strike.
It is extremely hot, unseasonably hot-reaching the 100s. And the Santa Ana winds, the ones Raymond Chandler blames for murders have begun to wake up.
The heat, the wind and I believe the discontent have resulted in many fires in our surprisingly brambly metropolis. One in particular is out of control.
45 miles away, where I work and breathe, white ash flecks were raining down. I walked through the grand opening of disney hall, with red carpet and velvet ropes mutely broadcasting BY INVITATION ONLY. And just in case you didn’t get it, there were cadres of police security to remind you that YOU were NOT invited.
The cloned waitstaff lined the street in a military at-ease position, their red-vested backs to us, the unininvited. The huge metallic hall, more modern than the day after tomorrow is blurred by the thick air.
The commuters walk in lines to their cars, and the cars file in lines to the freeways, which are far from free at this time of day.
Some self-employed commuters in unwashed clothing hold cardboard signs for the cars driving by: “Hungry. Homeless. Need Help. Need Food. God Bless.”
At my space in the wavy asphalt, my sedan gathered small drifts of white ash.