I’m trying to find something nice to say about LA.
But our visit was untimely ripp’d, along with the General’s front bumper, and so most of my visit was spent sweating in Kim’s grandma’s house in Monterey Park, working in order not to worry.
Unfortunately, therefore, I really only got to experience the cliche LA–endless days, sleepless nights, feeling trapped, waiting for a break.
And all without leaving the house.
It’s looking like the fixes won’t be done until Monday, and so Kim kindly dropped me off in Pasadena, at the home of Kelsey and Kristi, who had kindly offered to let me crash with them. They live on the top floor of a house full of skylights.
Their friend Lea, an astronomer in town for the GalexFest, explains to me how stars are born and why galaxies collide.
Kelsey gets home and, as the three of us share three pints of Ben & Jerry’s, tells me about her former roommate Sheila, whom I earnestly hope that I (and you, by extension) will meet one day soon.
After all the shit of the last few days, I feel suddenly blithe inside this pale blue gingerbread house. Its slanting rafters with curious angles feel sheltering, like a treehouse. The quilt and bedsheets are covered with pink roses.
As soon as you cross Huntington, where Atlantic turns into Los Robles, you can feel the difference between Pasadena and LA. The streets begin to wind with grace, the houses modestly shield their faces with live oaks and date palms. The architecture, rather than the people, features amazing bone structure; the people, rather than the architecture, are of nonhomogeneous extraction, all jumbled together on the same block.
They smile when I run past them, as if I might be their neighbor.
A middle-aged lady in a nightie waters the plants on her porch from a clear glass coffee cup.
The owner of a body shop sees me taking photos of the Bel Air in his lot, and offers to open an adjacent garage so I can see a really good one.
From here, the San Gabriel mountains look so much friendlier. And yet, you know what they could be, with the right motive. That makes me like them, and value their friendliness, even more.
I remember hiking up them once, during my freshman and only year at APU, to look at the twinkling city grid with all my senior friends. I didn’t know what I was looking at.
I’d like to see it again. But I’ll be two days behind.