Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Land

Arriving in Los Angeles, it feels like I’ve stepped into another era. The architecture, the boulevards, the landscaping and form—low-slung walls expanding away from you toward the horizon. It’s an age of trains and motorcars, but with an overlay of modern convenience, as if we brought digital technologies back into the 1950s.

Outside Union Station, a golden boy in tank top, shorts, and sunglasses leans back against the handrail. Classic SoCal. A girl waits for the stoplight in an open-backed blue dress. It's cut like a bathing suit and covered in white polka dots. Everyone looks sun-kissed. She smiles easily, her wavy, brown hair playing in the breeze. 

I drift down the street in the afternoon heat. The air is filled with Hollywood, as if we were standing on a constructed set. The building facades simultaneously cry artifice and craftsmanship.

I reach the cafe where cool respite awaits. Standing ahead of me in line: an Asian male mixing earrings and dyed hair with a v-neck sweater and boat shoes. What planet is this?! 

Urth Caffe: brick and tile, the room daylit up to the rafters, bordered by a turquoise and ruby art deco fireplace. No one here is on their laptop. Siri, I don't think we're in NorCal anymore! 

Though I’m wearing a respectable shirt with a collar above skinny jeans and canvas shoes—a veritable half-step up in Silicon Valley, the land of the hoodie—I feel positively frumpy amid the smooth lines, fitted curves, and flowing fashion.

The cafe pipes in operatic music, interspersed with an occasional salsa groove. It is unabashedly dramatic!

When I inquire about wi-fi, the server says they have it but it might broken. He seems unconcerned.

The smiles are sunlight: radiant and bold.

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