Saturday, September 8, 2012

Love, Los Angeles: Walking the streets

My favourite palm lined streets in Los Angeles have dozens of dusty corner cafes, pupusa shops, thrift stores selling electric blue lamé leggings for $1, and mini malls blaring salsa and merengue tracks from speakers hidden behind mural slathered walls. There are very old men dressed in crisp white shirts hunched over ice cream carts, tailor shops with sewing machines whirring in bright slats of sun, tiny shops with cardboard signs announcing Tomales! in thin strokes of red paint.  

There's a thin, small woman waiting at the bus stop outside a grocery store and she looks stern--her hair is pulled back so tight, it could be scalp, and her vibrant blue eyeshadow strokes up against her thin, arched brows. And there's a man, very tall and robust, his arms full of odd shaped packages, his mouth puddling into a frown because he's irritated--the older woman he is with (his mother? his aunt?) wants to take one more look, in one more shop. There are two men carrying chairs--they have that energetic push in their step that tells you they are not from around here, because yes, they're white and yes, they're antiquing. If you're from around here, you are waiting for the bus, or you are walking with a steady gait to the food mart with a portable buggy, your kids have backpacks sweating up against their small necks, barrettes snapped tight over dollar store hair extensions--one pink, one blue--and you have the weight of life slowing you down.

But there's this energy beating up against the soles of your sandals, a syncopated beat flicking off the uneven pavement and you know that whatever it is that makes you love this city is right here, striding along with you, heating you up and making you go on, earnest and true.

"Los Angeles" by Shht! (m.caimary)