It’s a miracle to walk through the magic of a city that’s endlessly going, but it can also fill me with a cold feeling. The lights go on with or without us, honoring a destiny that always appears to be out of our hands. I think of all the buildings standing in The City tonight, which for so long have played the role of a home or a workplace for so many people coming and going.
One cycle after the other, the buildings favor no person or people in particular, but serve each of them the same; that is, until enough time passes and the occupants of the day fade from the picture.
Then the night consumes the buildings, shrouding them into an immovable emptiness. The next day the same.
Every other little piece of human life functions this way too. Every car, every bus-line, and every freeway that we come to take for granted as well. At nearly any given moment, there are people just like us who take our place on the road just an instant after we leave it.
And so I can’t help but wonder if sometimes we’re not the ones being used by the materials we’ve made, or by the materials which others have made and left behind. This is particularly challenging for me when I think about the way I get home after a long day, when I so quickly scurry to my computer screen in desperate search of some –or any– source of life other than my own.
Sometimes I resent relying on so many lights so constantly, as if I’m enslaved to the immediate distractions they provide, or even envious of their ability to generate a kind of road map for my thoughts to follow that’s somehow more concrete than what I can come up with on my own. Why do I need such a road map, anyway, when I came and grew into the world just fine without one? And was it not at some point that I was just living, rather than planning to live, as I do nowadays?
At some point before I could recognize what was going on, simply living for the sake of it came to an end, and a search to live for meaning began. Not long afterward, the search became a desperate need for people, and a constant longing to be a part of their mass and their noise and their chaos at the same time that I wanted so hurriedly to get away from them.
Yet when I think about how fortunate I am to reflect on any light in the first place, and how light is there to be extended in any form that I choose, I realize that I’m actually in an endless backdrop of light to live through; the same one that extends through The City so boundlessly, uncontrollably, and miraculously.
At the end of the day, The City I describe to so many readers lives more than anywhere in imagination, or in a sequence of illusions based on a certain geography; as much as I might want to be a part of The City’s picture all at once, I can only be a part of it to a limited extent, and for a limited time.
This spawns a Los Angeles that isn’t completely real all the time, but which is filled everywhere with some kind of reality that is in fact, concrete and to be appreciated by someone.
JIMBO TIMES is that appreciation, boundlessly, uncontrollably, and miraculously, except that I forget it sometimes when I walk through the coldness.
But when I remember how the lights live through me as much as I live through them, and how the lights have guided me for so long –and still do– I am at home again, and every building is mine. All of the road is there for the taking.
More importantly, Los Angeles as I see it is there to be shared with the others out there, who like yours truly are also just trying to get through it as best as they can. And so we do.
This great and wondrous city, we continue to share it.