Next Stop: Los Angeles

I can see myself getting closer and closer to my love, but it is not quite all a road of roses. There are moments in each day that I find myself taking more distance from many of the people who I once thought could understand this love, but now I understand that we just see it on different terms. Such a difference is nevertheless a matter of arriving. I am nearing my destination, which naturally means the distance is closing from the object of my journey at the same time that it’s growing from where and with whom I began.

This is a tragic love affair; the affinity I feel for the movement of Los Angeles is endless; I can only try to explain.

I love the bus in Los Angeles, but it’s part of a triangle, because there are days when I love the rail lines even more. They are far from world class services, and they will probably always be doomed to mediocrity, but it doesn’t matter to me. They are the first buses and rail lines I ever rode and for that I am a lifetime subscriber.

On the bus when seating is available I dash at the opportunity to sit at the best seat; that is, the one where I can see the city from the most points of view. If such seating isn’t available, however, then I just don’t sit. And there are moments when even if I’ve got the best seat, if there’s a Señorita or their toddler who could use the seat better, I take pride in handing it off to them.

I couldn’t lose even if I wanted to; it happens that I also love standing on the bus as if it were a giant board surfing through L.A.’s crumbling concrete, which also makes for a great view.

Los Angeles; Metro 04 bus heading East to DTLA

On the rail lines the seats are more critical. To some degree it depends on which line I’m on and how far I’m going that determines whether or not the seat is especially important, but even then I love standing on the rail lines, too; my feet synchronize with the swaying of the car and the line altogether. We do not fear the trafficked roads of the city. We are the bullets daring enough to make our own riveting course through the city.

And we see more of the city than the other way around.

But then, the sidewalks are the best. I’m entranced with walking through L.A.’s neglected sidewalks. I bask in standing at their corners, where I can confront the city’s movement more blithely, and I take pride in being the first to set foot on the crosswalks when the lights finally permit.

And while I am not a religious Angeleno, when I walk towards or walk past the paletero man or the little ladies with the tamales on the sidewalks I privately worship them. We don’t have to say anything to each other, I just know immediately that they came from far away places to bless me with their food and their snacks and the sweetness with which they prepare and provide these things not just to myself but also the rest of the pueblo. I am selfish, however. I’ve got to let them know I appreciate them the most and that I won’t ever stop doing so and that if there was more I could do then of course, por supuesto.

I could never care for Jacob or Matthew or James, but I could care far too quickly for Don Jose and Doña Maria and their mija la Vanessa y el hermanito el Carlitos. They are the reasons Los Angeles is not a concrete jungle; in the jungle the birds have to hunt their prey and be hunted. In Los Angeles the pajaritos simply stand with dignity before their carts and practically give the food away.

What did I do to deserve this?

God bless America for Los Angeles, y que la Santa María bendiga a México y España anterior por El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula. And may every God worshiped by every indigenous people in Los Angeles before any state claimed it bless those people still.

In each period, those who came before me just kept Los Angeles warm for me. I know this in my heart. I do not always like knowing it, and there are days when I choose to reject it. But the truth is there is no magic nor reel nor any image like the one that floats through my eyes when I take my time through Los Angeles.

It reverberates in my veins, and in each new step I take through it there is somehow more life than in the last. I don’t know quite how this is supposed to work, or just where it ends. In any case it’s too late to look back now.

We are getting closer Los Angeles.


What a Time,

Most Angelenos today can see that we’re at an historic juncture with the city; housing is at the forefront of social issues facing not only Los Angeles, but all of the state of California. I can appreciate my personal position within the dynamic: I’m 27 years old and still living at home with my mom, where the two of us split rent in a rent-controlled unit amid an area that’s only recently been dubbed as “East Hollywood”.

The situation is precarious; like many Angelenos, my mother immigrated to the United States from Mexico in the 1980s with virtually no wealth in assets, and although in a few years she’ll be able to claim social security benefits and plans to apply for housing assistance based on her income, she also understands that there is virtually no guarantee she’ll be able to secure anything.

She is one of millions of recently migrated Angelenos whose future is not exactly accounted for, and I’m one of a generation of millennials whose opportunity to build a home as it’s traditionally thought of is at an historic low. The question is obvious, then: where are people like my mother and I going, exactly? And in the case of a disaster, how could people in such circumstances possibly survive?

At the same time, throughout the past year the impact of the state’s wildfires and subsequent mudslide tragedies showed any Californians reading their papers how the fiscal and logistical burdens placed on the state by more extreme weather patterns are only growing dramatically in cost, size, and frequency alike. The events also revealed how regardless of where people fall on the income ladder, the state is largely under-prepared to help.

So then, where are the people of California going? One way or another, we’ve got to find out. Then we’ve got to share that information, and move. The rest is Jimbo Times.


Home Again,

At last. And it’s another beautiful day Los Angeles.

Let’s make it count.