Pensaba que era linda pero se ve muy fea.
It's that Narcissus finds ugly what isn't his reflection
(Caetano Veloso - Sampa)
On Friday evening there was a storm with lightening and heavy rain. I couldn't care less; it was similar to a Rio de Janeiro storm. For a native Los Angelino it's scary, especially after having spent the summer in dry southwestern France, in the countryside. When there is a storm everybody unplugs there. Lightening can get in and damage a TV set, for example; or the phone.
Los Angeles gathers 164 languages, zillions of cars, infinite solitude, many little communities, from the fancy-schmancy Bel-Air to the very poor ones in central Los Angeles. There, hot-pillows motels reign for a fast shot or smoke or whatever; little churchfronts promising salvation suck more suckers; pawn shops take goods no questions asked. Lots of basura on the sidewalks, human lives trashed or litter. Skid Row at night looks like a sea of cardboard papers sprawled on the sidewalks with toes pointing at rats while the cardboard heaves and inhales and exhales. This is my city, too.
To think white flight screwed the neighborhood where U.S.C. is located. White flight in the Bronx moved us to Rio de Janeiro.
Back here at USC, in the Oingo Boingo, Tom Petty, Depeche Mode era, I find out I am not white enough or have the education to teach. After my master's in linguistics at 'SC, listening to the darn marching band my son loves so much, there I go for a graduate course in education, plus emphasis on bilingual Spanish credential.
In Brazil we say Argentinians smile when there is lightening. They are "known" as being conceited, what do I know? Brazilians feel funny being the only Portuguese speakers in South America. Argentinians smile because they think God is taking their photos when there is lightning. They ask for the mapa mundi of Buenos Aires in a bookstore. Maradona scored a goal with the hand (of God.)
In Los Angeles we can't afford to despise the Argentinos. Or Spanish, a reality prevalent in our county. Or Jewish holidays, or Lotus Day, bla-bla-bla-bla.
While cruising my former 'hood, near 'SC, the thoughts of Rodney King came haunt me. The discomfort of street vendors and poverty, the buzz on Jena 6, was our city at risk of a riot again?
Yom Kippur dinner at a nice restaurant. The bourgeois dad saying he expects people he invites to be there. He nearly drools arrogance onto his beard. I am in bermudas, as usual, in my Adidas; we got cash for a bite. The waiter is from Sandinista country, a mestizo. He can converse small talk in twenty languages, maybe. We sit in the back facing ANA-MIA Asian chicks. If they are sideways they fit in a vynil LP jacket.
Little by little we loosen up. We down the excellent Los Angeles tap water. Gabriel is with the marching band, back in Santiemonica.
Los Angeles is tough ugly shine-you-crazy-diamond land, somewhat like São Paulo city, the Paulicéia Desvairada, recklessly hallucinated São Paulo immortalized in the collection of Mário de Andrade's 1922 modern poems. São Paulo is the first or second urban sprawl in the Americas, depending on the source. How about our Nuestra Señora Reina de Los Angeles de Porciúncula, the capital of "Blade Runner's" dystopia? Some left it, I love it. Enjoy yet another new très kewl opening sequence to the film, based on a Phillip K. Dick paranoid fantasy. Another.